Elio Quiroga adapting La estrategia del pequinés for the big screen
by Alfonso Rivera
- The filmmaker shot his film adaptation of the crime novel by fellow Canary Islander Alexis Ravelo during May and June
Boasting a cast toplined by Basque actor Unax Ugalde and Canary Islander Kira Miró, the new movie by writer-director Elio Quiroga, the man behind Fotos – an indescribable film that enraptured none other than Quentin Tarantino when it was screened at the Sitges Film Festival in 1996 – was filmed over eight weeks last spring on the island of Gran Canaria. The movie in question is La estrategia del pequinés (lit. “The Pekingese’s Strategy”), a film adaptation of Alexis Ravelo’s 2013 novel of the same name, which is now in post-production. The cast is rounded off by actors Jorge Bosch, Enrique Alcides, Luis Zahera, Pep Jové, Ismael Fritschi and Luifer Rodríguez.
The film, the screenplay for which was written by the director and David Muñoz (The Devil’s Backbone), tells the story of El Rubio (played by Bosch), a man with a criminal past who sinks back into the underworld as he seeks the perfect job to fulfil one single objective: to rob a drug baron’s front man and obtain the money he needs to pay for the costly medical treatment required by his sick wife, Estela (opera singer Ruth González, who also performed in Quiroga’s short film Sirena negra, shot in 2015).
Along the way, and after elaborating on a plan suggested by drug dealer Júnior, he convinces Tito El Palmera (a friend of his who has been unemployed for way too many years, played by Ugalde) and Cora (a high-class prostitute, played by Miró) to join in with the robbery. This will be the starting point for a journey through the dark underbelly of Las Palmas, which leaves a trail of blood, corruption, power and death in its wake.
When Cineuropa chatted to Quiroga, he told us that he read the original book “in around 2014, and it was extremely interesting because it set a crime story in the city that we both had in common: Las Palmas. And so with the movie, I’ll be unfurling a dark and non-clichéd vision of the Canary Islands, a far cry from your average picture postcard: it will present the other side of the paradisiacal coin. Although it will have my own personal hallmark, La estrategia… marks another change of direction in my career, tackling crime and drama from another kind of standpoint, but with lashings of comedy.”
La estrategia del pequinés is being staged by Ian Stewart Producciones Cinematográficas (Seis puntos sobre Emma [+see also:
film profile]) and Zanzíbar Producciones Audiovisuales (The Dark Hour [+see also:
film profile]), and it saw the cooperation of RTVE, Televisión Canaria and the Council of Gran Canaria. Its distribution, which is likely to start in December, will be entrusted to Vercine. Guardian Entertainment will be its sales agent.
(Translated from Spanish)
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