'Open Cage’s’ Zunino Preps ‘Jumble’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Drama marks Zunino’s first homeland movie

GUADALAJARA – Mexico-based scribe-helmer-producer Max Zunino, whose directorial debut “Open Cage” world preems Wednesday at Guadalajara competing for its Mezcal and Ibero-American kudos, is prepping his first homeland drama and second feature, “Entrevero” (Jumble).

Making good on its promise, “Jumble” topped the 2nd Berlinale Guadalajara Talents Co-Production Meeting Sunday, scooping its prize in the international category.

In it, the protagonist – and Zunino as its director – return to Zunino’s native Uruguay, which the helmer left with his family at a very young age.

Juan, the protagonist, left older, ushered out of Uruguay by his family as a student. In the ‘70s, under Uruguay’s military dictatorship, trying to escape a military training clampdown exercise launched against his campus, he accidentally killed a soldier.

30 years later, wracked by remorse that makes his current life a disaster, he returns to expiate his guilt. Trying to right the past, he causes a lot to go wrong – or so it seems – in the present.

“Jumble” is set up at Mexico’s Peliculas Avestruz, which Zunino owns with Sofia Espinosa, the co-scribe and co-star of “Open Cage.” Jocelyn Hernandez at Phototaxia co-produces. The partners are looking to set up “Jumble” as a co-production with Uruguay, Zunino said.

“This is not a film about how terrible the dictatorship was, nor is it talking about things which have been swept under the carpet, “ Zunino explained.

“Rather it talks about how a social phenomenon continues to affect one person in particular, about Juan’s moral problem.”

“Society has solved the problem by saying Juan’s action was justified given that the victim was a soldier. But the conflict is still there for Juan since he isn’t an assassin,” Zunino explained.

Though set in another country, “Jumble” bears some comparisons with “Open Cage.” Both are tales of rebirth or a kind of redemption where characters, sometimes having led lives which hone close to social stereotypes, finally connect with a better, more genuine version of themselves, Zunino argued.

In this sense, though “Jumble,” like “Open Cage,” have open endings, both their finales are upbeat, he added.

Though Zunino has set “Jumble” as his second film, it isn’t his only project. Zunino and Espinosa are co-writing another screenplay, “Tea For Three,” a psychological thriller where Espinosa would play one of the trio of characters, she said at Guadalajara.

“Open Cage” proved one of the most laurelled of Latin American pix in post last year. It won three prizes at Guadalajara’s 2013 Films in Progress, received a Special Jury Prize mention at Los Cabos Festival, and shared top kudos with “Natural Sciences.” at Ventana Sur’s Primer Corte.

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