Berlinale 2024: Exclusive REAS Poster Premiere
Lola Arias returns to Berlinales Forum sidebar with her sophomore film, Reas, a distinct pivot from her debut, Theatre of War, which premiered at the Berlinale Forum in 2018. While maintaining her unique approach of working with non-actors to re-enact their real-life traumas, Reas ventures into new thematic territory.
Foregoing her initial exploration of post-war masculinities, Arias shifts focus to a female-centric story born out of theatre workshops in a women's prison. Unlike Theatre of War, which transitioned from stage to screen, Reas was conceived directly for the cinema, embracing the musical genre to illuminate the stories of women and trans individuals navigating life after incarceration.
The film, rooted in documentary fundamentals, breaks into the musical genre, offering a lens of lightness and joy amidst the backdrop of prison memories, dreams, and aspirations. This transition signifies a bold move for Arias, showcasing the transformative power of music and dance as vehicles for freedom and expression.
Reas emerged from a series of improvisational workshops in Ezeiza's women's prison, originally intended to be filmed within its confines. However, the pandemic's constraints shifted the project's direction, leading to a narrative reconstruction in a disused prison with recently released individuals.
Arias' casting process underscores her commitment to diversity and realism, assembling a cast from various backgrounds to reflect a broad spectrum of experiences within the penal system, including significant representation from the trans community. This selection process, coupled with intensive acting, singing, and dancing workshops, underscores Arias' dedication to authenticity and the transformative potential of non-professional actors.
Reas distinguishes itself from Arias' previous work through its embrace of the musical genre, infusing a narrative about incarceration with vibrancy and hope. The film navigates away from the traditional prison drama, opting instead for a portrayal that balances the grim realities of imprisonment with the enduring human capacity for joy, resilience, and communal solidarity.
The official synopsis: “Yoseli has a tattoo of the Eiffel Tower on her back and has always wanted to travel, but she was arrested at the airport for drug trafficking. Nacho is a trans man who was arrested for swindling and started a rock band in jail.
"Gentle or rough, blonde or shaved, cis or trans, long-term inmates or newly admitted: in this hybrid musical, they all re-enact their lives in a Buenos Aires prison. Reas is a collective work that reinvents the musical genre: the performers dance and sing about their past in prison, relive their life as fiction, and invent, through fantasy and imagination, a possible future for themselves."