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Fangoria.com has won first dibs on the teaser trailer for the upcoming Chilean political horror film MÚSICA LIBRE (“Free Music”), currently slotted for production in early 2011 by writer/director Francesc Morales. The filmmaker’s first film, HUMANIMAL, will be shopped at next week’s American Film Market. You can see the MÚSICA LIBRE preview below the jump, plus pics and comments from the director.
“The film is a political horror movie set in 1975, when the Chilean dictatorship was beginning,” says Morales about his unusual sophomore effort, which he’s also producing with Camilo Klein. “MÚSICA LIBRE was a popular dance television show of the mid-‘70s, and during this period Chile lived through one of its most radical socio-political changes. Due to the coup d’état, the state quickly passed from democracy to dictatorship. Yet MÚSICA LIBRE, which consisted of young people dancing popular tunes, became the most seen program by kids of those years. The movie is a fictional story inspired by true events. The TV show’s function was to entertain and distract a divided country, and the story focuses on how the dancers were forced to stay cheerful in front of the cameras.”
MÚSICA LIBRE takes place in 1975, a few years after the beginning of Chile’s infamous coup d’etat. Isabel, an average apolitical Chilean teen, is about to achieve her main goal in life: become a dancer on the hit TV program MÚSICA LIBRE. When Isabel heads to her audition, she witnesses the death of a pregnant girl by a government torturer. Isabel still wins a part on the show, but not helping the girl makes her dream become a nightmare that climaxes with the disappearance of her own father. From that point on, Isabel is chased by an anonymous murderer while forced to dance in front of the country with a perfect smile.
“MÚSICA LIBRE’s the first time in Chilean cinema that history is combined with horror,” Morales says. “The movie is a mix between a slasher, torture porn and a musical. It mixes elements from those three film genres to represent the chaos the leading lady lives, the grotesque crimes that were occurring during that era and the happiness the show engendered. As a group we feel this project is very relevant socially and can lead us to reflect on themes that haven’t been. Unlike the movies that have been made about the period in the last years, this movie focuses on the concerns of Chilean youth in a time where people weren’t able to be young.”
Morales and company felt an obligation to tell their story about the trauma suffered by their country under the brutal socialist regime of General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte. “The biggest motivation comes from a real fact: among the list of missing persons during the first years of Pinochet’s government was a pregnant 17-year-old girl. This leads us to a reflection about the different realities that were occurring among young people of the time. Our feature film revolves around Isabel, a young girl whose only desire is to be part of the TV dance show and how her life changes when she runs into a victim of a torturer.”
Morales knows the tragic background in his country’s history well, having toiled on another production that examined those dark years. “I started working on this script last year when I was attending a screenwriting workshop while I was serving as an assistant producer on POST MORTEM, which is a Chilean film that is set during the first days of the Chilean dictatorship. This year POST MORTEM became one of the best-reviewed films of the Venice Film Festival. While talking with many regular people during my research, I realized there were many unresolved issues with that period, yet every time I asked someone about the TV show, they smiled. I started developing a script for those people.”
Popular local actress María José Bello, who has already appeared in at least five Chilean TV series, will portray Isabel. Bello currently works as a talk show host. “María José Bello was the best choice for the role,” Morales says. “The character goes through so many changes and breaking points that only an amazing actress could portray that. Plus she has an elegancy and charisma that is very rare.”
MÚSICA LIBRE will be shot next year; currently the producers are traveling to the AFM to search for financing, as well as global distribution for Morales’ first feature film, HUMANIMAL. The latter is scheduled to premiere at the prestigious Habana Film Festival and will later be part of the festivals Fixion-Sars, Festival de Cine B and Festival de Cine de Viña del Mar, Latin America’s oldest movie fan gathering.
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