Argentina’s Fernando Cricenti Unveils ‘Veredas’

Young Argentine directors push into the mainstream

MAR DEL PLATA – Is Latin American cinema shifting mainstream? Art pics remain of course. Indeed, three standouts at Mar del Plata’s voluminous 22-title Work in Progress, which unspooled Thursday and Friday at the seaside resort  – Daniel Rosenfeld’s “To the Center of the Earth,” Ana Pitarbarg’s “Alptraum” and Pablo Aguero’s “Madres de los Dioses,” which treated audiences Geraldine Chaplin’s latest challenging role, as God – would all fit into that category.

But the MDP WIP also featured at least three genre movies and a bevy of titles that are – hopefully upscale – niche mainstream, rather than the artistic plays so common before.

One case in point: Fernando Cricenti’s Buenos Aires-set “Veredas,” which took WIP’s eventual First Mention Prize, a kind of runners-up plaudit. At Mar del Plata, the director said that it drinks at the wells of both classic Hollywood screwball comedy – Howard Hawks, Preston Sturges,  Cricenti said at Mar del Plata – and France’s Nouvelle Vague, in its serial use of outdoor urban locations, dotted around Buenos Aires’ upscale Palermo district.

“The characters move about a Buenos Aires which is contemporary, recognizable but slightly strange,” Cricenti said. He added: “This strangeness is based, more than anything else, on the list and organization of the places of the places which the characters go to and their obsessions and actions: It’s out of synch with normal reality, functions in a different way. I like early ‘60s movies that took the camera out into the street and started shooting.”

Produced by Omar Jadur, at No Problem Cine, and Sebastian Perillo – who separately or together also have at Mar del Plata the International Competition entry “Somebody’s Life” and “El hijo buscado,” an Argentine Competition player – “Veredas” stars actor-playwright Ezequial Tronconi (“La Tigra, Chaco”), who co-wrote the screenplay, as Federico, 30, a writer and seemingly romantic wet-blanket, who’s just been dumped by his girlfriend from hell, and is delighted when a gamine girl, Lucia, played by Paula Reca, whose credits include the Juan Jose Campanella-produced “Belgrano,” jumps into his taxi to follow her b.f, Andrés, whom she was about to pinkslip until she sees him with another woman.

A romantic off-kilter chase movie, chronicling the gradual re-masculation of Federico, thanks to Lucia, “Veredas” boasts a strong ensemble of secondary players – Anita Pauls (“The German Doctor”), Paloma Contreras (“The Fish Child”) – chance meetings, and quirkier settings – the Buenos Aires Zoo, and Carlos Thays’ Rose Garden Walk, for instance. Cinematography is by Fernando Lockett, the regular d.p. of Matias Pineiro (“The Princess of France”), whose credits also include Santiago Palavecino’s Venice player “Some Girls” and “Somebody’s Life.”

Starring Guillermo Francella, “Lionheart” grossed $10.6 million in Argentina for Disney last year. Local romcoms are none too common in the Argentine cinema, Cricenti said.

“I wanted to make an audience-friendly film,” he added.

Beyond films starring Ricardo Darin and Francella, crime thrillers are punching better box office now in Argentina. It remains to be seen if romantic comedies stock can rise too.

More Film

  • Animation Studio Fire

    Kyoto Arson Attack: Animation Community Mourns Colleagues

    Thursday’s deadly attack on Japan’s Kyoto Animation studios left many in the animation community shocked and horrified by the loss of 33 of their colleagues. Another 36 people were injured in the attack, which was Japan’s deadliest ever. A suspect was arrested after pouring a flammable liquid inside the building, which caught fire and trapped [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Film News Roundup: Nicolas Cage's '10 Double Zero' Completes Financing

    In today’s film news roundup, financing has been secured for a Nicolas Cage police drama, feature drama “Topside” is unveiled and the late Tom Snyder is getting a tribute from his daughter. FINANCING COMPLETED DCR Finance Corp. has signed a deal to complete the financing for Nicolas Cage’s upcoming crime drama “10 Double Zero.” The [...]

  • Matt Damon and Tom McCarthy Team

    Matt Damon Teams with 'Spotlight' Director Tom McCarthy on New Film (EXCLUSIVE)

    Even as buzz grows for his upcoming race car drama “Ford v. Ferrari,” Matt Damon looks to keep the pedal to the metal: the A-lister is set to star in the Participant Media feature film “Stillwater” with Tom McCarthy directing. Damon attached himself in May, and the package was quickly acquired by Participant, who previously [...]

  • US actor Kevin Spacey (C) is

    Kevin Spacey Shouldn't Be Exonerated in Hollywood Even as Criminal Case Ends (Column)

    The news that criminal charges against Kevin Spacey in the Nantucket groping case have been dropped raises an inevitable question: does this mean he can claw his way back into Hollywood’s good graces? Or maybe more importantly: should it?  Spacey’s rapid descent was startling, even as it quickly followed that of the once untouchable producing [...]

  • Movie Ticket Subscriptions

    As MoviePass Fades, Theaters Fall In Love With Subscription Services

    MoviePass may be cratering, but movie theater subscriptions are here to stay. AMC and Cinemark already operate their own online ticketing services. And by the end of July, Regal Entertainment is expected to unveil a subscription plan for customers accustomed to getting all manner of entertainment for a monthly fee. With ticket sales down more [...]

  • This photo shows composer Hans Zimmer

    Hans Zimmer on Recreating Iconic Score: 'The Lion King' 'Brought People Together'

    Composer Hans Zimmer is seated at the mixing board at the Sony scoring stage, head bobbing to the music being performed by 107 musicians just a few yards away. He’s wearing a vintage “Lion King World Tour” T-shirt, frayed at the collar. On the giant screen behind the orchestra, two lions are bounding across the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content