Fast emerging as a go-to company for high-profile Chilean and women director titles, Buenos Aires boutique agency Meikincine has swooped on “My Brothers Dream Awake,” ahead of its world premiere at Switzerland’s Locarno Festival on Saturday.
Competing in Cineasti del Presente, a section reserved for emerging filmmakers from around the world, “My Brothers Dream Awake” marks the second feature outing for young Chilean Mapuche cineaste Claudia Huaiquimilla, who burst onto the scene with 2016’s “Bad Influence,” establishing herself as a voice of abused minorities.
Written by Huaiquimilla and Pablo Greene, the film shares this sensibility. Dedicated – at least in a rough cut seen at Ventana Sur – to the 1,313 inmates who have died at youth detention centers in Chile, the film earliest stretches turn on Angel and younger brother Franco, incarcerated in a youth penitentiary for a year, pending trial. They now have friends, Angel even a puppy love attachment to a girl inmate, and spend much of the time sharing dreams of freedom.
Franco wants to play for F.C. Barcelona. But he take bad his mother’s failure to visit him and is abused by prison staff. When a rebel inmate arrives who stands up to the guards, and Angel begins to fear for his sanity, an engaging youth drama builds as a jailbreak thriller with a dramatic finale.
Produced by Greene and Mariana Tejos Martignoni, the film’s cast includes Iván Cáceres, César Herrera, Andrew Bargsted, Julia Lübbert, Sebastián Ayala, René Miranda, Luz Jiménez, Ariel Mateluna, Claudio Arredondo and Belén Herrera. Paulina García, a Berlin best actress winner for “Gloria,” plays the role of a kindly teacher.
“One of cinema’s most powerful tools is to grant privileged access to the sentiments of someone far different to the spectator, to generate empathy and tear down prejudice,” Huaiquimilla said. “I hope that audiences note how a new family, humor and love can emerge in the least expected places,” she added.
“My Brothers Dream Awake” went into production as Chile awoke with its Estallido Social protest movement. It wrapped as it fell ill with the pandemic, noted Greene.
“It was a tough shoot but we’re very happy. The premiere can be a little light of hope for Chile’s culture scene, a sign that we are slowly returning to normality, that Chilean cinema is more alive than ever,” he added.
“This is an imposing film in many aspects, and also a necessary one,” Meikincine founder Lucía Meik observed.
More recent Meikincine sales titles include Paula Hernández’s “Sleepwalkers,” Argentina’s Oscar submission this year; Chilean box office smash hit “Jailbreak Pact”; and “The Strong Ones,” the international feature debut breakout from writer-director Omar Zuñiga.