‘Les Mis’ Gets a TELENOVELA (!) — by Trace De La Torre

Aracely Promo  Start spreading the news…Les Mis is getting a Telenovela starring critically acclaimed Mexican Actress — Aracely Arambula!

Telemundo is adapting Victor Hugo’s French classic, “Les Misérables”, bringing it to Primetime Latin American TV audiences and sure to be another smash hit.

I know I’M EXCITED!                                                    

The announcement came yesterday — appropriately at the annual MIPCOM in Cannes — happening this week.  For those of you not ‘in the know’ as to what MIPCOM is — it’s the Cannes Film Festival made-for-TV — a trade show where TV distributors from Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Middle East markets showcase and shop around their latest projects for distribution deals.

Arambula at MIPCOM 2013            MIPCOM 2013 - CANNES.

ARACELY ARAMBULA – MIPCOM 2013 – CANNES.

Marcos Santana — President of Telemundo Internacional — said at Cannes, “We are very proud of this project, which is another brilliant production that will carry our brand, and we anticipate it will have excellent result.  Telemundo is the only Spanish-language company that leads in this type of melodrama-genre offered for international markets.”

Miles ahead of the competition, Telemundo has already started pre-production of Les Mis with — Valentina Parraga — (“La Patrona” and “La Reina Del Sur”) who is adapting the French classic into Spanish.

French Mexico 1 french mexico 3 french mexico 4                     FRENCH MEXICO

Production will be entirely set in M e x i c o where plenty of French, breathtaking scenery, architectural, and cultural influences remain from years of French colonization during the mid-1800’s — and where currently, French people make up the 4th largest immigrant community (approx. 10,000) after Americans, Lebanese, and Spaniards.

french mexico 5                           french mexico 6

The Spanish translated — “Los Miserables” — takes place in present-day Mexico with spotlights on social injustices and the universal theme of good versus evil.

Arambula will play against-type, in a gender-bending role (inspired byJean Valjeanthe protagonist in Hugo’s Les Mis) as a courageous woman wrongly accused of a crime she did not commit; forced into hiding from her family in order to evade her pursuer.

Joshua MintzExecutive VP of Fiction Programming & General Manager of Telemundo Studios — has said of “Los Miserables”,  “Soon, we look forward to announcing the full cast of this production, as well as the directors, producers and team members that will have a part in its success.”

I, for one — am BEYOND excited for this production to hit the small screen — it will be an extremely successful venture for Telemundo — whose recent programming choices have been right on the mark with worldwide audiences — and ME.

!VIVA Telemundo!   

12 Years a Slave — Irrefutable MUST-SEE Film of the Year by Trace De La Torre

12 NEW YORK 1841  Ever since it first hit screens at Telluride & Toronto Film Fests last month, the hype surrounding 12 Years a Slave reached soaring heights.  Don’t expect the hype to cool anytime soon — it looks poised to run the distance through the awards season — walking away with more than one statue.

BAFTA KILTED STEVE  Directed by illustrious Brit/Dutch London-born visual artist — Sir Steve McQueenKnighted OBE AND CBE by the Queen — winner of the Camera d’Or at Cannes 2008 for his film Hunger, about the 1981 Irish hunger strike as a first-time Director — the Turner Prize in 1999 (a prestigious annual prize awarded to British visual artists under the age of 50 representing ALL media) — and a 2009 BAFTA for Hunger amongst many other awards — it’s irrefutable that THIS is the movie you need to see this year.

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Brad Pitt — 12 Years a Slave is a historical drama based on the 1853 autobiography by Solomon Northup, a free black man living in upstate Saratoga Springs, New York who is lured to Washington, D.C., kidnapped, and sold into slavery in 1841.

12 CAST STARS                         12 yrs slave poster

The film takes us on an emotional odyssey where Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, and faces cruelty from slave owner baddie played by Michael Fassbender.  The story takes a fateful turn in the 12th year of his capture when Solomon has a chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) that forever alters his life.

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SPOILER: McQueen boldly shows us the injustice of slavery by depicting disturbingly violent scenes — such as when Solomon is beaten 15 times with a bat before being whipped by his captors.

Slaves are shown being hanged, murdered, lashed — including by each other, on their masters’ orders.

Poignant line by Solomon: “I don’t want to survive. I want to LIVE.”

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Reviews so far have been unanimously positive with one astounding message: 12 Years a Slave will be a movie to tango with come award season.  Buzzfeed’s Adam Vary called it “most emotionally powerful film I have seen in a decade,” in his initial reaction. “The Oscar race has been pronounced over, six months before the ceremony itself,” writes the Guardian‘s Catherine Shoard. Entertainment Weekly‘s Owen Gleiberman says it’s a “landmark of cruelty and transcendence.”

12 Years a Slave, adapted by John Ridley from Northup’s memoir, and also starring Quvenzhane’ Wallis from “Beast of the Southern Wild”; Paul Dano; Sarah Paulson;  Alfre Woodard; Paul Giamatti; and Lupita Nyong’o — opens in US theatres on Oct 18th — bring a tissue.

Here’s a look at the bone-chilling Trailer:

Or watch the full movie here:  12 Years a Slave FULL MOVIE link