“Island City,” the latest film from “Lower City” director Sérgio Machado, has been acquired for international sales by Edward Noeltner’s Beverly Hills-based Cinema Management Group. Given a current absence of Brazilian movies selected for the Cannes Festival, the acquisition gives CMG one of the most awaited of titles coming out of Brazil this year.
It also marks latest title from Brazilian production powerhouse Gullane, whose credits include Cannes Competition players – Hector Babenco’s “Carandiru,” Marco Bellocchio’s “The Traitor” – as well as Sundance winners, such as Anna Muylaert’s “The Second Mother,” and Berlin Panorama laureates, such as Luis Bolognesi’s “The Last Forest.”
Exploring the foibles and failure of manhood, also the focus of “Lower City,” “Inner City” tells what CMG describes as the “captivating” tale of three brothers who end up living under the same roof as middle brother Dalberto’s sensual new wife, Anaira (Sophie Charlotte).
When Dalberto (Daniel de Oliveira) has to leave, transporting a mysterious passenger up the Amazon to Peru, a despondent Anaira seeks comfort in the company of other brothers Armando (Gabriel Leone) and Dalmo (Romulo Braga). This leads to what the synopsis calls “a complex situation of passion and deceit.”
Based on a story by Brazilian contemporary writer Milton Hatoum, a three-time winner of Brazil’s Jabuti Prize, its longest-running literary award, “Island City” swept the board at 2020 pix-in-post competition Copia Final, part of Ventana Sur, Latin America’s biggest film market, winning all the plaudits on offer.
CMG has been tracking the project all through production and post-production and closed a deal with the producers ahead of Cannes, said Noeltner.
A contemporary of Karim Aïnouz, co-writing Walter Salles’ 2001 “Behind the Sun” and Ainouz’s first feature “Madame Sata,” Machado broke out with his own solo fiction feature debut, “Lower City,” produced by Salles and starring “Queen of the South’s” Alice Braga and “Narcos’” Wagner Moura. It world premiered at Cannes Un Certain Regard, receiving the Youth Award.
Machado also directed “The Violin Teacher,” the 2015 Locarno Piazza Grande closing film, and the Amazon Prime, Turner Broadcasting miniseries “The Freitas Brothers,” both produced by Gullane.
“‘Island City’ is a contrast in passions, both suppressed and realized, honesty and deception, city life and the seemingly unending water ways of the beautiful Amazon,” said Machado.
“Dalberto and Anaira are like Adam and Eve in that their passion and love for each other is pure. But then come the temptations and complications of ‘civilization’ which ultimately is not civilized at all, corrupting the nature of man and woman,” he added.
“Sérgio gives us an amazingly captivating, new feature film,” said CMG President, Edward Noeltner. “All the cast’s performances are deeply felt, and their characters are all hugely relatable, making this story set in the Amazon accessible to a worldwide audience that seeks quality cinema. We couldn’t be more excited to be introducing Island City to buyers in Cannes next month.”
“Having worked with CMG on Gullane and Symbiosys’ upcoming animated feature ‘Noah’s Ark – A Musical Adventure,’ we are thrilled to have CMG working with us to bring ‘Island City’ to the world’s best theatrical distributors at Cannes,” said Gullane partner Fabiano Gullane.