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Buenos Aires-based Compañía de Cine has swooped on sales rights to “Mostro,” a trenchant take on one consequence of violence in Mexico: Its thousands of women who suddenly join the ranks of Mexico’s “disappeared.”

The boutique sales company is introducing the feature to buyers at this week’s Locarno Film Festival where it world premiered Wednesday in the Swiss Fest’s Cineasti del Presente section.

The first feature of Mexico’s José Pablo Escamilla, part of Mexico’s La Colmena Collective, who also wrote the screenplay, “Mostro” is a love story, turning on Alexandra and Lucas, two teen factory workers who spend theater afternoons consuming chemical substances in a shack they’ve constructed. The euphoria and visions the drugs prompt allows fleeting escape from their noisy industrial city life.

Then, suddenly, Alexandra disappears before Lucas’ very eyes.  The film unspools over the following 24 hours, which are crucial for finding her, as Lucas searches for Alexandra and wakes up to how the world really works.

Some 25% of Mexico’s disappeared in the last 12 months have been women, according to official statistics, Escamilla notes. “Our country has failed to provide the justice needed for all people, especially women, the poor and least privileged,” he argues.  “Their lives seem to be ghosts, their disappearances too.”

“With ‘Mostro,’ we were struck by the sensitivity and freshness brought to such a serious subject worthy of protest, the disappearance of women in Mexico, whose treatment never falls into cliché,” Compañía de Cine said in a statement made to Variety.

It added: “We were surprised by the film’s visual richness, the sensorial experimentation which it shows relating a contemporary love story that hits hard but also engages us aesthetically and ethically.”

Described as “Mexican capitalist realism,” a coming of age drama and as experimental, Mostro is produced by Diandra Arriaga, and Escamilla.

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Mostro Courtesy of Compañia de Cine