Bayona's The Orphanage competing for Caméra d'Or
by Vitor Pinto
Catalan-born director Juan Antonio Bayona will attend the 46th Cannes Film Festival International Critics' Week (May 17-25) to present The Orphanage [+see also:
film profile]. The horror film, in competition for the Caméra d'Or, marks Bayona's debut feature after a career built on music videos and shorts films (Mil vacaciones, El hombre esponja).
Scripted by Segio G. Sánchez, The Orphanage tells the story of a woman who wants to restore and reopen the orphanage where she spent her youth. The long abandoned house awakens the imagination of her son, who finds himself an invisible friend.
The horror formula combining spooky households and ghosts is as classical as it is effective and attracted the attention of Bayona's long-time friend Guillermo del Toro. The Mexican director embraced the project and ultimately became one of its producers through his Spanish company Rodar y Rodar.
Private broadcaster Telecinco's production arm Estudios Picasso – which was behind Del Toro's multiple award-winning Pan's Labyrinth [+see also:
film profile] – also boarded the project, which stars Belén Rueda (Mar Adentro [+see also:
film profile]), Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep and Geraldine Chaplin.
The "Very Special" screening of The Orphanage in Cannes will take place three months after an unexpected business splash at the Berlinale market, where Wild Bunch sold it to ten territories, including the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia and Latin America.
After picking up the Jury's Special Mention award at the latest Malaga Spanish Film Festival, Rafa Cortés' Yo is also screening in the International Critics' Week. The story of a man struggling to prove his innocence in a case in which, paradoxically, he is not a suspect was produced by Fausto Producciones and La Periférica Productions. International sales are managed by Paris-based Rezo Films.
The Spanish contingent is rounded out by Buenos Aires-born director Lucía Puenzo’s XXY. The plot, centred on a hermaphrodite teenager and his/her sexual awakening, was produced by Argentina's Historias Cinematográficas in collaboration with Spain's Wanda Vision and France's Pyramide, who is also handling international sales.
The three titles join Jaime Rosales' female-driven melodrama La Soledad (Un Certain Regard, see news), which was until yesterday the only domestic title screening at the festival’s 60th edition.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.