Oscar-nominated Rodrigo Sorogoyen (“Madre,” “Riot Police”) is set to direct rural thriller “As Bestas,” backed by a powerful alliance of of European companies.
Introduced to buyers at this week’s Cannes Marché du Film by its sales agent, Latido Films, “As Bestas” is produced by Jean Labadie’s Le Pacte in France, and in Spain Ibon Cormenzana’s Arcadia Motion Pictures and Caballo Films, Sorogoyen’s own label with Eduardo Villanueva.
Adolfo Blanco’s A Contracorriente Films handles distribution in Spain, with Le Pacte handling the release in France. “As Bestas” rolls in Galicia and León for nine weeks starting in September. It will be ready for delivery in May 2022.
Penned with Sorogoyen’s regular co-scribe Isabel Peña, “As Bestas” is set in Galicia, Spain, where a middle-aged French couple, Antoine and Olga, arrive to live in a local village, seeking greater closeness to nature. Their presence, however, inflames two locals, brothers Xan and Lorenzo, to the point of outright hostility and then shocking violence.
Inspired by a real case, “As Bestas” initially turns on violence and fear. But as the film focuses on Olga and her determination to stay, “a story of rural horror” becomes more like “a great love story,” Sorogoyen said, adding that he’d shoot “As Bestas” like a Western.
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“As Bestas,” as its title implies, also takes against the background of Galicia’s Rapas das bestas wild horse fairs, where locals wrestle wild horses to cut their manes and ride them.
Sorogoyen is “a master storyteller who embarks the audience on multi-layered character-driven stories with pure mise-en-scène and manages to adapt and change his directing style on each of his new movies, always challenging and reinventing himself,” said Le Pacte’s Thomas Pibarot. This “makes our partnership an absolute must-be and a definitive pleasure,” he added.
“As soon as we learned about ‘As Bestas,’ we were captivated by the enormous dimension to which Rodrigo Sorogoyen is taking such a visceral true story, within the framework of the amazing cinematography of the spectacular tradition of the Rapa das bestas, the annual dressage of wild horses in Galicia,” said A Contracorriente Films’ Blanco.
“After having worked with Rodrigo Sorogoyen on ‘Madre,’ re-teaming with a director of such tremendous talent is for us an exciting adventure,” said Cormenzana. “We’re confident about ‘As Bestas’ from the get-go, given the strength and savagery of the story which in Sorogoyen’s hands will transform into great film,” he added.
“As Bestas” is produced by Ibon Cormenzana, Ignasi Estapé y Sandra Tapia at Arcadia, Sorogoyen and Villanueva at Caballo and Pibarot, Jean Labadie and Anne-Laure Labadie at Le Pacte.
Le Pacte acquired Sorogoyen’s “May God Save Us,” co-produced “The Realm,” and partnered with Arcadia on “Madre.” Latido Films has sold “May God Save Us” and “The Realm.”