Karlovy Vary Q&A: Alicia Cano - El Bella Vista

Screen International, June 25, 2012 | Go to article overview

Karlovy Vary Q&A: Alicia Cano - El Bella Vista


Receiving its world premiere in the Karlovy Vary Documentary Competition section, El Bella Vista is a quirky yet moving documentary about Uruguayan brothel El Bella Vista, its transvestite inhabitants and the small village community that wants to remove them and change the brothel into a Catholic School.

ScreenDaily asks director Alicia Cano about the film's origins and the importance of premiering at the festival. World sales for El Bella Vista are handled by Taskovski Films.

How did you find out El Bella Vista and what led you to make a film about it?

It was reading a newspaper that said "A brothel is now a place for prayers; the neighbors got sick of the noise and decided to transform a house of prostitution into the house of God." As soon as I read it, I found it so curious and familiar to my own memories at the same time (I also come from a small city), that I decided to go to the village to see if it was true. When I arrived I discovered that the new church was not only previously a brothel (one for transvestites at that) and before it was a soccer clubhouse. And in this moment I said to myself: 'This is a film.'

What kind of preparation went into making the movie?

I stayed over one year [with the villagers] making interviews about their life, thoughts, in order to understand what I really wanted to say with this movie, and the underlying reasons in the Bella Vista's conflict. After many months I explained to each of them my idea and how I wanted to tell the story. …

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