This has been a year of non-stop surprises for the Chilean film industry: now, for the first time in history, a Chilean film wins the Queer Lion Award at the Venice Film festival. This award, presented to productions that deal with LGBT issues, was awarded this year to the film The Prince, director Sebastian Muñoz’s debut feature. The film was premiered at the Festival’s Critics’ Week, where it was received with emotion by the Italian audience. The film’s main actors and directing team was also present for the screenings.
Muñoz spoke to CinemaChile and declared to be surprised, given that “our film doesn’t focus 100% on an LGBT niche; rather, it is a film that wanted to speak about human love, about love between men, but not necessarily about homosexual life.” In addition to this, he declared that the recognition is a “political award for our country, so that in our country, from this day forward, people can love each other without fear, and for all of the young people who are defining their lives, I invite them to watch The Prince because this film speaks about love relationships between all human beings.”
The fiction feature-length film is based on a novel that goes by the same title, written by Mario Cruz. The story is set in 1970, when after a night of heavy drinking, Jaime stabs his best friend in what appears to be an outburst of passion. In prison he meets “El Potro”, an older and respected man with whom he will initiate a relationship. Jaime begins to be known as “The Prince” and discovers affections and loyalties, while at the same time dealing with the power struggles that exist behind bars.
This is Muñoz’s first foray into directing after a long career as an art director, working with filmmakers such as Alicia Scherson and Pablo Larraín. The film was produced by Marianne Mayer-Beckh from El Otro Film (Chile) and Roberto Doveris from NiñaNiño Films (Chile), and co-produced by Le tiro Films (Argentina) and Be Revolution Pictures (Belgium). It features performances by Juan Carlos Maldonado, Alfredo Castro, Cesare Serra, Gastón Pauls, Lucas Balmaceda, Sebastián Ayala, and José Antonio Raffo.