LOCARNO – The Cinema Guild has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Argentine Matias Pineiro’s “The Princess of France,” which opens Locarno’s International Competition on Thursday.
The U.S. distribution deal continues a relationship between Pineiro and Cinema Guild, which distributed his 2011 movie “Viola.”
I-SAT has also picked up pan Latin American pay TV rights to “Princess,” said its producer, Melanie Shapiro.
The U.S. deal comes as Pineiro is prepping his fourth Shakespeare title, “Hermia & Helena” – a reference to two heroines in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Currently, in development, “Hermia” will be structured as a co-production between Argentina and the U.S., shooting in Montana, Schapiro added.
A Locarno world premiere, “Princess” marks, after “Rosalind” and “Viola,” the third installment in Pineiro’s Shakespeare project, which riffs on the spirited female characters in the Bard’s comedies, setting here “Love’s Labor’s Lost” humor-laced roundelay of amorous dalliance in Buenos Aires’ modern “off” theater scene.
“Princess” begins with Victor, a playwright, who returns to Argentina from Mexico after the death of his father. He returns with a radio-play based on “Love’s Labor Lost,” which he staged with five actresses. They include his g.f, his lover, his ex, a friend, and a girl he has yet to get to know. All conceive romantic designs on Victor.
Julian Larquier Tellarini stars with the actresses played by Agustina Munoz, Maria Villar, Romina Paula, Laura Paredes and Elisa Carricajo.
A film that delights in artifice – whether shot set-ups, dialogue, disguise or art – “The Princess of France” was one of the two biggest prize-winners at April’s BAL pix-in-post competition, part of Buenos Aires’ Bafici Festival, winning free-of-charge post-pro services from Latin America’s Cinecolor, a $5,000 Epicentre Film Award cash-prize, and an invitation to Pineiro to attend the next edition of Copenhagen’s DOX: LAB.
“The Princess of France” went on to be selected for the Cannes Market’s BAL Goes to Cannes showcase.
Pineiro enjoys a strong, if still-to-grow fan base on the festival circuit: “Viola” pulled off the rare double of selection for Toronto and Berlin.
The New York Times selected Pineiro last year as one of its 20 international Directors To Watch. Recognizing similarities between his films and mumblecore in their extra low budgets and young-people theme and imagery, Pineiro countered, however, that “I enjoy cinema much more in terms of artifice and composition rather than the obsessive naturalism that sometimes I think those films fall into. I’d rather not mumble, but enjoy talking in fast, plentiful kinds of ways, as in Hawks or Sturges.”
“’The Princess of France’ is part of a long-term project I have been developing since 2010, entitled ‘The Shakespereads.’ It is a series of films of different formats and lengths that work around the female roles in the comedies of William Shakespeare in a contemporary Argentine universe, Pineiro said at BAL.
“Hermia & Helena” turns on a young femme Argentine neuroscientist who travels to New York to conduct neuro-linguistic tests, using Shakespeare’s texts, Pineiro told Variety.
But her professional trip soon acquires a romantic heft when she meets an experimental music group from New England who use the same texts she is working on.
“The task of translating Shakespeare into film is a challenge that questions not only the limits of what film form can be, but also what ‘nationality’ implies,” Pineiro also said at BAL.
He added: “By translating one of the major canons of English culture into a present-day Rio de la Plata Spanish, I intend to incorporate new frontiers that allow me to say: ‘This also belongs to me.’