Netflix filming Booker-shortlisted Piñeiro novel

Mercedes Morán and Erica Rivas will star in the film based on the novel ‘Elena Knows’ and directed by Anahí Berneri

Netflix announced on Wednesday the shooting of the film adaptation of Claudia Piñeiro’s crime novel Elena Knows, which will be directed by Anahí Berneri (Alanis, It’s Your Fault) and produced by Haddock Films. 

Mercedes Morán, one of Argentina’s top TV and film actresses, will play the lead role as a woman with Parkinson’s disease who sets out on an investigation to find the people responsible for the death of her daughter Rita, played by Erica Rivas (Wild Tales, The Intruder). 

“They are ideal, great actresses. I can’t think of a better duo,” said Piñeiro to Télam. The crime novelist and screenwriter is one of Argentina’s best-selling authors, and was also a high-profile pro-choice activist in Argentina at the time of the campaign to legalize abortion. 

A finalist for the Booker International Prize in 2022, Piñeiro’s novel –originally published in 2007 by Alfaguara– taps into the issues of maternity and women’s rights regarding their own bodies, and was described by the New York Times as “a piercing commentary on mother-daughter relationships, the indignity of bureaucracy, the burdens of caregiving and the impositions of religious dogma on women”.

“I always thought it was a very special novel by Claudia, very personal and intense,” producer Vanessa Ragone told the Buenos Aires Herald. “It addresses issues that are rarely seen in our cinema, and with time it has gained a greater relevance. I believe it is a hugely current novel, and I thought it could be a great film in the hands of a director like Anahí,” added Ragone, an Oscar winner for Juan José Campanella’s The Secret in Their Eyes, who has also adapted two other novels by Piñeiro (Thursdays’ Widows and Betibú), and was a showrunner for Netflix’s hit documentary series Carmel: Who Killed María Marta?

The rest of the cast includes Moran and Rivas’ real-life daughters, Mey Scápola Morán and Miranda de la Serna, who will play Rivas’ character’s younger self. 

Written by director Berneri together with Gabriela Larralde, the film was a recipient of Buenos Aires City’s recently-awarded cash rebate program for films and series filming in the capital city.  

The shoot is scheduled to wrap in late March, and the film is expected to premiere on Netflix in late 2023.  


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