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Juan Andres Arango (Colombia's Oscar Contender 'La Playa D.C.') Preps Triptych 'X Quinientos'

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by Tambay A. Obenson
December 17, 2013 1:01 PM
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ArtMattan Films picked up and released Juan Andrés Arango's La Playa D.C., which ArtMattan is also Colombia's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award consideration this year, marking the country's 22nd submission for Oscar consideration. None of its entries has made the Academy's short list however, unfortunately.

Now director Arango is prepping his follow-up to that film, which will be titled X Quinientos, a film that tells the story of Alex, David and Aurora, three people who live on opposite ends of the American continent, but who are connected due to their incapacity to accept mourning, in order to move on with their lives.

Alex, is an Afro-Colombian teenager, who lives in Buenaventura, who creates an imaginary version of his life as a stowaway in the North, in order to justify the death of his brother and travelling companion. 

David is a Mazahua (indigenous people of Mexico) youngster who migrates from his town to Mexico City because he is incapable of dealing with his father’s death, when he realizes that the only way to face the discrimination indigenous people are subject to is by adopting a Punk personality as a protective armor. 

And finally Aurora is a woman of a Filipino origin who has lived in Montreal for 35 years, and who takes care of her teen grandchild, who comes to live with her after the death of her daughter. Aurora has to then try to adapt to her new life in the city, which contrasts to the image she originally had of it.

Further, the filmmaker states:

The 3 stories explore 3 different ways in which, as inhabitants of America, we create shells of ourselves to protect us from death, and to get closer to how we think others want to see us. The invisible conversation of desire and mourning with which people from America relate to each other, is the underlying theme and unifying thread of X Quinientos.

X Quinientos is a small village in the Yucatán state, in Mexico, by the way.

Yanick Letourneau’s Montreal-based Peripheria Productions and Jorge Andres Botero’s Septima Films will co-produce the project, which received development support from Quebec’s SODEC funding agency this year, plus Quebec Arts Council and Ibermedia

Producers are aiming for a fall 2014 shoot, on a $1.5 million budget, and a Cannes Film Festival world premiere in 2015.

In the meantime, Arango's feature debut, La Playa D.C. is currently in release. Visit distributor ArtMattan's website for distribution info.

The drama centers on Tomas, an Afro-Colombian teenager struggling with the difficulties of growing up in a city (Bogota) of racism against and exclusion of those who look like him; When his younger brother disappears, Tomas is forced to leave his home to look for him. With the help from his older brother Chaco, Tomas roams the city's streets, as his search becomes more of a journey in which he's forced to face his past, and to leave aside the influence of his brothers in order to find his own identity.

It's a quiet, contemplative coming-of-age drama that stars Luis Carlos Guevara as Tomas; Andrés Murillo plays younger brother Jairo, and Jairo James Solis plays older brother Chaco.

The film competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.

Both Nijla and I have seen the film and are high on it; read her review of it HERE, and read my reactions HERE.

Here's its trailer:


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