‘Toxic’, the Argentine film that predicted the arrival of a pandemic

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People with masks, people in white safety suits that disinfect the streets and a couple who must escape a pandemic, although in this case of insomnia: that is the starting point of ‘Toxic‘, an Argentine film that opens this Thursday in an almost prophetic situation.

This idea, which seems to have come out of the coronavirus pandemic, began to emerge in the director’s mind Ariel Martínez Herrera More than a decade ago, when the spread of the Influenza A (H1N1) began, and after several years of scientific advice, a film was born that many experts did not consider so fictional.

“It has to do with that we investigated the case, it is not so coincidental, we looked at it and there was a certain probability. (…) Not everyone was surprised that there is an epidemic,” the director assured Efe, although he revealed that “Never ever” imagined that it would happen at this time and that the film is fiction, “not a scientific prediction.”

From the script to the front pages of the newspapers

The biologist Emiliano Aguerreberry, friend of the director, was present in the writing of the script to give the work realism, which now sees how some of its scenes are similarly replicated on the front pages of newspapers around the world.

“What began to happen to me is that the people who had seen the film told me ‘this photo came out in a newspaper in Italy, it is the same as Toxic,'” he said.

The story of the film, starring Agustín Rittano and Jasmine Stuart, is given in a dark comedy atmosphere, as a joke in times of tragedy “, with” scenes that seemed funny and that now, in light of the facts, do not seem so funny “.

“How ridiculous that something so current that was totally absurd at the time”, stressed the director and screenwriter, author of works such as “Alas” and “Adventures of a broken heart.”

The work intermingles the evolution of the protagonist couple, locked in the motorhome that leads them to a safe place from the insomnia infections with apocalyptic reflections, in which questions such as: “If the world were to end tomorrow, would you plant an apple tree?”; all with an Argentine touch in which “there is nobody saving anything.”

Atypical release

The premiere, which was scheduled for June 4, will not be able to take place in cinemas, which remain closed, which is why it took place this past Thursday simultaneously on television and on the Cine.ar digital platform, run by the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA), which before the quarantine situation ordered “an emergency resolution, which is the federal digital release.”

Martínez Herrera lived this premiere atypically, convinced that “it is a good time to bring this film to its viewers”, while trying to combine the complicated situation experienced by the coronavirus with the interest that its creation is awakening.

“Everything is very rare, all the sensations you go through, everything is mixed with finishing a movie, which is a very difficult process. (…) Suddenly there is a world social crisis that gives your project an impact, it is an unpredictable scenario and very difficult to assimilate in a very short time, “said the filmmaker.

A world with many possibilities

In the inkwell have many projects, some related to further exploring the wide world that develops in ‘Toxic’.

“The film has this that it is focused on the couple but has a universe around it that is quite powerful, every time a character from outside appears it is like a kind of separate world,” he said.

Beyond the prophetic of the starting situation, the filmmaker does not consider that the film can predict the way out of the coronavirus pandemic, and although he does not want to reveal details of the ending, he anticipates that it has dark parts and “luminous and humorous edges by absurd side ».

“I force myself to be optimistic in this situation, I think we have to do our best beyond what my film says,” he concluded.

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