MADRID — Having swooped before Berlin on Gael García Bernal starrer “Museo,” Paris-based Paris-based Luxbox has acquired most world sales rights to Alejandra Márquez Abella’s “The Good Girls,” another high-profile Mexican movie.
Mexican exhibition giant Cinepolis’ is handling distribution rights in North and Latin America.
“The Good Girls” is one of the 12 films – and only two Latin American movies – competing at this year’s Toronto Platform Competition, launched in 2015 to mark out new with bold directorial vision not alien to audience appeal. Past Platform titles include Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin” (2017) Warwick Thornton’s “Sweet Country” (2017), Pablo Larraín’s “Jackie” (2016) and Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” (2016).
Produced by Gabriela Maire and Rodrigo S. González, a co-founder of Mexico’s Woo Films, “The Good Girls” marks Márquez Abella’s return to Toronto after her feature debut, “Semana Santa,” played at TIFF in 2015, marking her out as a name to watch among Mexican women directors who are beginning to emerge at the vanguard of Mexican filmmaking. It is inspired by “Las Niñas Bien,” the first – and still one of the most famous – of books by María Guadalupe Loaeza, a mordant satirist of Mexico’s bourgeoisie, in this case decimated by the crisis of the early ‘80s.
Set in 1982, and capturing the camp and kitsch aesthetic of the decade, “The Good Girls” turns on Sofia, an utterly charming, aims-to-be-perfect and inordinately spoiled socialite, who confronts the unthinkable: Her own social eclipse, thanks to Mexico’s economic crash. Though she attempts to keep up appearances, her fall wakes her up to what she has lost when her money is gone.
The characters and situations may seem the fruit of Loaeza’s imagination, Luxbox founders Fiorella Moretti and Hédi Zardi said in a joint statement. But “a look at Mexico’s history of the past three decades suggests everything described is part of a “tragic national reality.”
Sofia is played by Ilse Salas, who leapt to attention with her female lead performance in Alonso Ruizpalacios’ “Güeros,” one of the most commented Latin American debuts of this decade which won Berlin’s 2014 Best First Feature Award.
Márquez brings her “strong sensibility” to a well-judged balance between dark humor and an in-depth portrait of a woman battling to maintain the smooth appearance of a perfect life,” according to Zardi and Moretti. Salas “perfectly embodies the posh queen bee of these rich woman, the subjective experience of a goddess who becomes mortal,” they went on.
“This film was a great opportunity to think about women’s anxiety and the complexities of women’s power, subjects I find really interesting and are not addressed enough,” Marquez said.
“The stars lined up. We had all the confidence of Guadalupe Loaeza, and [now] the total support of Cinepolis Distribution and Luxbox,” Woo Films González added.
At Cannes last year, Luxbox introduced to buyers Woo Films’ “The Eternal Feminine,” the second feature by Natalia Beristain, a portrait of the genius and fragility of famed Mexican writer and early feminist Rosario Castellanos. Luxbox’s Toronto titles also include Benjamin Naishtat’s noirish retro drama-thriller “Rojo,” a Toronto Platform and San Sebastian Competition player, as Luxbox consolidates as one of the premier go-to sales agents for top Latin American movie titles.