MADRID – France’s Bodega Films has acquired French distribution rights to Jaime Rosales’ Un Certain Regard player “Beautiful Youth,” which Paris/Mexico City-based sales company NDM is introducing to buyers at the Cannes Market.
Also written by Rosales, “Beautiful Youth” is Rosales’ fourth film to be selected for Cannes in the last 11 years, a record for a Spanish filmmaker.
“Beautiful Youth” is produced by Fresdeval Films, Rosales label which he runs with producer Barbara Diez. Jose and Miguel Morales Wanda Films and Les Productions Balthazar in France.
It is an “as-accurate as-possible portrait of young people in contemporary Spain, 25-years-olds living in the outer suburbs,” Rosales told Variety.
Rosales fifth feature turns on Natalia (Ingrid Garcia-Jonsson, whose performance set the tone for other actors, Rosales said) and Carlos (Carlos Rodriguez). A young couple, they are in love, have limited income, no large ambitions since no huge hopes. When their daughter Julia is born, they decide to shoot an amateur porn film to earn some money.
What distinguishes Rosales’ films, however, is not so much their subject – though they deal with urgent contemporary issues, such as 2008’s “Bullet in the Head,” nailing Basque terrorism, or now “Youth,” at a time of massive unemployment or precarious employment among young Spaniards – but the link between subject and film style.
“In the contemporary world, the cell phone, new technologies, video, Internet, is highly present in all of us, but especially the young,” so partly in drive for accuracy, “Youth” is made up 80% of 16mm shots, shot by the film crew, and 20% of images the actors took of themselves, using mini-DV, smart-phone and web-cam devices.
Equally, in each take the actors improvised new dialogue, in order to make each take as fresh as possible.
“’Beautiful Youth’ is based on interviews, a mosaic of characters and experiences which I’ve encountered,” Rosales said.
“Many people, really a lot of people, perform amateur pornography to make money,” he said, adding that the films does not judge whether that is good or bad.
Unemployment, the lack of opportunities for today’s youth is “a huge problem which worries me.” That said, Rosales, said, he had hope and faith in young people. “They’ll get by, because of their strength, and freshness, they’re waiting for their opportunity, for things to change.”
Director Carlos Reygadas and producer Jaime Romandia launched sales company NDM (No Dream-Mantarraya) in 2012.
“The international sales adventure is giving us the opportunity to work with filmmakers that we have admired and respected for a long time. Jaime Rosales is one of them,” said NDM head Fiorella Moretti.
“Beautiful Youth” marks a unique approach to the young people of Spain of today. “The subject of the film is totally necessary but also in the form, the way Jaime Rosales explores it through language, changing formats and the way of shooting is really interesting and refreshing,” she added.
Screening in 2003’s Un Certain Regard, Rosales’ “The Hours of the Day” won a Fipresci prize. “Solitary Fragments,” which won best film and director at Spain’s 2007 Goya Awards, played Directors’ Fortnight, as did 2012’s “Dream and Silence.”