'Absence,’ ‘Town,’ ‘Paradise’ Make Rio Fest

Massive new Brazilian pic panorama features new films by Graziosi, Carvalho, Coimbra, Fendrik. Yamasaki

Chico Teixeira’s “Absence,” Daniel Aragao’s “I Swear I’ll Leave This Town” and Andre Ristum’s “The Other Side of Paradise” world premiere in the Rio de Janeiro Intl. Film Festival’s centerpiece Premiere Brasil.

The Rio Fest runs Sept. 24 to Oct. 8.

“Absence,” “Town” and “Paradise” all figure in the feature film section. Also competing for Rio Fest’s top Redentor fiction feature prize: “Obra,” from Gregorio Graziosi, which bows at Toronto Discovery section.

Both “Town” and “Obra” are early sales titles on FiGa/Br, the new Brazilian sales label set up this year by L.A.-based FiGa Films.

Of other titles, Visit Films sells Fellipe Barbosa’s “Casa Grande,” also in the fiction feature cut. Playing out of competition: Pablo Fendrik’s BAC Films-sold “El Ardor,” an Amazon Western, first seen at Cannes, staring Gael Garcia Bernal and Alice Braga.

The world’s biggest new Brazilian pic spread, with 21 first-time world bows, Premiere Brasil centers much international attention at Rio as overseas agents and producers scour for new talent and the producers behind them.

Latter is increasingly relevant: Brazil is energetically morphing into a Latin American film-TV filmmaking giant, galvanized by government support tabbed at $540 million for 2014 in a new film-TV incentive package unveiled by Brazilian president Dilma Roussef in early July.

Lead-produced by Sao Paulo’s Bossa Nova Filmes, co-written by Teixeira (“Alice’s House”), Sabina Anzuategui (“Alice’s House”) and Marcelo Gomes (“The Man of the Crowd,” “Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures,”) “Ausencia” chronicles the sexual awakening of a 14-year-old boy, whose deep hurt at his father’s abandonment has tragic consequences. Imovision distribs in Brazil.

Dubbed a “psycho-thriller” by Aragao, “Town” turns on the relationship between a politician and his daughter, a former drug addict. It marks Aragao’s follow-up to his feature debut “Good Luck, Sweetheart,” a music-drenched visually stunning road-movie which established Aragao as a talent to track.

Word preeming at Rotterdam in January, “Casa Grande” is a coming-of-age tale with comedic notes and a subtext on class differences and racism set in one of Rio’s chic districts. Iafa Britz produces at Midgal Films. Imovision distributes.

The latest from Ristum (“My Country”) social drama “Paradise” centers as Antonio who moves to Brasilia, thinks he’s found happiness, then, as Brazil falls under a military dictatorship, runs into trouble as a trade union member.

A noir mystery, reportedly ravishingly shot, and produced by Zita Carvalhosa’s Superfilmes (“Alice’s House”), “Obra,” the feature debut of cult shorts director Graziosi (“Saba,” “Saltos”), turns on an architect’s growing qualms as construction on his latest work unearths human bones, part of an underground cemetery maybe linked to his family.

“Paradise” and “Obra” show young Brazilian directors unearthing Brazil’s dark past –literally in “Obra” – that is a growing trends.

But Premiere Brasil movies describe a broad gamut, in film types and the age of directors from those whose careers kicked in as Brazil began to recreate its industry in the ‘90s to first-time feature helmers.

Of established filmmakers, Murilo Salles, cinematographer on “Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands,” competes with “Means To An End”; Lirio Ferreira (“Dry Movie”) will unveil family drama “Blue Blood,” one of three fiction feature films in competition to be released by Jean-Thomas Bernardini’s Imovision.

Prolific young helmers Bruno Safadi and Ricardo Pretti, partners in Operation Sonia Silk filmmaking co-operative, will present “The End of an Era.”

Of directorial debs, screenwriter Manuela Dias, co-scribe of Vinicius Coimbra’s “Matraga,” which swept four prizes at 2011’s Rio Fest, plus “The Sky Above,” co-helms “Love Film Festival” with Coimbra and Juancho Cardona. From a screenplay by Dias, “Love” turns on a couple that only meets at film festivals. The love story continues down through years as time is imprinted on the actors’ faces.

Another tyro, “The Last Drive-In,” about a man who returns to the drive-in cinema where he spent his youth, is the feature-debut of multi-laurelled short-film director Ibdere Carvalho. Prizes include a Cartoon Network plaudit for kids’ short “To Ask For Forgiveness.”

Outside Brazil Premiere’s fiction feature competition, Walter Carvalho – Brazil’s top d.p., (“Central Station,” “Carandiru”) and director im his own right of “Cazuza” and “Budapest” – delivers a portrait of popular Brazilain art in “Brincante.” Eryk Rocha, who impressed with his first narrative feature, “Passerby,” return to documentary with “Sunday Ball” in a feature section also containing “Favela Gay” (pictured) a potentially popular LGBT title.

Also flamboyant, Paolo Machline’s “Trinta” is a fiction portrait of Rio Carnival designer Joaosinho Trinta. New Trends highlights include “Castanha,” Davi Pretto’s docu-fiction portrait of Joao Carlos Castanha, a Porto Alegre actor cabaret drag queen compere that is gaining festival cachet off a Berlin Forum bow.

A world different, but also catching cognoscentis’ eyes, Tizuka Yamasaki, best known for helming smash-hit “Lua de cristal” with kids show celeb Xuxa, returns with period puppy-love pic “Enchanted Amazon Island.”

PREMIERE BRASIL SECTIONS

A.FICTION FEATURES

“Absence,” Chico Teixeira, WP

“Casa Grande, (Casa Grande), de Fellipe Barbosa, 115’

“Love Film Festival, de Manuela Dias, Vinicius Coimbra, Juancho Cardona, WP

“The End Of An Era,” de Bruno Safadi, Ricardo Pretti, WP

“Means To An End,” Murilo Salles, WP

“The Other Side of Paradise,” Andre Ristum, WP

“The Last Drive-in Theater,” Ibere Carvalho, WP

“Obra,” Gregorio Graziosi,

“I Swear I’ll Leave This Town,” Daniel Aragao, WP

“Blue Blood,” Lirio Ferreira

OUT OF COMPETITION

“The Telescope of Time,” Alceu Valenca

“Good Luck,” Carolina Jabor,

“El Ardor,” Pablo Fendrik,

“Childhood,” Domingos Oliveira

“Trinta,” Paulo Machline, WP

B.DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

“Point Blank,” Theresa Jessouroun, WP

I Touched All Your Stuff,” MaIra Buhler, Matias Mariani,

“Sunday Ball,” Eryk Rocha, WP

“The Angel Of Hamburg,” Caco Ciocler

“Favela Gay,” de Rodrigo Felha WP

“Meia Hora And The Headlines That Become Headlines,”

Angelo Defanti WP

“My Name is Now, Elza Soares,” Elizabete Martins Campos WP

“The Trigger,” Rodrigo Mac Niven, WP

“Because We Have Hope,” Susanna Lira WP

“Samba & Jazz,” Jefferson Mello

OUT OF COMPETITION

“Brincante,” by Walter Carvalho, WP 92’. World Premiere.

Cassia, by Paulo Henrique Fontenelle, WP

C.NEW TRENDS

“The Revolution of the Year,” Diogo Faggiano, WP “Castanha,” Davi Pretto,

“Blue Desert,” Eder Santos, WP

“Hamlet, “ Cristiano Burlan, WP

“Lingering,” Leonardo Lacca, WP

“Seewatchlook what do you see when you look at what you whatch?” Michel Melamed, WP

“Everything Will Be Colored Just the Way You Want,” Letícia Simoes, WP

D.PORTRAITS

The Wind Outside,” Marcio Debellian, WP

Tie And Red Nail,” Miriam Chnaiderman,

“Guardians of the Samba,” Eric and Marc Belhassen, WP

“Idol,” Ricardo Calvet, WP

“Forever Yours Caio F.,” Cande Salles WP

E.EXPECTATION

At The Ghetto,” Fernando Grostein Andrade

F.GENERATIONS

“Enchanted Amazon Island,” Tizuka Yamasaki WP

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