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European Pair Boards Chilean Marcela Said’s ‘Los Perros’ (EXCLUSIVE)

‘The Blind Christ’s’ Christopher Murray on ‘parables of hope that empower people’

Augenschein, Terratreme Board Chilean Marcela Said’s
Courtesy: Jirafa

Germany’s Augenschein Filmproduktion and Portugal’s Terratreme Filmes have boarded Chilean Marcela Said’s “Los Perros,” which is being produced by France’s Cinema Defacto and Chile’s Jirafa, the production house behind Christopher Murray’s Venice competition player, “The Blind Christ.”

Augenschein and Terra Trema join Argentina’s REI Cine as international co-producers.

“Co-production helps distribution around the world, permits us to work with talent all over and the director to make a film with the resources required, and it avoids risk, allowing us to earn income from early distribution and first sales,” said Jirafa’s Augusto Matte.

A Venice Gap Financing Market title starring Antonia Zegers (“The Club”) and Alfredo Castro (“From Afar”), “Los Perros” is shaping up as one of the highest-profile projects now moving towards production in Chile.

That’s partly because of its subject: the sexual attraction between an upper-class woman and her horseback riding instructor, despite his being prosecuted for his part in the Pinochet regime’s torture and murder of dissidents. Like Jirafa’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” which played at both Sundance and Berlin, “Los Perros” is also likely to prove inflammatory for its vision of a Chile where far more people are guilty of complicity with Pinochet’s dictatorship than they would like to admit.

Matte will present “Los Perros” at the Venice Festival’s’s Gap Financing Market on Friday along with a second project,“The Cow That Sang Its Song About the Future,” on the same day that “The Blind Christ” world premieres in competition.

“Cow,” “a magical realist film, turning in part on technology,” and a very 21st century tale,” said Matte, will be directed by Francisca Alegria, whose short film “And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow’s Eye” will screen at Toronto. That short was produced by Chile’s Forastero (“The Maid”) and Jirafa.

Singled out by Venice director Alberto Barbera as “the big discovery” of this year’s festival, “The Blind Christ” follows Michael, a mechanic who walks barefoot over the northern Chile desert to perform a miracle, curing his best friend. On the way, he tells stories, “parables of hope that empower people,” drawn from true stories in the region, with the idea that “everyone has Christ inside themselves,” Murray told Variety.

“The Blind Christ” becomes” a combination of realistic elements and a narrative which is stripped down to its essentials, having the feel of  parable,” he added.