M-Appeal has acquired world sales rights to “Greta,” the feature debut of Brazil’s Armando Praça which will world premiere in this year’s Berlinale Panorama section.
The Berlin-based film industry has also dropped an international trailer, to which Variety has had exclusive access.
Produced by Carnaval Filmes, whose credit include major titles by Marcelo Gomes, one of Brazil’s most prominent directors (“The Man of The Crowd“, “I Travel Because I Have to, I Come Back Because I Love You“, “Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures“), “Greta” turns on Pedro, a 70-year-old gay hospital nurse. The film begins with his attempting to care for his best friend, Daniela, a transgender cabaret singer who refuses further treatment for terminal kidney failure.
Pedro vacates a hospital bed for Daniela by helping Jean, wounded and under arrest for manslaughter, to escape from hospital arrest. Hiding Jean in his apartment, Pedro begins an unlikely affair with the much younger man.
“Greta” begins with Pedro wiping off his mascara as he climbs into an ambulance to accompany Daniela to hospital. His bonding – especially Jean’s affection and respect for him, helps Pedro accept his gay self and female persona – Greta Garbo.
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“Greta” depicts a queer, inter-generational Brazil, and a little filmed marginalized world of cabarets and sex saunas of Fortaleza, in North-East Brazil.
A tardy coming of age drama, “Greta” also turns on solitude. “I am interested in looking at these marginalized characters with affection, foregrounding one of the great questions for humanity: Loneliness,” director Praça said.
He added: “No matter what we do, how many people we meet in life, nothing changes the fact that being alive will always be a solitary experience.”
But Pedro’s relationship with Jean fortifies his ability to bear physical solitude.
“Greta” stars veteran comedy actor Marco Nanini, a well-known face of Brazilian theatre, television and cinema. Questioning binary thinking, M-Appeal proudly noted in a statement Thursday, Praça cast Denise Weinberg, a cis-gender actress, as Daniela and trans actress Gretta Sttar to portray Meire, a cis-gender woman.
Also written by Praça, “Greta” marks M-Appeal’s fourth title from a young Brazilian director in the last two years. It follows on “Hard Paint,” winner last year of a Berlinale Teddy Award for Best Queer Feature Film and a CICAE Prize, and “Body Electric,“ honored with best feature film direction at the 2018 Zinegoak Bilbao Intl. LGBT Film Festival.
A third title, a horror movie packing a searing, if often comic, put-down of Brazil’s political elite, “The Cannibal Club“ won best feature and Director at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival last year.
“The Cannibal Club” was also a large sales hit, closing North America, Germany, Austria, the U.K., Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Eastern Europe, a sign of a resilient market for small upscale titles, especially when charged with both genre beats and more arthouse-style social commentary.