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English Version Film / TV

This is how Alfredo Castro transformed for the movie adaptation of Pedro Lemebel’s “My Tender Matador”

Chilean actor Alfredo Castro in "My Tender Matador". Photograph: La Tercera

For those who already feel like they’re missing Chilean actor Alfredo Castro on the the big screen, we have good news: these days he’s busy filming his most recent project: a movie adaptation of Pedro Lemebel‘s classic My Tender Matador (originally titled Tengo Miedo Torero in Spanish), his 2001 novel, where we learn the stroy of La Loca de Enfrente, a homosexual who maintains a romance with a leftist guerrilla member of the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front, and one who’s involved in the attack against Augusto Pinochet in the year 1986.

Alfredo Castro en la película "Desde Allá". Fotografía: Factor RH

Alfredo Castro in the Venezuelan film “From Afar”. Photograph: Factor RH Producciones

The film, which has been in development for several years, is being produced by Forastero (La Nana, From Thursday to Sunday), and Jorge López Vidales, while Rodrigo Sepúlveda (Aurora, Our Father, World 62) is in charge of directing with a script written by Lemebel himself before his death in 2015.

Lemebel was very involved with the project from its inception: he gave the rights of the novel for free and in perpetuity, he was the one who cast actor Alfredo Castro to play the main character, and according to the producers, the motion picture will be a tribute to the work of this iconic Chilean writer.

“The script has a very Pedro nod, which is that he changed the ending to the story, something he always wanted to do and never did in the novel. Originally we were interested in making a documentary about the 1986 attack, and a friend had the idea to tell the story from the point of view of Pedro’s novel. Finally we met him and he got very excited about the project and things started to mutate. Now it’s a tribute to Lemebel. Today the attack is touched very tangentially in the script, it’s not the most relevant thing: the love story is. It’s the marginality, the cultural and political context of the time what’s important now”.

Alfredo Castro himself explained that the film only won the support of Corfo (Chile’s Production Development Corporation) after several years of attempts, which had kept the film on hold.

“It was a shame that this project was not awarded any funds. It was as if the trajectory of someone remarkable, like Lemebel, was not recognized in his own land. At least in that sense, I think justice arrived, because Rodrigo (Sepúlveda) has been working on the film for a long time. It will be a beautiful tribute in memory of Pedro”.

It seems that the film’s theme song will be performed by Spain’s Diego “El Cigala”, and the soundtrack will be composed by the musician Camilo Salinas (Los 80). According to the producers, the idea is that several Chilean artists will get involved making their own versions of classic tunes from the era that are referenced throughout the book.

This film sounds like one of the most interesting proposals made by Chilean cinema in recent years, and has already had its way into festivals and international film markets, so here’s hoping we get news very soon about when we can expect to watch it ourselves in theaters and renowned festivals: Pedro Lemebel deserves it.

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