‘Cage,’ ‘Holiday,’ and ‘Sciences’ Set Primer

Ventana Sur pix-in-post showcase underscores range of new talent Latin American film-making.

Three feature debuts – ‘Open Cage,’ ‘Natural Sciences’ and ‘Holiday’ – figure among Primer Corte’s six-pix-in-post line-up at this year’s Ventana Sur, Latin America’s biggest film market.

All are intimate tales charting characters’ seeking affective relationships and their place in the world, often against the background of social collapse. But how the directors approach these subjects says a lot for the ever-growing range of Latin American movie production.

“Every one of the directors has their own way of approaching their subjects. That’s one reason they were selected, ” said Cannes Cinefondation general manager Georges Goldenstern, who chose the final six-pic cut.

Many films talk about social reality, though it is sometimes a background that influences the characters, he added.
The best known, given its strong run at Mexican works in progress fest sections this year, Max Zunino’s Mexican feature “Open Cage” co-won Guadalajara Construye in March, then, screening slightly tightened, on Saturday received a jury special mention at the Los Cabos Baja Fest’s Works in Progress Mexico.

Written by Zunino and Sofia Espinosa, who also co-stars, “Open Cage” charts the troubled but growing relationship between a set-in-his-ways jobless 65-year-old (esteemed Mexico-based thesp Juan Carlos Colombo) and a young girl drifter (Espinosa) in a world of have-nots and indignados encamped outside their apartment block.

“Holiday,” from Ecuador’s Diego Araujo, a 1999-set coming of age tale, charts a 16-year-old boy’s confirmation of his sexual identity as Ecuador’s banking system and the boy’s family go to ruin. Backers include the Latin America Media Arts Fund of the Tribeca Film Institute.

Helmed by Argentine Matias Luchessi, whose 2009 short “Distancias” was admired at Bafici and Biarritz for its naturalistic observance of relationships, road movie “Sciences” charts a young girl’s odyssey to encounter her father.

The 5th Ventana Sur’s Primer Corte also features Uruguay’s “Portrait of an Animal Behavior,” “It’s No Vigil,” a Spain-Colombia co-production, and “Blue Lips,” produced out of Argentina and Spain.

Co-written and directed by Gonzalo Lugo and Florencia Colucci, the loopy road-trip romantic comedy “Portrait” co-stars Colucci, who put in a memorable lead turn in Gustavo Hernandez’s stylish slasher “La casa muda,” remade Stateside by “Open Waters’” Chris Kentis and Laura Lau.

Pic is interspersed by shots of animal behavior, to comic effect, Goldenstern said.

Hermes Paralluelo’s docu-feature “It’s No Vigil” won the Ibermedia DocsMex prize at DocsBarcelona 2013. It marks Paralluelo’s follow-up to “Yatasto,” the docu-chronicle of a dirt-poor family of garbage collectors that garnered glowing reviews in his native Argentina, “Vigil” chronicles the daily life, habits and fears of an elderly couple in a Colombia hospital and at home.

Also competing in Primer Corte, omnibus feature “Blue Lips” is a six-part, second-chance tale set against the background of the San Fermin bull runs in Pamplona Spain. Film’s six characters hail from around the world, as do its directors who each helm one character’s story. The helmers mostly met in Los Angeles while studying film in 2001: Argentina’s Daniela de Carlo and Julieta Lima, Brazil’s Gustavo Lipsztein, Italy’s Antonello Novelino, Spain’s Nacho Ruiperez and Peru’s Nobuo Shima. Many directors shot in the country they’re now based in, then, like their subjects, converged on Pamplona.

Ventana Sur runs Dec. 3-6.

PRIMER CORTE, VENTANA SUR 2013
“Blue Lips,” (Daniela de Carlo, Julieta Lima, Gustavo Lipsztein, Antonello Novellino, Nacho Ruiperez, Nobuo Shima, Argentina, Spain)
“Holiday,” (Diego Araujo, Ecuador-Argentina)
“Natural Sciences,” (Matias Luchessi, Argentina)
“It’s No Vigil,” (Hermes Paralluelo, Colombia)
“Open Cage,” (Max Zunino, Mexico)
“Portrait of an Animal Behavior,” (Gonzalo Lugo, Florencia Colucci, Uruguay)

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