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El corazón de la luna is a real drama, immersed in fantasy, capable of disturbing, stirring and making visible the loneliness of the most vulnerable souls in society. Photo: Courtesy of Universidad de Lima.
'El corazón de la luna' is a real drama, immersed in fantasy, capable of disturbing, stirring and making visible the loneliness of the most vulnerable souls in society. Photo courtesy of Universidad de Lima.

In the heart of a marginalized Lima

'El corazón de la luna' is Peru’s official submission for International Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards®.

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Short, silent steps that lead nowhere. Or maybe they do. Only her white hair shines in the dark suburbs of chaotic and bustling Lima. And although the whole city turns its back on her, she knows its vast geography by heart.

Accustomed to carrying a heavy bag on her shoulders, M lives her days without thinking of a future and without forgetting her past. Her destiny changes drastically when she suddenly encounters an ant. Far from crushing it with her finger or pushing it out of her way, M decides to make it part of her world of nostalgia and a demonic presence from which only ‘a mechanical angel’ will be able to save her.

This is the story of the psychological, social and fantastic drama, with touches of science fiction, called El corazón de la luna (Moon Heart), directed by Peruvian filmmaker Aldo Salvini and starring actress Haydeé Cáceres.

Without words

The 80-minute film has no dialogue and leads the viewer to discover emotions, feelings and sensations with physical movements and guttural sounds from the protagonist.

“I always wanted to make a film without dialogue, one that relied on the power of images and sound. I started writing this film in 2008 when I found an ant in a cab. From that event I started to think about someone who could take that ant home, take care of it and how that person’s relationship with that little being would be”, Salvini told AL DÍA from Los Angeles, where the film was recently screened.

Beyond the total absence of dialogue and the obsession for a balanced literary and technical script, Salvini’s work seeks to sow reflection in the audience on the loneliness and invisibility of the most marginalized sectors of society.

“When I was writing that story, Lima was growing a lot and I saw that bonanza that was not directed for everyone, but only for a sector of the population. This story is based on how this city can grow in such a way that it totally turns off some people and turns others into ghosts or beings we don’t pay attention to,” he added. 

The chosen one from Peru

El corazón de la luna, produced by the University of Lima, won Best Film at the SCI-FI London Film Festival 2021 and the Jury’s Special Mention at the International Independent and Auteur Film Festival of the Canary Islands in 2021.

For her leading role, Cáceres won the award as the Best Ibero-American Actress at Fantaspoa (Film Festival Porto Alegre) 2022 and at the 2021 Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival.

However, the greatest pride for the renowned actress was the choice of the film to represent Peru at the Oscars.

“It is one more achievement in my career and above all for Peruvian cinema. Beautiful things are being done in Peru, so the wonderful thing is that these productions and this work are transcending. I have only done my bit,” she said.

The list of finalists in the Best International Film category of the Academy Awards will be announced on Dec. 21, and the nominations will be made official on Jan. 24.

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