Armando Bo’s “Animal,” one of the most-anticipated Argentine films this year, now has a teaser trailer which hints at the background, some more plot, and above all pace of the return to Spanish-Language filmmaking of Bo, an Academy Award winning screenwriter for Alejandro G. Inárritu’s “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).”.
Disney’s Buena Vista Intl. will release “Animal” in Argentina this May. The psychological thriller marks the first time that Viacom International Media Networks -Americas itself is overseeing Latin American distribution rights for all platforms on a Latin American feature
Variety has been granted exclusive access to its international version. Written by Bo and his partner Nicolás Giacobone, the Oscar-winning writing team behind Alejandro G. Iñarritú’s “Birdman,” “Animal” stars Guillermo Francella, the principled alcoholic of “The Secret in Their Eyes” and cold blue-eyed evil-incarnate patriarch of “The Clan.” France appears in almost every scene save for two of Carla Peterson, star of this year’s Argentine smash hit, “Ten Days Without Mom,” his wife in the film, driving a car and in cutaway reaction.
Francella plays a man who has played by the rules, and achieved everything: a beautiful wife, a good job and future. Part of that everything – a luxurious seaside-facing trophy house – seems to be shown in the film. But then he’s faced by a life or death situation – the trailer shows him collapsing – which means that his life depends on a homeless couple and he has to trust to animal instinct if he has any chance to survive. Hence the film’s title.
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Inevitably, perhaps, the man’s life spins out of control.
“Who sold us the idea we have control over life?” Francella’s character asks in the film.”F*** the rules.”
Which is when the movie’s full-on propulsive action kicks in, at least in the trailer with Francella in a race, it seems, against death.
The film was shot and set in Mar del Plata, whose monumental NH Gran Hotel Provincial is seen in the background of one shot. The iconic seaside location for Argentine families, a glamorous watering hole in the past, Mar del Plata’s slightly faded placid glory forms an ironic contrast in the trailer to frenetic scenes as Francella battles for his survival.
“Animal” is produced out of Argentina by Rebolución, Bo’s own label, MyS Producción and Viacom-owned free-to-air broadcaster Telefe. Vicente Canales’ Film Factory boarded as sales agent for all other global markets in arrangement announced last December. Santiago Segura’s Bowfinger International co-produces out of Spain. Their involvement repeats an industry structure – Latin American and Argentine distribution from a powerful U.S. company, Telefe, Film Factory, a Spanish co-producer – which has yielded some of the most powerful Spanish-language films in the last few years, such as Damián Szifron’s “Wild Tales” and Pablo Trapero’s “The Clan.” “Wild Tales” played Cannes competition, “The Clan” won best director at Venice.
Photo: Guillermo Francella, in Armando Bo’s “Animal”