FILM | Painless (Spain/Portugal) . 11- 15 October

A successful neurosurgeon discovers his connection to a mysterious group of children who were born insensitive to physical pain, in this haunting horror fantasy.

Ciné Lumière Oct 11, 2012 6:30 PM Buy
Screen on the Green Oct 13, 2012 9:00 PM Buy
VUE, Screen 7 Oct 15, 2012 12:45 PM Buy

David, a successful neurosurgeon, is involved in a car accident that claims the life of his pregnant wife. Although David appears unhurt, subsequent tests uncover signs of advanced lymphoma, with a bone-marrow transplant offering his only chance of survival. David asks his parents for help, only to discover he was adopted and that the truth of his lineage dates back to the 1930s, and a mysterious group of children in the Pyrenees, each of whom were born insensitive to physical pain. Desperate to uncover the facts, David slowly learns the strange and chilling fates of these children, and the reason that he was denied the truth all those years. Almost unclassifiable in its approach to genre, Juan Carlos Medina’s skilful weaving of elements of fantasy, mystery and horror creates a haunting riddle laced with fear and sadness, presented with narrative invention and breathtaking visual poetry.
Michael Blyth

Director statement

Physical and psychological pain are basic elements of humanity and a central theme of all the major religions and philosophical systems. I always wanted to develop a screenplay around this theme and how pain can influence the existence and the conditions of the human being. That’s when I heard about the Nishida syndrome or the insensitivity syndrome, a very rare congenital disorder that gave me the idea to twist the theme, to turn it around: what happens if children grow up without feeling any pain? I found some answers going through medical files. Children that suffered from this disorder had a tendency to auto-mutilate. They were aggressive and their life expectance was considerably reduced. Situating the life of insensitive children into the tragic context of recent history in Spain, their life without feelings and lack of humanity becomes a metaphor of the collective destiny of a very old and, at the same time, a very young country that is torn apart by hate and intolerance among brothers and sisters. Painless is a historical thriller referring to The Music Box (Costa Gavras), Seven (David Fincher) or The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme), and close to William Friedkin and David Cronenberg, two film directors who influenced me a lot. Two different stories in two different periods are told in Painless. The two stories are not linked directly nor chronologically but rather in a metaphorical way. That’s the challenge for Painless. Luiso Alejandro Berdejo and I didn’t want to fall into the trap of a predictable narrative dualism. We wanted to develop a homogeneous story, one that is full and round. Our reference is The Godfather II by Francis Ford Coppola, who uses the dual narration to tell two entire stories of the Corleones, father and the son, in two different periods. For the visuals of the film, I am influenced by the artwork of several Eastern European painters who express the terrible recent history of their countries: Zdzislaw Beksinski and Ernst Fuchs (one of Giger’s masters). I also like to refer to the visuals of The Yards (James Gray), Seven, The Machinist (Brad Anderson), The Silence of the Lambs and, most of all, Come and See (Elem Klimov).
Juan Carlos Medina

Director biography

After obtaining his master’s degree in cinema, he worked for Current TV International as a reporter and directed 24 video clips of the City of London for the BBC. He has worked as a production manager, and directed three shorts prior to making his feature debut with Painless.

Filmography

1999 Trinidad [s]
2001 Rage [s]
2004 Mauvais jour [s]
2012 Insensibles (Painless)

Director Juan Carlos Medina
Producer Antoine Simkine, François Cognard, Miguel Angel Faura
Screenwriter Juan Carlos Medina, Luiso Berdejo
With Tómas Lemarquis, Alex Brendemühl, Derek De Lint
France-Spain-Portugal 2012
100 mins
Sales Elle Driver

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