Paradigm Signs Maria Evoli, Star of Iñarritu, Cuaron-Endorsed ‘Flesh’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Hollywood agency pounces on one of the Mexican cinema’s hottest new assets

GUADALAJARA – The Paradigm Talent Agency has signed Maria Evoli, the star of Mexican Emiliano Rocha Minter’s “Tenemos la carne” (“We Are the Flesh”), a movie that has won the rare distinction of endorsement from not only “The Revenant’s” Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu but also “Gravity’s” Alfonso Cuaron, plus co-production by Carlos Reygadas (“Post Tenebras Lux”), directors who have won between them the last three Academy Award best director statues and a Cannes Festival best director nod in 2012.

Rocha Minter’s debut, “We Are the Flesh” world premiered Feb. 2 at the Rotterdam Festival, in its Bright Future section. Currently in her third year at Mexico’s prestigious Centro Universitario de Teatro (CUT), which only accepts 16 students a year, Evoli’s performance as Fauna in “We Are the Flesh” is her first starring role in a feature; Paradigm’s Latin American signings normally have a longer professional c.v. But the agency is believed to have tied down Evoli against competition from rivals, comprehensible given the high-level advocacy and buzz “Flesh” has received, and Evoli’s performance.

Produced by Julio Chavezmontes’ Piano, a Mexico City production-distribution house and sold internationally by Paris-based Reel Suspects, “We Are the Flesh” is presented by Rocha Minter as an allegory for the lust and cruelty vitiating modern México and by Evoli as a portrait of what it means to be a human being without limits.

“Flesh” is set in what looks like a post-Apocalypse world where a teen sister (Fauna, played by Evoli) and brother (Lucio, limned by Diego Gamaliel ) stumble on a much older man living in one of the city’s only buildings still standing. The man offers them food in return for help to turn his building into a womb-like cave where he encourages the siblings, like a born again Adam and Eve, to abandon their inhibitions, whether concerning incest, onanism or bloodlust. Fauna does so more readily than her brother, requiring a unabashed performance from Evoli which the few people who have seen the film praise for its large physicality as well as breadth as Fauna swings back towards or away from more socially-conditioned behavior.

during his promotional tour for The Revenant in Mexico: “We Are the Flesh “is a very personal, very powerful film that deeply impressed me. Emiliano Rocha is part of a new generation [of filmmakers] with a potent talent and voice,” Iñarritu told Mexican newspaper “Reforma” during his promotional tour for “The Revenant” in Mexico.

“I loved this film. ‘Tenemos la Carne’ takes over our waking thoughts, like a recurring dream we try to forget, because we are fearful of finding out it may be a memory,” Cuaron wrote in a quote to support the film.

Evoli, who has acted in shorts made at Mexico’s CUEC and CCC Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, two of its most famous film schools, told Variety she had not experienced a directorial style like Rocha Minter’s which entailed “experimenting a lot with the body, my voice, my mind and “a really physical direction with the help of a body coach.”

“She is an enormously gifted performer, and I fully expect to see her at the forefront of a new generation of Latin American talent. I’m very proud that ‘Tenemos la carne’ was her feature debut,” said producer Chavezmontes.

“I’d like to work not just in Mexico nor Hollywood but in all the industry, with Sion Sono, David Lynch, Iñarritu,” Evoli added. “Signing with Paradigm gives me the chance to work with the people I really wanted to work with.”

After “Flesh,” Evoli has worked with Michel Lipkes in a small role in “Strange But True.” She also has a small role in the new film from Natalia Beristain (“No quiero dormir sola”), about the life of Mexican poet Rosario Castellano.

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