Karim Aïnouz is embracing a new destino…
The 57-year-old Brazilian film director and visual artist has begun the Brazil-based shoot of the erotic thriller Motel Destino, in a return to his roots after his English-language drama Firebrand starring Alicia Vikander and Jude Law.
The new feature began filming in Aïnouz’s native region of Ceará in north-eastern Brazil in late July.
Motel Destino marks Aïnouz’s eighth feature after Firebrand, which world premiered in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival this year, and 2019 Un Certain Regard winner The Invisible Life.
The director says the film’s motel setting is “the main character of the plot”, describing it as an intersection for chronic issues of contemporary Brazil in which the future of the country’s youth has been stolen by a toxic and oppressive elite, sparking acts of rebellion and violence as the only way out.
“Motel Destino is the Brazilian saga of the encounter between a person on the run, utterly helpless, and another who is being crushed in an abusive marriage,” he says.
“Motel Destino is, above all, a love story. The love between a peripheral young man who lives against a system that wants him dead and a woman who resists the attacks of patriarchy against her own life,” he adds.
Aïnouz’s colorful home state of Ceará will set the visual and narrative tone.
Local talents, Iago Xavier and Nataly Rocha – selected via auditions with more than 500 actors – take on the lead roles, alongside the Emmy nominated actor Fábio Assunção.
“I’m very interested in talking about crime, not sordid crime, but crime as the only escape from the place we are living in, the world we live in. How do you beat absolute helplessness? It’s a theme very present in contemporary Brazil. It’s not about being victimized, but rather completely marginalized,” adds Aïnouz.
The narrative was born from Aïnouz’s partnership with the Script Laboratory of Porto Iracema das Artes, a school for technical and creative training for students from the public educational system, based in the director’s native city of Fortaleza, where he serves as one of the mentors.
Aïnouz connected with emerging writer Wislan Esmeraldo through the program and invited him to develop the script for the project. Later, Esmeraldo was joined by Mauricio Zacharias, who also worked on Aïnouz’s Madame Satã (Un Certain Regard 2002) and Love for Sale (Venice Orizzonti 2006).
French cinematographer Hélène Louvart, credited in Invisible Life and Firebrand, handles the cinematography for the new project, while another longtime collaborator, Marcos Pedroso, is in charge of production design.
Motel Destino is produced by Cinema Inflamável and Gullane, in co-production with Globo Filmes, Telecine, Canal Brasil (Brazil), Maneki Films (France) and The Match Factory (Germany) and in association with Brouhaha Entertainment and Written Rock (United Kingdom).
Pandora Filmes is responsible for distribution in Brazil. The project is supported by the Department of Culture of the State of Ceará.