Paris-based sales agency Luxbox has added sales to the U.K., Australia and Brazil to previous deals with the U.S. and France on Directors’ Fortnight title “Clara Sola,” making good on its upbeat critical reception at the Cannes Festival this month.
London-based Peccadillo Pictures has acquired U.K. rights. Sydney’s Rialto Distribution, has scooped rights to Australia; Brazil’s Imovision, another classic arthouse distributor, has secured those to Brazil. Turkey (Bir Film) and Switzerland (Trigon) have also closed, Luxbox partner Fiorella Morretti told Variety.
At Cannes, Luxbox confirmed that Epicentre had picked up rights to France while Oscilloscope Laboratories swooped on rights to North America after the film’s world premiere.
One of a brace of features from young Latin American female directors selected for Cannes, like Mexican Tatiana Huezo’s “Prayers for the Stolen,” in Un Certain Regard, and Brazilian Anita Rocha da Silveira’s “Medusa,” in Directors’ Fortnight, “Clara Sola” captures the social subjugation of the region by focusing on the sexual oppression of women.
Set in a rural corner of Costa Rica, way off the beaten track, “Clara Sola” layers social reality with seeming magic realism and a deep sensuality. Clara, now 40, played by dancer Wendy Chinchilla Araya, has been kept cooped up on her small family farm by her despotic mother who claims Clara has a through-line to the Virgin Mary and makes her perform ritual healing sessions, which prove a nice money-turner.
Whether Clara really has special powers, or merely a deep understanding of the miracles of nature, is a moot question. What’s certain is that when her 15-year-old niece Maria (Ana Julia Porras Espinoza) gets a boyfriend, Santiago (Daniel Castañeda Rincón), Clara experiences a sexual awakening which stokes a finally full-blooded rebellion towards the conservative conventions which have entrapped her.
“I’m interested in how religion helped to form and reproduce gender roles that aren’t healthy. I’m particularly intrigued by these patriarchal norms and discourses being inherited from generation to generation and disguised as traditions, even in homes where no men are present,” said Alvarez Mesén.
“In the middle of this wild Costa Rican nature, Nathalie Alvarez Mesén succeeds in portraying the warm and wise soul of Clara, perfectly unbodied by the graceful dancer Wendy Chinchilla Araya. For the first buyers , it was an obvious and easy decision to make as [they felt] the necessity to take this film as far as it can travel,” added Morretti and Luxbox partner Hédi Zardi.
Powered by remarkable performances by its non-pro leads, “Clara Sola” is written by Alvarez Mesén and Colombia’s Maria Camila Arias whose brief but distinguished C.V. in film — Jhonny Hendrix’s “Candelaria,” Ciro Guerra’s “Birds of Passage,” Matias Meyer’s “Modern Loves” — marks her out as one of the rising stars of Latin American screenwriters.
“Clara Sola” is produced by Sweden’s Hobab with Belgium’s Need Productions, U.S.-based Resolve Media, Costa Rica’s Pacifica Grey, the Film Capital Stockholm Fund and Germany’s Laïdak Films, with the typical multi-lateral production backing which distinguishes many standout recent Latin American films.