<em>El Jugador</em>

When a washed-up lifelong criminal arrives in the gambling mecca of Mar de Plata to help his boss’s kids get their acts together, he winds up in the middle of a cocaine deal gone awry. Luck never goes his way, but we cheer on this lovable loser as he navigates the underworld in search of financial freedom. See habanerofilmsales.com.

What inspired you to tell this tale?

The script is freely inspired by the novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The story of a retired gambler who decides to return to the casino to help a woman in trouble who needs money. Originally, in Russia, it was a declining aristocracy, which only seeks to appear. When I adapt it to Argentina, I think of the new rich people, who made millions from nowhere, but then the have to watch their family spending all the money.

How is Mar de Plata thought of by Buenos Aires residents?

Mar del Plata is one of the most important seaside resort in Argentina. It is a national icon. Originally, at the beginning of the 1900, the upper class summered there. The casino was the first of the country and to enter it was necessary to be a member and to demonstrate a minimum of money to bet. The people who work in the casino still remember with nostalgia those times, in which the croupiers wore silk shirts and the tokens were of nacre.

Later, in the decade of the ‘40s, with the arrival of the General Peron to the power, it was promoted that the low social classes can summer in Mar del Plata and the casino finally was nationalized and remained in possession of the state. High-class people left and built another summer resort.

Nowadays there is the majestic building of the casino, almost like a monument, but people prefer to go to the more modern ones that are in the peripheries of the center. We can say that the story of Mar del Plata is a sample of the Argentinian history a in general.

Is the cocaine trade massive in Argentina?

At this moment, it is wondered whether Argentina is only a country of transit or also of cocaine production. It is normal that the drug arrives from Bolivia or Peru and passes through the Argentinian ports (Mar del Plata is one of the most important) to finish in Europe, mainly in Spain. But in the last few years, some small drug production outbreaks were discovered and that triggered the alerts. The value of cocaine here is very low and it is common that the police are involved in this type of illegal business. Even for years it was suspected that drug money went directly to the most important politicians.

The protagonist is a lovable loser of sorts full of mostly bad luck. Are there other characters that inspired that portrayal?

The main character is a beautiful loser. Classic of the Film Noir. Always made me think of Orpheus. The films of Jean Piere Melville, Jose Giovani, and Jules Dassin are also reflected.

What is your next project?

I’m writing a police script that I hope is ready by the middle of the year.


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