The Peruvian film “Bleed. Scream. Beat!” premiered at the 24th annual Austin Film Festival (AFF) and had two festival screenings. Director Aldo Miyashiro, producer Gilberto Nue and actors Ivan Chávez and Érika Villalobos (also a co-writer) were in attendance during festival. Not only did the film debut in Austin, TX, some members of the filmmaking team visited the city for the first time, something they relayed to me upon meeting them for the interview. Ivan Chávez told me after the interview that he was very happy with the warm reception he received by people in the city, as opposed to other states he has visited so far.
Aldo Miyashiro is considered one of the most iconic personalities in Peru with various forays into film, theatre and TV as director, actor, teacher and nationally respected TV anchor. He wrote several plays, which awarded him national prizes and recognition. With his first film, “Atacada” (2015), he brought attention to the issue of violence against women.
“Bleed. Scream. Beat!” is set in Lima, Peru and takes audiences on a journey through three stories with ten actors portraying thirty characters. I spoke to the talent in attendance.
Upon discussing the idea for the film, the director stated at first “it was madness”, but he and co-writers Érika Villalobos and Abril Cárdenas began organizing themselves and got together to construct the three stories that can coexist. It wasn’t necessarily an easy process and there was a fear that it may not be understood.
As the Austin Film Festival is also known as “the writer’s festival,” I asked the writers to provide some insight into any challenges they encountered. Érika Villalobos stated what happened was that (writer/director) Aldo asked them for three different and distinct stories. The maximum challenge was for the public to get the distinct emotions. Aldo added there are different protagonists for the three stories and the actors rotated between protagonist, supporting cast or had a cameo. He added it was a lengthy challenge for the actors involved.
Although actor Ivan Chávez is not part of the writing team, he added his perspective of the process. “I participated most in the comedy. Perhaps there is a thin line” he added, as he was describing not falling into ‘easy’ comedy that may not be in sync. He added that he can propose something; then Aldo will know what he can do. They have worked together before and states that he can look at Aldo and it is as if he can read his mind. He says it is quite interesting.
Since the writers had an initial fear about the public understanding their production, I inquired about how they assured the public did not get lost. Aldo stated there are factors: distinct genres – drama, comedy and tragedy – and stayed focused on this. The filmmakers also ensured there is different lighting and photography for each genre.
SYNOPSIS: With an original format and screenplay by Aldo Miyashiro, Érika Villalobos and Abril Cárdenas, ten actors star in three distinct stories, portraying a different character in each one of them. Director Aldo Miyashiro, known for his honest and visceral filmmaking, ventures in this risky creation to narrate the tragic story of a teacher hurt by bullying both as a child and then enduring his own favorite student being bullied; a black comedy with two women who accidentally fall one night into money and a macabre murder, and the melodrama about the daughter who needs a heart to survive and her father who will stop at nothing to be able to provide this for her.
“Bleed. Scream, Beat!” unveils a wild, chaotic and tender city of Lima. The contrast in photography and the changing atmospheres and story lines with vertiginous twists and turns, take the viewer on an astonishing path that taps into all of the emotions: laughter, sorrow, heartbreak, love and triumph.
The characters take us through both heartbreaking and hilarious hurtles, linked by the brutality of a city that is everything but merciful with them. The 92 minute film is in Spanish with English subtitles.
The filmmakers told me in late October that the film is set to premiere in Peru in April of next year.
By Liz Lopez
Source: Austin Film Festival