Archive of films Lion's Den / Leonera

2008, 113 min

Section: Open Eyes
Year: 2008

Julia wakes up in an apartment that is covered in blood, with the dead body of her lover by her side and another man who is unconscious. Julia can allegedly remember nothing... In this, his latest film, which appeared in competition at this year’s festival in Cannes, the great talent of Argentine film, Pablo Trapero, focuses on a detailed description of life in a women’s prison. The authentic performances, convincing atmosphere and the opportunity to see the prisoners even in their most intimate moments give the viewer the feeling they have become a part of the lives of the condemned women. Martina Gusman excels in the lead role as Julia.


According to statistics, seven percent of murders in Argentina committed by men are termed “crimes of passion”. In the case of women, however, this number suddenly leaps to an incredible seventy-two percent. One of these murderesses is the beautiful Julia (an outstanding Martina Gusman), who differs considerably from her co-prisoners in appearance and social status. She wakes up in an apartment that is covered in blood, with the dead body of her lover by her side and another man (Rodrigo Santoro, familiar from the series Lost and Hector Babenco’s film Carandiru, among others) who is unconscious. Julia claims that her partner was having a relationship with the man, but the remainder of events is shrouded in mystery. The director is more interested in life in the Argentine women’s prison, however, than in trying to find out what actually happened in the strange love triangle. We follow him in his observation of the condemned women in their most intimate moments, and thanks to outstanding performances and the superbly evoked atmosphere of the prison, we have the impression of having become a part of Julia’s world and experiencing her tale of loneliness, love and unflagging hope.

About the director

Pablo Trapero (b. 1972, San Justo, a suburb of Buenos Aires) studied architecture and film at the Universidad del Cine in Buenos Aires. He began working as an editor and assistant director. His resplendent career began in black-and-white with the film Crane World (Mundo grúa), shot on 16mm film, which was awarded at a number of festivals and is one of the fundamental films of the Argentine New Wave. The film was screened at the Karlovy Vary IFF as were other Trapero films such as El Bonaerense, (2002), Rolling Family (Familia rodante, 2004) and Born and Bred (Nacido y criado, 2006). This year, the director’s talent was also recognized by the organizers of the Cannes IFF, who selected his latest film, Lion’s Den, for the main competition. Trapero is also active as a producer. His company Matanza Cine is not only credited with the majority of his own films, but also works such as Albertina Carri’s La Rabia, which was screened at the 2008 Berlinale.


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About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Open Eyes
Director: Pablo Trapero
Screenplay: Alejandro Fadel, Martín Mauregui, Santiago Mitre, Pablo Trapero
Dir. of Photography: Guillermo Nieto
Editor: Ezequiel Borovinsky
Producer: Pablo Trapero, Suh Young-joo
Production: Matanza Cine
Cast: Martina Gusman, Elli Medeiros, Rodrigo Santoro
Contact: Finecut Co., Ltd, Cineclick Asia

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