Talented young Argentinian director Ariel Rotter premiered his first feature, Just For Today (Solo Por Hoy), at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2001.
The Wong Kar-wai-influenced film quickly became a festival hit, won a string of local awards, and Rotter prepared to shoot his next feature, The Other.
Financing problems set in, however, and The Other was held up, finally surfacing in competition at Berlin this year, with German and French co-producers as well as a slew of film funds chipping in.
Argentinian producer Veronica Cura's Aquafilms (Garage Olimpo, Whisky Romeo Zulu, Live-in Maid) rescued the project, which Rotter wrote, directed and also produced. Paris-based Celluloid Dreams and Germany's Selavy Filmproduktion also boarded the $516,000 project (along with help from the Hubert Bals Fund, World Cinema, Vision Sudest, Fonds Sud and the local film institute Incaa). Celluloid is handling world sales.
Now 33, Rotter hopes The Other will mark a triumphant return to the world-cinema stage with the story of a man (played by The Bodyguard's Julio Chavez) who, on being informed of his impending fatherhood, decides to take on a new identity. Rotter describes the film as "an essay on masculine desire and the decadence of the body".
"A one-day business trip to the country becomes another journey," explains the director. "On reaching his destination, Juan Desouza (Chavez) discovers that his travelling companion is dead. Secretly, he decides to adopt the dead man's identity, inventing a profession for himself, finding a place to stay - (examining) the possibility of not returning. Thus he undertakes, without knowing it, an adventure into nature, into the rediscovery of his tastes, his basic instincts, trying to grasp the idea that the life dealt out for him, and which he chose to live, is not the only one possible."
"It's a simple script, a sensitive story with great storytelling, natural acting and attractive cinematography," explains Cura, who this year is also co-producing Lucrecia Martel's The Headless Woman, Jorge Gaggero's Dog Security and Enrique Pineyro's Bye Bye Life, a documentary about the last days of writer and photographer Gabriela Liffschitz.
The Other will be shown at the Buenos Aires Film Festival before going on general release.
THE OTHER (EL OTRO)
A man faced with impending fatherhood adopts a new identity.
Production companies: Aquafilms, AireCine, Celluloid Dreams, Selavy Filmproduktion.
Backers: Hubert Bals, World Cinema Fund, Vision Sudest Fund, Fonds Sud, Incaa (Argentina's film institute).
International sales: Celluloid Dreams.
Main cast: Julio Chavez, Maria Ucedo, Ines Molina, Maria Onetto, Arturo Goetz, Osvaldo Bonet.