'Deserted Cities' recruits 'Pan's Labyrinth' designer, will film in Winnipeg

Mexico City — Gael Garcia Bernal and Ashley Hinshaw starring “Deserted Cities” has kicked off shooting in Mexico City before moving on to shoot in Winnipeg.

The comic adaptation of Mexican author Jose Agustin’s novel co-stars Veronica Echegui (“My Name is Juani”), Hlyunr Harraldson and Barbara Garrick .

Roberto Sneider, the director of “Tear This Heart Out” Mexico’s pick for 2008 Oscar contention, is helming the project, his third feature.

“Pan’s Labyrinth” production designer Eugenio Caballero has signed on to provide the pic’s look.

The project is a $3 million co-production between Mexico’s Fidecine film fund and Roberto Sneider’s production companies — Cuevano Films in Mexico and La Banda Films, which is based in Beverly Hills. Arcadia Films is handling production services in Canada.

Agustin was a prominent figure in Mexico’s La Onda literary movement — a local response to the writing from the beatniks and hippies stateside that spoke to the increasingly liberal dwellers of Mexico’s sprawling capital, who called themselves chilangos.

Bernal said the author gave life “to a kind of chilango pulse, to the insanity, to the complete chaos” of the city.

“Ciudades” follows Eligio’s (Bernal) comic quest to regain the love of his wife Susana (Echegui), a self-styled feminist who flees Mexico to an international writer’s conference held mid-winter in the chilly, foreign U.S. heartland.

Originally set in the 80s, Sneider has given a contemporary update to the story.

“There are a number of political angles in play being discussed here, one is between the couple, the other is the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico and another is between the archetypical Mexican macho and the contemporary feminist woman,” said Bernal. “The relationships are very realistic, very relevant.”

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