Walter Salles presides Cannes film development event
Brazil’s “All the Dead Ones,” Georgia’s “Dede” and South Africa’s “The Wound” feature among 10 projects at the 6th Cinemas du Monde Pavilion, a film development event hosted by the Cannes Festival.
2014’s edition kicked off Thursday with, among other events, a workshop by Brazil’s Walter Salles (“Central Station,” “The Motorcycle Diaries,” “Linha do Passe”), who is this year’s Cinemas du Monde patron.
Helmed by Caetano Gotardo (“The Moving Creatures”) and Marco Dutra (“Hard Labor”) “Dead Ones” is an original period drama with genre tropes that is set up at Sara Silveira’s Dezenove Som E Imagems.
Developed at the Cannes Festival’s Cinefondation, it weaves a metaphor for a still-backward modern Brazil, in its story of a family, – one mother two daughter – at the time of Brazil’s 1888 abolition of slavery, who are unable to face the future without their slaves.
Part of Georgia’s national industry build, driven by the seminal impact of support from the Georgia National Film Center, Mariam Kchatchvani’s “Dede” is a woman’s story set against the background of Svaneti’s snowbound mountains and the arcane honor code of the region. It is set up at Vladimer Katcharava’s 20 Step Productions, whose slate also features “The President,” by Mohsen Makhmalbaf.
Produced by Urucu Media, “The Wound” marks the first feature from John Trengove whose miniseries “Hopeville” won a Eurovision Rose d’Or and was nominated for an International Emmy.
It relates how Kwanda, a rich big city kid, returns to his father’s village to be circumcised. But his initation becomes deadly when he disturbs a closeted relationship between two rural men.
The grand conflict threading Cinemas du Monde projects this year – as in many years in the past – is the battle between immutable tradition and Western-style modernity, where the films’ often female leads are the immediate victims.
“Chedda” from Algeria’s Damien Ounouri – whose debut, “Fidai” screened at Toronto – turns on a new mother,
weighed down by her conservative family. Taj Intaj, an exec producer on Karim Moussaoui’s “The Days Before,” produces.
In “So Long a Letter, from Senegal’s Angele Diabang, Ramatoulaye, a mother of seven bridles when her husband takes a far younger second wife.
“In Rama’s quest for freedom that leads to rebellion, she must find a balance between the Western ways she values and the traditions she respects,” Diabang commented.
Syrian Gaya Jiji’s Damascus-set “My Favorite Fabric” turns on Nahla, who beauty does not conform to modern norms. She suffers when her sister is chosen in marriage by Samir, a U.S.-based Syrian.
Helmed by Kamar Ahmad Simon, a member of a new generation of Bangladesh filmmakers, “Silence of the Seashell” turns on 31-year-old Bijoy, who returns to Bangladesh to scatter his mother’s ashes. Arcane religious conflict makes that very difficult.
Cinemas du Monde aims to foster movie creation in countries lacking the necessary infrastructure to support quality film production,” said Cannes president Gilles Jacob.
Some film projects attempt to square the social concerns almost inevitable in much poorer country filmmaking with more entertainment-driven fiction.
Produced by Costa Rica’s La Feria Producciones, Cuban Armando Capo’s “August” Is a coming-of-age-tale, set in 1994 Cuba, when the collapse sparked desperate food and energy shortages and attempts at mass exodus.
Set up at Lao Art Media, “Dearest Sister,” Laos’s Mattie Do, Mixes meller staples – a poor village girl comes to the big city to care for her rich cousin, who’s blind – with somewhat more complex ethical dilemas.
Venezuelan Gustavo Rondon Cordova’s “The Family” has a father taking the rap when his son accidentally kills a young thief.