Mexico’s El Relicario, whose “El rostro cubierto de besos” screened at Cannes Critics’ Week in its 2023 Morelia showcase, has boarded Ximena Valdivia’s Malaga Festival winner “4Eber,” a movie melding the modern teen dance scene in Cusco and ancient and contemporary fantasy and mythology.
Written by Valdivia and Costa Rica’s Luisa Mora Fernández, a co-scribe on Mexican Kim Torres’ Cannes Festival-selected short “Luz Nocturna,” “4Eber” is now produced by Valdivia’s and El Relicario’s Mariano Rentería and Jorge Diez, in the first international feature co-production outing for the Morelia-based outfit.
To be presented at next week’s Sanfic Industria Lab-Fiction, which runs Aug. 23-26, “4Eber” captures a swelling movement in Latin America to abandon social realism for other mixed genre styles offering an alternative take on Latin America, its past and present, which is far more sensitive to the region and the director’s own roots.
Now in advanced development, it turns on Eber, a young techno dancer, who emerges at the turn of the millennium as a new Andean myth. According Ito the synopsis, he finds his battlefield on the dance floor and discovers his true destiny: to become the new God of Lightning.
“‘4Eber’ is an Andean-futurist tale about teenagers seeking transcendence through dance and electronic music,” Valdivia has told Variety.
She added: “The film departs from the prevailing realism in Latin American cinema to explore the aesthetic and fantastic possibilities of contemporary and ancestral mythologies coexisting in the modernity of Cusco, in the southern Andes of Peru, and perhaps in the indigenous world of Latin America as a whole.”
A teaser shows four teen friends at a monumental construction high on the hills above a city dancing break to what sounds like a psy trance music as a voiceover whispers in Quechua “We have come to the immense city of Lords, and we are stirring it up, reaching it, penetrating it with our enduring hearts, with our enduring joy…..We must somehow wash away the guilt sedimented for centuries on this corrupted head of the false wiracochas,” the voiceover ends with a reference to Peru’s Spanish conquerors.
To be shot in Peru, Bolivia and México, “4Eber” won an alternative production incentive from Peru’s Ministry of Culture. It was introduced at Locarno’s 2022 Open Doors, and won a Sanfic Award at this year’s Malaga MAFF forum, consisting in an invitation to pitch at Sanfic Lab, a platform for new features and a massive new talent spread.
“4Eber” follows up Valdivia’s feature debut, “Lima Screams,” which played the 2019 Sheffield Doc Fest. Co-directed with Dana Bonilla, the “highly sensory and hypnotic doc,” whose “chaotic music intoxicates the tumultuous urban landscape of the Peruvian capital” received four stars out of five from Dirty Movies, rating it as a “Dirty Gem.” It was broadcast on 17 free-to-air networks across Latin America, said Valdivia who told Variety her interests are in Andean futurism and a lo-fi aesthetic.
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