‘The People Upstairs,’ ‘Cross The Line,’ ‘A Perfect Enemy’ Headline Cannes’ Upcoming Catalan Films

The People Upstairs
Courtesy of Catalan Films

Cesc Gay’s “The People Upstairs,” David Victori’s “Cross the Line,” Kike Maíllo’s “A Perfect Enemy” and David Matamoros and Ángeles Hernández’s “Isaac” are among a robust 11-feature pack offered by Upcoming Catalan Films at Cannes’ online Marché du Film.

An acclaimed Catalan director of dramedy focused on middle-aged, urban, often lost characters, in “The People Upstairs” Gay (“Truman”) depicts an ordinary situation— a couple having dinner with neighbors — in which a friendly time together gradually slips towards emotional upheaval.

Mario Casas-starrer “Cross the Line” is director David Victori’s (“The Pact”) second feature.  A one-night thriller, it follows a more or less good guy dedicated to taking care of his sick father who, after his dad passes, decides to get his life back on track. In the process, he “asks questions of himself he never imagined he would,” Victori explains.

“A Perfect Enemy” is the newest thriller from Kike Maíllo (“Eva,” “Toro”). Based on Belgian Amelie Nothomb’s bestselling novel “The Enemy’s Cosmetique,” the feature is co-produced by Spain’s Sábado Películas, France’s The Project Film Club and Germany’s Barry Films. Starring Tomasz Kot (“Cold War”) and Athena Strates (“The Good Liar”), the filmmaker describes it as the story of “two strangers meeting in an airport waiting room who start a non-coincidental conversation.”

Formerly producers at Zentropa Spain, David Matamoros and Ángeles Hernández now have their own company, Mr. Miyagi Films, where their directorial debut “Isaac” is produced. The film turns on two friends who meet up after sixteen years apart, but as different people from who they once were. “‘Isaac’ explores the idea that the concept of family is defined by its members, not society,” says Matamoros.

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Cross the Line Courtesy of Catalan Films

The assemblage of teasers samples the multi-colored palette of Catalan cinema, highlighting one of its best-known traits, diversity. The showcase includes four thrillers, three dramas, one animated feature, a comedy, a dramedy and one creative documentary.

In “Courage” Rubén Rojo offers a “cinematic family catharsis,” in his own words, as the two lead characters are his own mother and brother. An intense drama, it follows an actress in her 70s, going blind, who is concerned about her position at the theatre company where she works, and her 50-year son who has just returned home.

Produced by Matriuska and Avalon in co-production with Isabel Coixet at Miss Wasabi,  “What Have We Done Wrong ” is the sophomore feature from Liliana Torres (“Family Tour”). An unprejudiced dramedy on the commitment and durability of couples, “’Family Tour’ was a revelation for me,” Coixet said at the time.

Catalan auteur Ventura Durall says of his “The Offering” : “It’s a sentimental, psychological thriller in which violence rips from the inner ghosts of each character.” Produced by Moonrise Pictures and Nanouk Films, the film’s narrative follows a mysterious character with deep-seated guilt who tries to win back a former partner thirty years after their separation.

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The Offering Courtesy of Catalan Films

Selected for the finally canceled SXSW, Javier Polo’s “The Mystery of the Pink Flamingo” plumbs his characters’ pursuit of happiness through a offbeat examination of the pink flamingo as an icon of kitsch culture. It’s a “U.S. road trip towards self-discovery through music, cinema, art and interviews with figures like John Waters among others,” Japónica Films producer Gerard Rodríguez explains.

“The Barcelona Vampiress,” a long in the works project from director Lluís Danés (“Laia”) and producers Brutal Media and Filmax, has finally been finished. A period drama with hints of genre, “Vampiress” explores a historical episode from last century Barcelona’s when the city  boasted a bourgeois, modernist facade and an underbelly of poverty and squalor.

More vampires in the lineup, Igor Legarreta’s “All the Moons” is set during the Carlist Wars of 19th century Spain. An orphan girl is rescued by a possible angel who gives the gift of immortality in the form of vampirism. It’s produced by Arcadia Motion Pictures, Kowalski Films, Pris & Batty and France’s Noodles Production.

An official entry into the animation section at Cannes, “Josep” is the much-awaited feature debut of French cartoonist Aurélien Froment. Produced by French Les Film d’Ici and Catalonia’s Imagic Telecom, “Josep” follows the eventful life of Josep Bartoli, a Catalan illustrator and former soldier who escaped a French internment camp after the Spanish Civil War, was a lover of Frida Kahlo and eventually a Hollywood blacklist victim.

Nine projects already have sales agents attached with the others currently looking for them. Backed by Catalan promotion board Catalan Films, the session will run June 23-25.

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Josep Credit: Les Films d’Ici

Upcoming Catalan Films at the Marché

“All the Moons,” (Igor Legarreta, Filmax, Arcadia Motion Pictures) Sales: Filmax

“A Perfect Enemy,” (Kike Maíllo, Sábado Películas) Sales: Pulsar Content

“Courage,” (Rubén Rojo, Mago Production, Apapacho Films)

“Cross the Line,” (David Victori, Filmax) Sales: Filmax

“Isaac,” (Ángeles Hernández & David Matamoros, Mr. Miyagi) Sales: Alief

“Josep,”Aurel (The Party, Imagic) Sales: The Party Film Sales

“The Barcelona Vampiress,” (Lluís Danés, Filmax, Brutal Media) Sales: Filmax

“The Mystery Of the Pink Flamingo,” (Javier Polo, The Party, Japónica Films) Sales: The Party Film Sales

“The Offering,” (Ventura Durall, Moonrise Pictures, Nanouk Films) Sales: Moonrise Pictures

“The People Upstairs,” (Cesc Gay, Filmax, Imposible Films) Sales: Filmax

“What Have We Done Wrong,” (Liliana Torres, Miss Wasabi, Avalon, Matriuska Films)

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A Perfect Enemy Courtesy of Sábado Películas