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Gael García Bernal and La Corriente del Golfo, his Mexico City production house launched last year with Diego Luna, have unveiled the poster for “Chicuarotes,” directed by the multi-prized Mexican actor-producer and world premiering in Official Selection at next week’s Cannes Film Festival.

Since García Bernal’s feature debut “Deficit,” selected for Cannes’ Critics’ Week in 2007, he has continued to direct: a segment of “Revolución,” for example, an episode of “Mozart in the Jungle,” which won him a Golden Globe as an actor, and the pilot for Fox Networks Group Latin America’s “Here on Earth,” which he showran and which won the inaugural Zurich Series Award last year.

A dramedy, “Chicuarotes” is, however, García Bernal’s second feature as a director.

Playing out of competition at Cannes as a special screening, “Chicuarotes” turns on two teens,Cagalera and Moloteco, from San Gregorio Atlapulco district of Mexico City who, desperate to escape from poverty, get the chance to buy membership of an electricians’ guild, which can transform their lives. Attempting to raise the money, however, they spiral ever deeper into Mexico’s dark criminal world.

“Chicuarotes” stars young actors Benny Emmanuel, Gabriel Carbajal and Leidi Gutiérrez, playing alongside the well-known Daniel Giménez Cacho and Dolores Heredia.

The poster for “Chicuarotes” anticipates its plot. Cagalera and Moloteco sit at the back of a bus. A street in Mexico City is visible in the rear screen. It looks smart enough. Cagalera and Moloteco’s bus, in contrast, is capped out, its seats in desperate need of re-holstering. The two friends live in marginalized world, surrounded by signs of a better life which is not theirs.

Both friends wear clown’s makeup, which they don at first, a trailer suggests. to entertain the bus passengers. Later in the film, the makeup’s become a disguise as they assault the passengers for their money.

“‘Chicuarotes’ is an amphibious fable of Mexico City’s past and present,” said García Bernal. “Confronted by the desperation of today’s youth, which is so painful to witness, can any light be shone on a terrible question: What is the origin of a violence which never seems to end?”

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La corriente del golfo

“The film gave us the certainty of a latent,somewhat subject answer which is little explored,” he added, noting that “It’s there, in the struggle to encounter a harmony between land, ourselves and water, where vegetables and all the answers grow.We have to take advantage of the opportunity that cinema gives us to create communities, to explore all of this.”

Written by Augusto Mendoza, whose screenwriting credits take in Luna’s “Mr. Pig” and “Abel,” “Chicuarotes” is a production of La Corriente del Golfo and Cinematográfica Amaranto in co-production with Televisa and Pulse Films. It is produced by Marta Núñez Puerto, Gael García Bernal and Thomas Benski.

Cinépolis Distribución, the go-ahead distribution arm of exhibition giant Cinépolis, acquired rights for all Latin America to “Chicuarotes” in an deal announced last September. Cinépolis Distribución will open “Chicuarotes” Mexico on June 28.

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La corriente del golfo