Hidden City by Francisco Bouzas – In development

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After some time playing football in Paraguay, Martino, a 24-year-old boy, returns to Ciudad Oculta, the neighborhood where he grew up, to spend his holidays. He acts as a messenger, bringing presents for his friends, different souvenirs from their families, who are still living in Paraguay.

The narrow corridors of the slum turn festive to receive its prodigal son, the hope for those playing football at the slums. Typical preparations are taking place: loudspeakers on the street, plastic bottles cut in half as glasses, drugs, the police storming into the place to put an end tothe celebration.

César, a Paraguayan 23-year-old boy, would like to reunite with his childhood buddy, with whom he has lived countless Carnival parades performing for the same murga. However, that time is well behind now: loneliness and panic to death have made César abandon his passion for music.

That reunion won’t happen. César spends the night in jail because he wasn’t carrying his ID when he was asked for it.He dreams with Martino, who is out of the cell and goes through a rusty door, his body covered in gunshots. At dawn, Martino’s corpse is found on the corner of the place where the celebration has taken place. César meets his friends Nelson, Alexis and Liz at the funeral. Quite alarmed, he tells them about his dream —he thinks it is a premonition. But his friends don’t take Martino’s apparition seriously.

The following nights, César continues dreaming: this time about a hidden city under Ciudad Oculta, a city inhabited by dead people. Martino finally turns up again in his dreams. The dreams start torturing César, who tries not to fall asleep during the week. His friends’ skepticism changes when Liz dreams with her dead brother and, some time later, the same happens to Nelson and his dead sister. All these dreams relate to Martino, and his reunion with César is always referred to.

Once everybody is convinced, they start drawing a plan. What they see in their dreams helps them locate the gate, and they think about the way to go through it. Alexis, Liz and Nelson carry out different tasks to help César enter the dead people’s hidden city.

A week after Martino is killed, at night, during the celebration of Saint John, when the fireworks fly all over the slum and the Guaraní ghosts gain substance, César sets off in his journey.

Once he has descended, César walks along the slum’s empty corridors, where his dead friend is waiting for him. When they meet, Martino gives César the charangostrings his mother has sent him from Paraguay, so César can remember them every time he plays their music. They moan and laugh, catch up with the news and say goodbye. It is a last encounter, a last hug, while they recall the time when they danced together during an old Carnival parade.