Press 22 APR 2019

Cannes: 2 films from French-speaking Belgium in Critics' Week

Monday 22 April saw the press conference for Cannes Critics' Week. The selection includes two films from French-speaking Belgium. 

The parallel section of the Festival, Cannes Critics' Week is hosting two Belgian films this year: Nuestras Madres, a feature film by César Diaz, and Lucia en el limbo, a short film by Valentina Maurel.

Produced by Need Productions, Nuestras Madres is set in Guatemala in 2018. The country is living through the trials of the military leaders responsible for the civil war. Victims are queuing up to testify. Ernesto, a young anthropologist at the forensic anthropology foundation, works to identify the disappeared. One day, Ernesto discovers a clue in an old woman's statement that he thinks could help him track down his father, a guerilla who disappeared during the war. Against his mother's advice, he dives head first into the case in search of truth and resilience.

The film was made with funding from the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel (development and production support), Proximus, Eurimages, the Aide aux Cinémas du Monde fund operated by the Centre National du Cinéma et de l'Image Animée and the Institut Français, Inver Tax Shelter, the Belgian federal government's Tax Shelter and SACEM.

César Diaz was born in Guatemala in 1978. After studying in Mexico and Belgium, he joined the FEMIS screenwriting workshop in Paris. He has edited fiction and documentary films for over ten years. He has also directed short documentary films: Semillas de Cenizas, presented at about twenty international festivals, and Territorio Liberado, winner of the IMCINE prize in Mexico. Nuestras Madres is his first fictional feature film.

Another film presented at Critics' Week is the short film Lucia en el Limbo by Valentina Maurel.

Aged 16, Lucia still has head lice, has never had her period and is the last remaining virgin in her class. Her best friend wants to help her meet a boy, so that she can finally be a bit more "normal". But Lucia is stubborn. She wants to solve her problem by herself. If necessary, pushing her way through abruptly into adulthood.

Produced by Wrong Men, the film was made as a co-production with Geko Films and Pacifica Grey, with funding from the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel and the participation of the Centre National du Cinéma et de l'Image Animée (pre-production and production support) and Arte France.

Valentina Maurel was born in 1988 in Costa Rica. She studied film at INSAS in Belgium. In 2017, her graduation short film, Paul est là, won the Cinéfondation first prize at Cannes before being selected by about twenty festivals. Two years later, Lucia en el limbo has been selected for Critics' Week. Valentina is currently writing her first feature film.

Finally, Vivarium by the Irish director Lorcan Finnegan, co-produced in Belgium by the Liège company Frakas Productions, will also be part of Critics' Week.

The film tells the story of a young couple in search of a starter home who follow a mysterious estate agent and get trapped in a strange housing development.

Vivarium is an Irish, Belgian and Danish co-production with the support of Wallimage, Irish Film Board, Media, XYZ, Section 481, Casa Kafka Pictures, BeTv and the Danish Film Institute. Since its creation by the Syndicat Français de la Critique de Cinéma in 1962, Critics' Week, a parallel section of the Cannes Film Festival, has dedicated itself to discovering young film talents and promoting their first and second feature films.

Jacques Audiard, Alejandro González Iñarritu, Ken Loach, François Ozon, Wong Kar Wai and, more recently, César Augusto Acevedo, Julia Ducournau, David R Mitchell, Santiago Mitre, Jeff Nichols and Rebecca Zlotowski were all revealed to the world at Critics' Week.