Fendrik, Puenzo team on 'Smoke Men' (Variety)

Project is set up at Historias Cinematograficas

PARIS -- Two of Latin America's most striking directorial talents, Argentina's Pablo Fendrik and Lucia Puenzo, have teamed to write suspenser "Hombres de humo" (Smoke Men).

Fendrik is attached to direct.

One of the standout projects at Paris Project, a three-day film financing forum that wraps Wednesday in the French capital, "Men" is set up at Historias Cinematograficas, the Buenos Aires production shingle of Academy Award nominated director-producer Luis Puenzo ("The Official Story").

Fendrik, who broke through to recognition with "The Mugger" and "Blood Appears," both Cannes Critics' Week players, aims to shoot "Smoke Men" late 2011, after rolling February 2011 on "Ardor."

Lucia Puenzo, who turned heads as a director with debut "XXY," which won the Cannes Critics' Week Grand Prix, is taking on production labors.

Historias Cinematograficas aims to structure "Men" as an Argentine-European co-production, Fendrik said in Paris.

That looks in the cards. Historias Cinematograficas holds down a first-look co-production deal with Jose Maria Morales' Wanda Films in Spain.

Puenzo's two features -- "XXY" and "The Fish Child" -- were co-produced out of France by Pyramide and MK2 respectively. Fendrik's second film "Blood" drew down Gallic co-production coin from Acrobates.

Set in a city outside Buenos Aires, "Men" begins Hitchcock style with a man who's involved in Argentina's worst-ever multiple pileup, and seizes the opportunity to murder the woman in the passenger seat.

Film then shuttles between the past and the future as a femme doctor begins to have suspicions about the woman's death.

According to Fendrik, "Men" "is very close to my favorite intentions: to deliver a highly emotional action film whose main characters try to control their basic instincts, but don't always succeed."

Pic lead character is a foreigner, a former war photographer, visiting Argentina, said Fendrik.

"Men" will be more mainstream than his past pics, he added.

The screenplay will be completed in August.

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