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Tribeca Blog: Love, Pain & Vice Versa

Lpvv_still__1_3 For fans of Latino film and television looking to see Bárbara Mori in yet another salacious, stock, and vapid role, Love, Pain, & Vice Versa is an ill fit. The Mexican thriller in competition at the Tribeca Film Festival features Mori in the role of Chelo, a stalker, a liar, and a chain smoker--probably the last person you want on your bedroom poster.

Love, Pain & Vice Versa is the psychological drama of Chelo (Mori) and Dr. Marquez (Leonardo Sbaraglia), two timeless characters who suffer inexplicable nightmares -- and fantasies -- about one another. Aptly described as "moody" in the festival synopsis, the film defies chronology to unravel the mysterious, and seemingly violent connection between them.

In a roundtable discussion, director Alfonso Pineda-Ulloa described Love, Pain & Vice Versa as a "perversion of a fairy tale."

"Both of [the characters] are, in a way, horrible people," said Pineda-Ollua. "You're seeing an obsession gone bad."

Uruguay-born actor Mori welcomed the change from her typical telenovela fare. For over ten years, Mori played Spanish-language soap opera damsels, and though her 2006 debut film La Mujer de Mi Hermano was several feet deeper than a telenovela, her character Z was either showering, swimming, or seducing the wrong man.

"Chelo is not a sexy role," said Mori in an interview. "I'm very proud of that."

While filming, Pineda-Ulloa purposely enhanced Mori's freckles and flaws, and even went so far as to paint an artificial birthmark on her neck.

"I wanted Bárbara because she's a talented actress," said Pineda-Ulloa. "[Producers] have exploited her sexuality and looks, but this is a character who does not like herself."

In an early scene scene, Mori physically maims her own face before crying rape at a police precinct. A disturbing grin sweeps across her bloodied face, posing the question whether or not Chelo is a safe protagonist.

"I love the fact she's crazy," said Mori. "But she's crazy because of a deep loneliness, which is something that everyone feels."

On top of the unflattering and unsafe approach, Love, Pain & Vice Versa demands that nearly all the actors chain-smoke in every shot. Though certainly a successful mood enhancer, smoking was a particularly negative direction for Mori, who had been seven months smoke-free and is now back on the nicotine horse.

"I was doing so well!" she said. "But the film had me smoking so many cigarettes that now I'm trying to quit again."

Despite the health risks, Mori hopes to remain on the off-beat film track and revamp her image. In October, Mori is off to India to star in the English-language Bollywood film "Kites."

"I'm looking for new projects like Love, Pain & Vice Versa," said Mori. "The whole world knows me as the sexy soap opera actress, and I hate that."

-----Halley Bondy

Love, Pain, & Vice Versa can be seen Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at AMC Village Cinemas.


Photo Caption: Barbara Mori in Love, Pain, & Vice Versa.

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How can I buy the movie? It's a great film and I'd like to send it to a friend as a present. Any ideas? Thank you!

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