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Palavecino Sets ‘Only Child’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Project follows buzzed-up ‘Some Girls’

MADRID — Santiago Palavecino, one of the leading young lights of Argentina’s building auteur genre scene, is prepping romantic psychological thriller “Hijo unico” (Only Child), his follow-up to “Some Girls,” which was well received last week at the Cannes festival’s first ever pix-in-post showcase, BAL Goes To Cannes.

Written by Palavecino and “Some Girls’” producer Fernando Manero, “Child” turns on a film director who suffers a writer’s block until he meets a foreign woman and, inspired, makes one of his best films ever.

They marry, have a child, who, years later, begins to behave strangely, or so his mother thinks, repeating events from the film or from the director’s hidden past.

Palavecino, Manero and Agustina Costa, both producers on “Girls,” will produce “Child.” It will be set on the Pampa, the vast plains outside Buenos Aires, where they meet the sea.

The writers will finish a treatment by late July.

Palavecino presented 15 minutes of excerpts from “Some Girls” at May 21’s BAL Goes to Cannes, an initiative of the Cannes Market and Argentina’s Bafici Buenos Aires Lab (BAL).

On track for delivery late June, and a contender for a major late-summer festival berth, the psychological thriller turns on a woman surgeon who tries to escape from a failed marriage by going to stay at an old college friend’s
country house.

But the dysfunctional group of troubled young women she finds there exacerbates her own mental instability. As the film builds ominously, the women’s neuroses surface and “Girls” threatens to tip over into a full-blown horror movie.

A buzz title at April’s BAL in Buenos Aires, “Girls” won its Arte and Nandu awards. It explores female depression, “one key to our strange world,” Palavecino said. “Child” again explores femininity, but from the angle of maternity, he added.

Both are auteur genre movies. But Argentina has a distinguished literary pedigree of fantasy works from great authors, Palavecino argued, citing Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortazar.

Selected for the Cannes festival’s Cinefondation Residence and Atelier, Palavecino contended that low-budget genre also gives him large creative liberty.

Costa added: “We don’t want to be condemned as Latin Americans to make just social-realist niche films. We want to make all kinds of film, which can work anywhere.”

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