Lerman's third film centers on repression

CANNES — Campo Cine, the Buenos Aires production label of Argentine auteur Diego Lerman and producer partner Nicolas Avruj, is teaming with France’s Agat Films & Cie to produce Lerman’s third feature, “Moral Sciences.”

Rodofo Cova’s Factor RH in Venezuela will also produce.

Fast-tracked in financing by its inclusion at Cannes Cinefondation Atelier this week, pic looks well on its way to closing a French distribution and sales agent deal, Lerman said at Cannes.

Lerman won notice for Locarno Silver Leopard winner “Suddenly” and follow up “Meanwhile.”

“Sciences” is a step up in ambitious. A parable of repression and its consequences, the pic is set in 1982 at a Buenos Aires school on the cusp of the Falklands War, in what were to become the last days of Argentina’s military dictatorship.

It turns on a 20-year-old woman monitor who, under the spell of her boss, goes to perverse lengths to unmask infringements, however petty, of school discipline.

“A virgin in all the senses, politically and sexually,” in Lerman’s words, she’s attracted to the chief monitor, but also to one of the school’s students.

“The school’s a metaphor, a cell, for the rest of Argentina and how the monitor becomes a victim of the regime she imposes,” Lermer added.

Adapting a novel by Martin Kohan, the pic’s screenplay by Maria Meira and Lerman won a 2009 Sundance/NHK Intl. Filmmakers Award for best Latin American script. France’s CNC Fonds Sud Cinema has already committed financing.

“Sciences” is skedded to shoot from late 2009 during Argentina’s summer vacation.

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