CANNES – Vincent Cassel (“Black Swan”) stars in “A Movie Life,” the third feature from Brazilian megastar-turned-director Selton Mello, which wraps production in South Brazil on May 29. Variety has had exclusive access to images from the highly anticipated film.
Produced by Vania Catani at Rio de Janeiro’s Bananeira Filmes, and co-produced by MGM Intl., “A Movie Life” is set in the 1960s in the cosy sierras of Rio Grande do Sul.
Mello’s follow-up to “The Clown” Brazil’s Oscar entry, and one of Brazil’s most notable breakout arthouse hits in recent years, “A Movie Life” adapts the book “A Distant Father,” from Chilean Antonio Skarmeta, one of whose other novels was turned by Michael Radford into the Academy Award-winning “The Postman.”
A rites-of-passage and family drama of big dreams in small-town Brazil, whose landscapes look set to capture the tone of a heartwarming tale of family reconciliation, it turns on Tony, returns from college to his home-town to learn his father has fled home. Tony becomes a school-teacher, courts a lovely local girl, and frequents a cinema in a neighboring town – which harbors a shocking surprise.
Cassel, who speaks fluent Portuguese – as instanced by Heitor Dhalia’s Un Certain Regard player “Adrift” – plays Tony’s father. Mello, who appeared recently in Stephen Daldry’s “Trash,” limns Paco, a swaggering friend to Tony and his family.
Written by Mello and Marcelo Vindicatto, his co-scribe on both “The Clown” and Mello’s 2008 debut “December,” “A Movie Life” shot in the towns of Cotiporã, Veranópolis, Bento Gonçalves, Garibaldi, Farroupilha, Monte Belo do Sul and Santa Tereza.
“One day Skarmeta got in touch with me and Vania Catani, my producer and partner. He wanted to adapt his novel A Distant Father’ to cinema, in Brazil. I thought it was a prank call, then I realized it wasn’t, he really was willing to do it and thought the person who should transpose his book’s pages to me was me,” Mello recalled..
“Working with Mello is always a pleasure. Besides being talented, he is generous and affectionate towards his work and the people. It’s great joy to work with him in this film, to take part in this collective dream and work hard to see everything turn out fine,” producer Vania Catani added.