Laura Amelia Guzman, Israel Cardenas Drill Down on ‘Holy Beasts’

Variety | 2/9/2019 | John Hopewell
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BERLIN — “Holy Beasts” begins memorably with a shot of an inky sea, as black as death. Surveying it is Vera, played by Geraldine Chaplin, an actress who travels to the Dominican Republic to shoot the unfinished film of real-life Dominican director Jean-Louis Jorge, who died in 2000.

Vera is most probably dying. This will certainly be her last film, she tells its producer.”Holy Beasts” is a step up in scale for its directors, Laura Amelia Guzman and Israel Cardenas (“Cochochi,” “Sand Dollars”). Shot at the island’s Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios and extraordinarily plush Casa de Campo Resort, “Holy Beasts” records the bathetic happenstance of movie shoots, the tight budgets and schedules, the accidents, the conflict of creative will. Above all, however, the film turns on Vera who asks what matters and mattered in her life: Her answers, respectively, her grandson and Jean-Louis. Shooting his film may rescue not only Jean-Louis from oblivion but be, through her association with him, her gateway to immortality.

Geraldine - Chaplin - Udo - Kier - Luis

Starring Geraldine Chaplin, Udo Kier, Luis Ospina and Jaime Pina, “Holy Beasts” is produced by the Dominican Republic’s Gabriel Tineo at Batú Films (“Miriam Miente”), Lantica Media and Aurora Dominicana, Argentina’s Rei Cine, (“Zama,” “The Accused”) and Mexico’s Pimienta Films, represented by Nicolás Celis and Sandino Sarabia Vinay, a producer and associate producer on “Roma.”

Varety talked to Guzmán and Cárdenas as they prepared for the film’s world premiere in Panorama at the Berlinale.

Film - Scale - Terms - Production - Motives

This film is a step-up in scale in in terms of production for you. What were the motives?

Guzmán: We were a little tired of how we’d been producing films, and for years I had been investigating this guy, this filmmaker Jean-Louis Jorge. His films are a little extravagant. They try to imitate, or pay tribute to, classic Hollywood cinema.

Film - Advantage

The film also takes advantage of the extraordinary...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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