Sebastián Silva’s Mexico-set meta-comedy “Rotting in the Sun” has finally found a home in the US and elsewhere after it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2023.
IndieWire exclusively shares that MUBI has acquired the rights to the latest pulsating work from the director of ‘The Maid’, ‘Nasty Baby’ and ‘Crystal Fairy’. The Park City premiere sees Silva as a version of himself, here a filmmaker fixing an existential crisis while adrift on his latest failed project, and comedian and social media sensation Jordan Firstman also as a version of himself, an openly gay influencer who blows up Silva’s fictional life.
This raunchy, sexually explicit satire of gay millennial life amused and provoked Sundance audiences with its graphic content, unapologetic drug use, and a twisting narrative typical of Silva’s low-budget, genre-blending indies. In a quote shared by MUBI, Bret Easton Ellis said the film is “as if Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Roma’ was made by ‘Female Trouble’-era John Waters.”
The Chilean director based “Rotting in the Sun” on his experience of leaving Brooklyn to move to Mexico City, where he lived in an architectural firm hoping to restart his career as a painter. “I just wanted to paint and relax,” Silva told IndieWire in a Sundance interview. “But I can’t escape the movies. Everywhere I go, I see things that are cinematic.
It was there that he met social media star Jordan Firstman at the Plaza Rio de Janeiro, where Firstman told him that he had just rewatched “Crystal Fairy” the night before. The encounter turns into “Rotting in the Sun”, albeit reported on a nude beach and after Silva’s character tries to drown. In the film, the pair strike up a partnership, only for Silva to go missing, setting the Firstman on a quasi-investigative journey to find him. Meanwhile, Silva’s housekeeper (“The Maid” star Catalina Saavedra) may have something to do with his disappearance, though “Rotting” has plenty more ketamine-infused tricks in its arsenal.
“I found it exhilarating and exhausting,” Silva said of meeting Firstman, who has had roles on series like “Search Party” and “Ms. Marvel” and also works as a television writer. “It was really something I wanted to make fun of.”
MUBI has acquired the rights to “Rotting in the Sun” in North America, Latin America, UK/Ireland, Germany/Austria, France, Benelux, Italy and Spain. The film will be released in theaters in the United States on September 8 and will be streamed on MUBI worldwide on September 15.
“Rotting in the Sun,” produced by Jacob Wasserman, Hidden Content and The Lift, in association with Robert Pattinson Icki Eneo Arlo’s production company, Spacemaker Productions and Caffeine Post, marked Silva’s fifth return to Sundance, where he already won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize and Director’s Award.
Watch an exclusive clip from the film below.