×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Argentina’s Juan Villegas on ‘Las Vegas,’ Featuring at Cannes’ ACID

CANNES – Buenos Aires’ director-producer Juan Villegas presented his debut “Saturday” at the Venice Festival and won awards at the Rotterdam and Sarajevo film festivals. “Suicidals” screened at San Sebastián. “Idleness,” his third feature, co-directed with Alejando Lingenti, screened at the Berinale.

Produced by Felicitas Raffo and Pamela Livia at Argentina’s Cepa Audiovisual and director production outfit Tresmilmundos Cine, Villegas’ last feature “Las Vegas,” a naturalistic indie comedy, forms part of an Argentina focus at ACID Trip #3– organized by France’s Association for the Diffusion of Independent Cinema (ACID) in partnership with the PCI (Association of Argentinian Film Directors) at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

“Las Vegas” revolves around the accidental encounter of a separated couple with their son. This unchains a quietly comic entanglement… Tell me a bit about the story…

I was interested in expressing the conflicts at two different stages of life: of those who are reaching 40 years of age and those reaching 20. And the idea occurred to me of a separated couple, who had a son when they were very young— the same age the son is now. And from there, a reflection on the passage of time, acceptance of adulthood and parenthood.

It’s a comedy with some classic elements mixed with others indie touches  and even documentary overtones…

It’s a comedy and I say so without shame or disparagement. On the contrary, several of my favorite films of all time are comedies. But my taste is also mixed with other traditions – the Nouvelle Vague, post-war modern European cinema… – and I think that this is in the film. I was interested in showcasing the documentary reality of the city (Villa Gesell) and this building (Las Vegas). Without ever losing the notion of rhythm and timing, which seems to me to be fundamental in comedy, the film shows a real space without embellishing it artificially.

What are your international expectations with “Las Vegas”?

The film was very well received in Argentina, and I hope that this screening in the ACID section of Cannes helps it to be invited to other festivals across the world and achieve international distribution. The film has a direct humor, drawn from situations that arise from universal subjects, with which I believe many can identify.

Could you place the film in the context of the state of cinema production in Argentina?

These last few years have been difficult, especially for mid-sized productions and funding for an art-house audience. It’s increasingly difficult to finance and sustain this kind of production, and I see this as a grave problem. It doesn’t have to do specifically with the Argentina’s INCAA National Film Institute, but instead a context of change in the way audiences consume cinema, the hiking of production costs and difficulty to access international funding, which is fundamental for these kinds of films. But I’m an optimist. Argentinian cinema is fortunately highly diverse, and we know how to respond to moments of crisis.

Could you talk about your current projects?

I’m finishing a documentary, “Works and Days,” about the mounting of a musical at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires,  centered on the work of those who make it possible for the work to happen. And I’m working on a cop movie, “Neighbors Die on the Novels. Our production house Tresmilmundos Cine is in pre-production on Celina Murga’s new film, with Dolores Fonzi as the lead, “The Smell of Freshly Cut Grass.” It’s a drama tapping into the phenomenon of the feminist wave that’s produced a cultural revolution, at least in Argentina, over the last two years, and seeks to reflect on masculine and feminine roles in our society. Lastly, we’re developing a documentary series about the 1978 soccer World Cup which was held in Argentina.

CREDIT: Photographer: Xose Bouzas

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Gully Boy to represent India in

    'Gully Boy' to Represent India In Oscars Race

    The Film Federation of India has chosen Zoya Akhtar’s “Gully Boy” as its entry in the Academy Awards’ international feature film category. The picture, a coming of age tale about an aspiring rapper in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum premiered at the Berlin film festival in February before opening to a wave of acclaim at home in [...]

  • Lucy-Lost

    Cartoon Forum: 30th Anniversary, Little Giants and New Generations

    TOULOUSE, France –  Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Cartoon Forum wrapped Sept. 19 having showcased the ever-growing strength of European animation. 85 projects were pitched from 24 countries at the co-production forum platform that played host to north of 1,000 investors, distributors and producers – a record number. Falling on French-speaking Belgium – Wallonie-Bruxelles – whose [...]

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • 'Downton Abbey' Music Gets 'Bigger, Better,

    As 'Downton Abbey' Hits the Silver Screen, the Music, Too, Gets 'Bigger, Better, Grander'

    When “Downton Abbey” fans hear that familiar strings-and-piano theme, a Pavlovian response ensues: Get to the television immediately, because you don’t want to miss a minute of the addictive Crawley family melodrama to follow. This week, with the “Downton Abbey” movie reaching theaters on Friday, fans can’t wait for their fix of Lady Mary and [...]

  • 45 Seconds of Laughter

    Film Review: '45 Seconds of Laughter'

    “Everyone is worth more than their worst act,” said Roman Catholic sister and anti-death penalty advocate Helen Prejean, and it’s with these words that “45 Seconds of Laughter” closes. It’s an apt sentiment on which to leave Tim Robbins’ sincerely felt documentary study of the therapeutic acting workshops run by his own theater company in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content