– The director’s fourth feature, a Luso-Brazilian co-production, is a tragicomedy about love and social inequality
Estevão Antunes and Custódia Gallego at In Bela America
Antonio Ferreirathe director of Embargo, Breath underwater and The dead queen [+see also:
film profile]finished filming his latest project, A Bela America, end December. The film, currently in post-production, is a story about Lucas (Estevao Antunes), a talented cook who had a difficult upbringing and a life marked by financial, social and emotional family struggles, who falls in love with America (Sao Jose Correia), a television host and also a presidential candidate. His passion drives him to strive not just for a better life, but also for a connection to America, using his cooking skills to impress her, secretly sneaking into grandiose dishes for her pleasure.
Ferreira’s intentions go beyond a simple love story: it is a tale about social inequalities, ambition and family ties, marked by a dark atmosphere, full of suspense, small ironic details and unexpected moments. According to the director’s notes, “In Bela America is a sad comedy”, in which he poses to the public “a dilemma: to what extent is it up to us to shape the destiny that has been traced to us from our birth? The director also notes how, nowadays, “we live with the anxiety of not doing everything possible”, and if we do not succeed, a feeling of guilt prevails, “without our realizing that we are our own oppressor, always hoping that one day we can free ourselves from the limited world we live in, thanks to all the work we have done”.
In this feature film, we find two characters who symbolize two different universes: Lucas (as well as his family) represents the vast majority “with dreams to achieve; the working class which supports the base of the social pyramid” without having the possibility of expressing itself. America, on the other hand, represents the universe of “winners”, who might feel a certain “compassion of the privileged”. Nevertheless, the gap between the two worlds never seems to be crossed or bridged. For Ferreira, this film is an attempt to “cross the border that separates” these two worlds: “Lucas and his family”, the people exploited in this “uberized and meritocratic society”, and the “exuberant, fearless, protected” life of ‘America. .
In Bela America was written by Ferreira and Cesar Santos Silva. It stars Estêvão Antunes, São José Correia, Custody Gallego and Carlos Areiaas well as local actors such as Daniela Claro and Joao Castro Gomes. The film is produced by Tathiani Sacilotto (one of EFP’s Producers on the Move 2021, from Persona Non Grata Pictures in Portugal – see the interview), in co-production with Refinaria Filmes (Brazil). The project was first developed at EAVE Puentes and obtained the support of the Ibermedia program. In Bela America was filmed in the city of Coimbra, in different stages, with Paul Castilho responsible for the cinematography of the film and with Luisa Bebiano serving as production designer.