M-Appeal Swoops on ‘Hilda’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Starring Adriana Paz (“The Empty Hours”), pic is the latest from Mexico’s on-the-rise Pimienta Films

MADRID – Linking to Nicolas CelisPimienta Films, one of the up-and-coming production houses in Mexico, M-Appeal has acquired international sales rights to Pimients’s latest production, “Hilda.”

The feature film debut of writer-director Andres Clariond (“Peoria”), “Hilda” adapts the stage-play of the same name by France’s Marie N’Diaye, a 2009 Prix Goncourt winner for “Trois femmes puissantes” and the co-scribe of Claire Denis’ “White Material.”

It stars Adriana Paz, who performance “in a truly breakthrough role” –in Variety’s words – in Aaron Fernandez’s “The Empty Hours” won her best actress at Mexico’s prestigious Morelia Festival last year.

Paz plays Hilda, the wife of a gardener, who is taken in as a new maid by Mrs Le Marchand the lonely 63-year-old housewife of a wealthy husband. In a later life crisis, as Mrs LeMarchand attempts to re-connect with her leftist past, she becomes obsessed with Hilda, subtly kidnapping her, preventing her from returning home, and bathing, dressing and cutting her hair as if she was a doll, as her deliriousness mounts.

Veronica Langer (“Y tu mama tambien,” “Nora’s Will”) plays Mrs. LeMarchand.

“Being part of a country stricken by so many inequalities and home to millions of poor people, the Mexican upper class is a mixture of waste and guilt, of acts of charity, classism and exclusion, and a walking contradiction,” said Clariond.

“I wanted to make a social portrait without overlooking the protagonist’s emotional complexity. Mrs. LeMarchand represents the frustration faced by so many women in their senior age, caused by their comparison of the goals of their youth and their actual life achievements,” he added.

Turning on racism, classism and power abuse, in its soaring neurosis, huis-clos set-up, Mexican setting, and class ironies, “Hilda” also tips its hat to Luis Bunuel.

It is produced by Nicolas Celis at Pimienta Films, who has taken a variety of production credits on milestone Mexican movies of late: “Somos lo que hay,” Jorge Michel Grau’s feature debut, Amat Escalante’s Cannes best director winner “Heli, a complex production which Celis line-produced, and Tatiana Huete’s “The Tiniest Place,” described as a “sublime documentary debut” by Variety, which he produced.

Gabriel Nuncio, who oversees “Hilda’s” executive production, served as an executive producer on Gerardo Naranjo’s third feature, “I’m Gonna Explode.”

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