Juan Vera’s Directorial Debut, ‘El Amor Menos Pensado,’ to Open 66th San Sebastián Festival

The Argentine super-producer bows as a director, while lead actor Ricardo Darín takes his first turn as producer

Juan Vera’s ‘El Amor Menos Pensado’
San Sebastián Festival

Long-time producer and debut director Juan Vera’s first feature “El amor menos pensado” (“An Unexpected Love”) will open the 66th edition of the San Sebastián Festival on Sept 19.

The film features Argentina’s most marketable leading man and 2017 Donostia Award winner Ricardo Darín, along-side 2018 Karlovy Vary best actress winner Mercedes Morán, who received the award for her role in Ana Katz’s “Sueño Florianopolis.” The actors previously appeared together in Juan José Campanella’s “Avellaneda’s Moon.”

Brought onto the American Film Market by Guido Rud’s FilmSharks Intl., the semi-serious comedy turns on the broken relationship of Marcos (Darín) and Ana (Morán) who have been married for twenty-five years. The two split after their son leaves Argentina to study abroad. But Ana finds single life monotonous, and Marcos can barely cope, so he asks her to go on a date.

Practically an institution on Argentina’s production scene, Vera could be considered something of a late-bloomer in his move to the director’s chair, having spent the last 26 years working as a producer and dabbling occasionally in writing.

“I’ve always liked writing but went into producing,” he told Variety in November of last year. “I supervise screenplays and directors, generate projects and ideas, do casting and scout for new talent. I began writing on 2010’s ‘Just Like Me,’ and the film worked at the box office, as did “2 + 2,” which I also wrote. ‘El amor menos pensado’ is more personal, reflecting things I think about the world, so I thought that this time round I’d direct.”

Morán is having a 2018 to remember. In addition to her award-winning “Sueño Florianopolis” performance, the actress also appears in Luis Ortega’s Cannes’ Un Certain Regard player “The Angel,” along with Darín’s son Chino, who is building a formidable resume of his own. The actress has one Argentine Academy Award nomination for her work in 2014’s “Betibú” and a host of TV award wins and nominations in that country.

With a resume and trophy shelf the envy of almost any Latin American actor, Darín is one of those rare few that nearly ensures a film’s award, festival and box office successes. Seven times the actor has been nominated for the Argentine Academy best actor award, winning twice. In 2015 his role in Cesc Gay’s “Truman” earned him his first Spanish Academy Goya award as well as a shared San Sebastián Silver Shell. “El amor menos pensado” marks Darín’s first go as a producer, and the first title for his production label, Kenya Film.