CANNES — Luis Minarro, one of Spain’s best-known arthouse producers, is making his fiction directorial debut with political parable “Shooting Star.”
“Star” turns on the short-lived reign as King of Spain of Italy’s Duke Amadeo of Savoy. Invited to govern Spain in 1870, he suffered Carlist rebellions, mounting republicanism, dissension among his supporters’ ranks and corruption. Unable to put through plans to modernize Spain, he abdicated in 1873, declaring Spain ungovernable.
Amadeo’s eloquent abdication speech to Spain’s parliament, in which he lamented the country’s fratricidal infighting, could well have been written about Spain in 2013.
“Star” was penned by Minarro and Sergi Belbel, one of Spain’s most important dramatists, and toplines Alex Brendemuhl, who stars in Lucia Puenzo’s Un Certain Regard entry “Wakolda.”
Spain’s Barbara Lennie (“Childish Games”), Lola Duenas (“I’m So Excited”) and Alex Batllori (“REC2”), and Italy’s Lorenzo Balducci (“Io, Don Giovanni”) co-star.
Having lensed at Bari’s Castel del Monte in Italy, “Star” is now shooting in Barcelona. Minarro’s Barcelona-based shingle Eddie Saeta produces. The Catalan Institute for Cultural Companies (ICEC) and Italy’s Puglia Film Commission back Minarro’s debut.
Minarro called “Star” “a chamber-piece, sticking close to character description, about beauty, disillusionment and the futility of power.”
“The film is about a civilized man, a mason who read Charles Baudelaire, somebody close to Giuseppe Garibaldi, who comes to Spain, and discovers, suddenly, that he can’t achieve his ideals,” Minarro said.
Minarro was a producer on Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.” He produced Karlovy Vary’s Crystal Globe winner “The Mosquito Net,” and “Finisterrae,” which scooped a Rotterdam festival Tiger. Eddie Saeta has produced films by Isabel Coixet, Manoel de Oliveira, Marc Recha, Albert Serra, Lisandro Alonso, Gustavo Taretto and Javier Rebollo.
Minarro has helmed two docu features: “Blow Horn,” set in an Indian monastery, and “Familystrip,” a portrait of his parents. Both were well-received by critics.
Emilio Mayorga contributed to this report.