MAR DEL PLATA – Ana Piterbarg, who caught international attention with her debut, Viggo Mortensen starrer “Everybody Has a Plan” – produced by Haddock and Tornasol (“The Secret in Their Eyes”) and distributed by Fox Intl. Productions – has advanced on her second feature, the long-in-gestation and considerably different “Alptraum.”
Shot in black-and-white, sometimes recalling German expressionism, and much more of an art film, though a seemingly accessible one, “Alptraum” does not mean that Piterbarg has given up on larger movies with studio backing or stars. But “Alptraum” allows an outlet for creative exploration that, she argued, will allow her to be a more distinctive director when confronting bigger-budgeted fare.
Produced by Piterbarg and Alejandro Giulani, initiated before “Everybody Has a Plan” but now in post, “Alptraum” is a potential highlight at Mar del Plata’s Work in Progress, the Argentine fest’s industrial highlight that unspools Thursday and Friday. It turns on a young playwright-actor whose romantic obsessions – his ex-girlfriend’s infidelity, his new love interest’s disappearance – prove self-fulfilling paranoias. Simultaneously, he suffers a recurring and ever more intense nightmare– alptraum in German – of being pursued by Krampus, a horned beast of ancient Bavaria legend.
“Alptraum” should be ready for delivery spring 2015, Piterbarg said. A genre blender, it features an indie pic-style protagonist gradually absorbed in a psychological thriller reminiscent of early Polanski, which attains moments of oneiric surrealism.
Bearing the imprint of Argentina fantasy masters – Jorge Luis Borges, Bioy Casares, in turn influenced by Edgar Allen Poe –“Alptraum” works as a parable of the dangers of creativity.
“Like Icarus, following his intuitions, the protagonist ends up destroying himself. As a creator, if one thinks one always has to pay attention to certain dictates of extreme sensibility, sometimes one can lose touch with reality.”
But “Alptraum” is a film that Piterbarg feels she had to direct.
“Every project, every story needs its own type of treatment, its own special touch. There’s also a personal need on my part to try out things, to create stories that probably aren’t so conventional, ” said Piterbarg.
She added: “I’d go so far as to say that I think that much of the very industrial, commercial cinema needs this type of exploration: Both languages – the industrial and less conventional – necessarily feed off each other.”
All “Alptraum” will be shot in black-and-white, Piterbarg said. Used initially for dream sequences, a framed 3:4 ratio format will gradually become more frequent as the playwright-actor falls victim of his obsessions, she added.