Frédéric Corvez’s Urban Distribution International, which is taking part in this week’s 23rd Rendez-vous With French Cinema international film market, is launching world sales on action drama “La Civil.” The film has been produced by Hans Everaert’s Menuetto with the assistance of a heavyweight team of arthouse filmmakers, including Palme d’Or winners Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Cristian Mungiu, also a Palme d’Or winner, and Michel Franco, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Venice with “New Order.”
The film, inspired by a true story, follows a mother Cielo, whose teenage daughter, Laura, is kidnapped in Northern Mexico. Despite ransoms being paid, Laura is not returned. When the authorities offer no support in the search, Cielo takes matters into her own hands and transforms from housewife into a vengeful militant.
The film, the first fiction feature film by Belgian-Romanian director Teodora Ana Mihai, wrapped principal photography at the end of December in the North Mexican Durango area. The script was written by Mihai and Mexican writer Habacuc Antonio De Rosario, based on independent research and inspired by the true story of Miriam Rodriguez. “We set out to shed a light on this reality, and doing so through the rare perspective of a female protagonist, which I believe gives the story its additional relevance and strength,” Mihai said.
Mihai was born in Romania, but moved to Belgium when she was a child, and later studied film in New York. Back in Belgium, she worked as a script supervisor and assistant director, and her documentary debut, “Waiting for August,” was awarded with more than 10 international prizes, including Karlovy Vary Film Festival’s documentary award, and was nominated at the European Film Awards.
Cielo is played by Arcelia Ramirez, known from the Cannes title “Such a Life” and the recent Sundance film “I Carry You With Me.” Alvaro Guerrero, best known for “Amores Perros” and “Eddie Raynolds and Los Angeles de Acero,” plays her husband Gustavo. Lieutenant Lamarque is played by Jorge A. Jimenez, known for “Narcos” and “From Dusk Till Dawn.” Ayélen Muzo plays the role of his sidekick Robles.
The film is a coproduction between Hans Everaert’s Menuetto (Belgium), Mihai’s One for the Road (Belgium), the Dardenne brothers’ Les Films du Fleuve (Belgium), and Cristian Mungiu’s Mobra Films (Romania). The executive production in Mexico was handled by Michel Franco’s Teorema. The project was developed with the assistance of Cannes Film Festival’s Cinéfondation and Torino Film Lab. It received support from Eurimages, the Flanders Audiovisual Fund in Belgium, the Centre du Cinema et de l’Audiovisuel in Belgium, and Romania’s CNC.
Cinéart will release the film in Belgium and The Netherlands.