Alegría, the latest project from first-time director Violeta Salama, has entered post-production
- Following a two-month shoot in Melilla, Seville and other Andalusian locations, this début film has won the backing of La Claqueta and Powehi Films
Alegría [+see also:
film profile] (Violeta Samala’s feature-length début) is a feel-good tale that invites us to witness an exotic Jewish wedding in the characterful city of Melilla, which we explore in the company of four women, portrayed by small-screen stars Cecilia Suárez (who you may have seen recently in the Amazon Prime series 3 Caminos), Laia Manzanares (Merlí), Sarah Perles (El Cid) and Mara Guill (Caronte). Also in town for the celebrations are Leonardo Sbaraglia (star of the recent Pain and Glory [+see also:
interview: Antonio Banderas
Q&A: Pedro Almodóvar
film profile]), Adelfa Calvo (The Motive [+see also:
interview: Manuel Martín Cuenca
film profile]), Emilio Palacios, Zohar Liba, Joe Manjón and María Luisa Mayol. After shooting in Melilla, Seville and other Andalusian locations in February and March, the film is now in post-production.
The screenplay, written by Samala in collaboration with Isa Sánchez (321 días en Michigan [+see also:
film profile]), draws on the director’s own experience to tell the story of Alegría (Cecilia Suárez), resolved to make a break from her Jewish roots. Now that she has moved back to the family home in Melilla, she’s finding it harder to stick to her guns. When she discovers that her extended family is about to descend on the household to prepare for her cousin’s wedding to a local girl, her life is turned upside down. Fortunately for Alegría, she has a good friend by her side: a young Moroccan girl employed by her family. As the wedding preparations reach a crescendo, they each grow more aware of the things that unite and divide them.
“To create Alegría’s world, I wanted to steer away from the realism of life in a border town, a major port, instead setting her down in the world of my childhood. I want to share the city as I see it, the city I carry inside me, and so I recreated certain moments where the focus is entirely on these seemingly very different women who share the same problems and contradictions. My aim was to explore their similarities and differences through humour, exploring the conflicts we find in a place like Melilla, which are at once highly localized and universal,” says Salama.
In the words of producer Olmo Figueredo (La Claqueta), “Alegría is a vibrant, upbeat comedy told in the style of a fairytale, in a similar vein to My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Caramel [+see also:
film profile]: a film that chimes perfectly with the natural, exotic setting of Melilla. This city is so close to us and yet, sadly, has been a stranger for far too long. A lot of viewers will be surprised to discover how beautiful it is, and it becomes a character in its own right in this tale of a wedding that rattles our heroine to her core.” Meanwhile, Clara Nieto (Powehi Films) explains that “we want to show how, as mothers, daughters and friends, we all have the capacity to overcome whatever divides us and resolve conflicts by working together.”
Alegría is being produced by La Claqueta and Powehi Films in coproduction with La Cruda Realidad, Alegría La Película AIE and 9AM Media Lab, in association with RTVE and with support from ICAA, the Cultural Services Department at the Regional Government of Andalusia and Melilla City Council’s Culture, Equality and Tourism Promotion Board. Caramel Films will distribute the film in Spain.
(Translated from Spanish)
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