Venezuela Competes at Venice for the First Time Ever

A Venezuelan film will compete for the first time for the Golden Lion, top award at the Venice Film Festival, as Lorenzo Vigas’ debut feature Desde Allá has its world premiere next week in the official competition of the 72nd edition Italian film festival early September.

Desde Allá explores issues of social stratification through the story of a wealthy man who pays young men to endure a kind of contact-free abuse, only to find unexpected intimacy with one of his companions.

The film follows Armando, a denture-maker by profession who belongs to Caracas' upper classes, but chooses to live in a lower-middle-class neighborhood, where he entices young men back to his home with the promise of payment. He only wants to look, not touch, yet the distance he maintains with these men contains its own particular violence — a contact-free abuse.

Armando carries the scars of a troubled childhood, and when he hears that his father has returned to Caracas, long-suppressed anxieties resurface. At the same time, unexpected changes are occurring in his relationship with one of his paid companions, seventeen-year-old Elder. At first their association was purely transactional, but as the two spend more time together, something begins to emerge between them: an intimacy that neither man is ready for.

Starring Chilean actor Alfredo Castro and Luis Silva, the film was produced by Michel Franco, Guillermo Arriaga, Rodolfo Cova, and Vigas; Gabriel Ripstein and Edgar Ramírez are the film’s executive producers. The film will have its North American premiere in September at the Toronto Film Festival as part of the Discovery section, and it will also play in San Sebastian’s Latin Horizons section.