Thursday, 3 June 2021

La Civil (Teodora Ana Mihai, 2021)

It has just been announced that Belgian Flemish film La Civil by Teodora Ana Mihai has been chosen for the Official Selection of the Festival de Cannes 2021, in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ section. Following on from Hugo Claus’s The Sacrament in 1990 and Lukas Dhont’s Girl in 2018, this is only the third time in recent history that a Belgian Flemish production has been included in the prestigious official selection.

La Civil is the first fiction feature by Belgian-Romanian director, Teodora Ana Mihai (born 1981). The film tells the story of Cielo, a Mexican mother searching for her daughter who has been abducted by members of a drug cartel. As the authorities fail to help her, Cielo takes things into her own hands and gradually turns from housewife to avenging activist. The film was shot in November-December 2020 in Durango, Mexico, during the COVID-19 pandemic. La Civil is based on real events and is the result of several years of extensive research undertaken by the director in collaboration with Mexican writer Habacuc Antonio de Rosario.

The film was produced by Menuetto (Hans Everaert), an Antwerp-based production company in coproduction with high-profile partners, including the Dardenne brothers from Belgium (several Palmes d'Or), Cristian Mungiu from Romania (Palme d'Or) and Michel Franco from Mexico (Silver Lion, Venice). Cinéart will release the film in Belgium [and The Netherlands] in late 2021. “I am truly happy with this selection in Cannes. I’m incredibly grateful that it has been possible to tell this heart-breaking story of families who lost their children to drug cartels. La Civil is a film about a strong woman and mother who refuses to be a victim and defends herself. She is motivated by a primal force to find her daughter at whatever cost. It is a universal story that will touch everyone", says Teodora Ana Mihai.

La Civil was inspired by the terrifying stories of drug cartel victims and their families, such as the compelling and tragic life of Miriam Rodríguez, recently featured in The New York Times. The atmosphere of La Civil is reminiscent of the crime drama series Narcos, but is narrated from the victim’s point of view. Mexican writer Habacuc Antonio De Rosario co-wrote the screenplay with Teodora Mihai.

Source/images: The PR Factory