LOCARNO — Two of Brazil’s best-known international film figures, RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixeira and director Karim Aïnouz, will re-team to make “The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmão.”
The touching tale of the life destinies of two sisters over three decades, from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, “Eurídice Gusmão” is set up at Teixeira’s Sao Paulo-based RT Features, a producer on James Schamus’ “Indignation” and Ira Sachs’ “Little Men” and a producer with Martin Scorsese on Josh and Benny Sadie’s upcoming “Uncut Gems.”
Aïnouz, whose stock has consistently risen since his 2002 debut, “Madame Satã,” culminating in a 2014 Berlin competition berth for the well-received “Futuro Beach,” is currently penning the script with Brazilian screenwriter and stage director Murilo Hauser.
A first draft of “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão” should be ready by the end of September, with the aim of shooting in 2017, said Teixeira.
Aïnouz’s second movie at RT Features after 2011’s Directors’ Fortnight entry “Silver Cliff,” “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão’ adapts the debut novel of the same title by Martha Batalha. It turns on two sisters: Eurídice, an introverted but talented young girl, and the more extrovert older sister Guida. Eurídice finds strength in Guida “to face the challenges and consequences of living in a paternalist society,” a RT Features plot summary explains. But when Guida elopes with her boyfriend, Eurídice, who wants to become a musician, is forced to fulfil her responsibilities as an only child and ideal wife, becoming locked into a loveless marriage.
The film looks likely to catch up with the two sisters in the early 1970s. Abandoned by her boyfriend, Guida has had to bring up their child on her own. Eurídice never becomes a musician, but does manage to write small articles for a newspaper.
“The book touched a nerve,” said Aïnouz. Given the importance of feminism, he added, “I thought it’d be very important to adapt something set in the past but relevant to us, tracing the past to our days.”
One key of the story is “access to the labor market,” denied to both sisters; another, how “women’s voices are constantly being challenged” “not only in the public arena but also the private space of the home,” Aïnouz said.
The Brazilian director – who cut his film teeth as a casting and editing assistant on Todd Haynes’s 1990 Sundance winner “Poison,” produced by Christine Vachon – said he would adapt “Eurídice Gusmão” as a “classic melodrama.” “Douglas Sirk’s ‘Imitation of Life’ is one of my favourite films,” he added.
After “Futuro Beach,” “The Invisible Life” returns Aïnouz to the femme-centric focus of much of his work, whether his first documentary “Seams,” his first and second features “Madame Satã” and “Love For Sale,” “The Silver Cliff” or his HBO Latin America TV series, “Alice.”
“‘The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão’ is a critique of the way men treat women. Karim Aïnouz is the perfect director to explore this social issue, creating a powerful melodrama,” said Teixeira, a member of the main international competition jury at 2016’s Locarno.
RT Features is looking to co-produce “Eurídice Gusmão” out of Europe, said Teixeira.
Aïnouz joins a dazzling generation of newer Brazilian talent at RT Features as it also pushes out into production with the U.S., France and Latin America. Having signed up to co-produce Chilean Dominga Sotomayor’s upcoming “Late To Die Young,” RT Features will world premiere in Locarno’s Filmmakers of the Present competition this year “El auge del humano” (The Human Surge) It is produced by Argentina’s Ruda Cine and Un Puma Cine, in co-production with RT Features and Portugal’s Bando a Parte. “The Human Surge” marks the first feature of Argentina’s France-based Teddy Williams, best-known perhaps for the Cannes Cinefondation screened short “Pude ver un puma,” a mix of fantasy, commentary, sensations and allegory not entirely foreign to the vision of disaffected youth of “The Human Surge.”
RT Features is now in advanced post-production on “The Friendly Animal,” a restaurant-set Western of reportedly gathering primal brutality. The anticipated first feature of Gabriela Almeida Amaral, a co-writer on Walter Salles’ next movie and “a woman director who likes to make Tarantino movies,” according to Teixeira, “The Friendly Animal” will be presented to big early-year 2017 festivals, he added.
Aly Muritiba (“To My Beloved”) will go into production in the first semester on 2017 “Blood-Drenched Beard,” an adaptation of Daniel Galera’s post-modern identity drama/mystery thriller.
Teixeira said RT Features would adapt Roberto Bolaño’s novel “Distant Star,” about a pilot in Augusto Pinochet’s post-1973 airforce.
RT Features has also boarded “Call Me By Your Name,” from Luca Guadagnino, now in post, which is also produced by Italy’s Frenesy Film Company, France’s La Cinefacture and Santa Monica’s Water’s End Productions, headed by Tom Dolby.
Teixeira added: “We are closing other projects now, for next year, with the U.S. and Europe, talking to two great directors, to make independent films.”
In all, RT Features will shoots two films in Brazil and four outside in 2016. “The group of producers at RT Features are cinephiles. We are only based in Sao Paulo. We need to understand other film cultures but we can work all over the world on films while being in Brazil,” Teixeira added.