Carlos Reygadas – Batalla en el cielo aka Battle in Heaven (2005)


Batalla en el Cielo, Carlos Reygadas

The sequel to Japón is a big-city story of demise in mega-city Mexico about a fat driver, the beautiful daughter of his boss and the surprising confession of an unforgivable crime. Upsetting and exciting existential drama by one of the world’s greatest film talents.
Immediately following its première in Cannes, the alarming and exciting Battle in Heaven split the film world into friend and foe. Many pages have been dedicated to the social, moral, existential and cinematographic aspects of Carlos Reygadas’ second film. He tells the story of a simple, big-city crime that – accidentally yet predictably – becomes an unforgivable one: Marcos and his wife kidnap a baby – and the baby then dies. Reygadas is not interested in the hows and whys of this act, for which neither church nor state can offer a truly redeeming punishment. What is important is the way that Marcos, a simple driver working for a rich general, reacts to the tragic outcome of his action. Seeking redemption, Marcos confesses the crime to Ana, the beautiful young daughter of his boss and a prostitute in an upmarket brothel. One crime leads to another, and Marcos’ path leads him on a pilgrimage to the Basilica Guadalupe. Starting and ending with both class-conscious and controversial scenes of fellatio, Battle in Heaven is an uninhibited, ambitious must-see film with its rather mysterious title, its grand camera movements (works of art in themselves, shot by Diego Vignatti), references to Rossellini, Tarkovski and Buñuel, and its meticulously-composed mise-en-scène and impressive soundtrack. [from IFFR catalogue] Read More »

Carlos Reygadas – Stellet Licht aka Silent Light (2007)


The Carlos Reygadas guide to cinema:

The film is everything: “I’m not pursuing ‘a career’, or trying to make a point like Godard, who had these ideas of cinema and wanted to prove them through his films. His films are just essays trying to prove a preconceived theory, and that’s why I don’t like them very much. I feel films have to be pure – projections of vision and feelings, rather than make references to things outside of them. For me, they have to be spheres: self-containing.”

Make cinema for adults: “I’ve never understood all those children’s films about animals that talk and little animated spoons. When they ask me what I think of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, I always say, ‘I don’t understand them, they’re for children.’ And when I was a child, I didn’t understand films for adults and now I don’t understand films for children. I don’t understand why so many people understand films for children.” … Read More »

Michael Rowe – Año bisiesto aka Leap Year (2010)


Winner of the prestigious Camera D’Or prize for Best First Feature at the 2010 Cannes Film
Festival, and one of the most controversial films of the year, LEAP YEAR (Año Bisiesto),
from Mexico, is the outstanding debut feature film of Australian director Michael Rowe, a
character study on loneliness, featuring an extraordinary leading performance by Mónica Del
Carmen (Babel), supported by Gustavo Sánchez Parra (Amores Perros, Man on Fire). Read More »

Michel Franco – Daniel & Ana (2009)



Daniel and Ana, brother and sister, best friends. Both are at pivotal, defining moments in their contented lives. Ana is about to be married, Daniel is a gregarious teenager discovering his personal and sexual identity. Yet their harmony is instantly shattered when they are kidnapped and something shocking happens which forces them to confront their desires and fears. Suddenly their old lives are a distant memory. Now, nothing they have known will ever be the same again. Read More »

Arturo Ripstein – El Castillo de la pureza aka The Castle of purity (1973)


Though recently in the Mexican movies we see basically the same kind of things like crossed stories or extremely “realistic” ones, or both, there are some things in the old ones that the new ones are forgetting: beauty. This movie is based in a true story where a man that is afraid to contaminate his family with the evils of the world (and actually he is already “contaminated”, and very), decides to lock them inside their house for years, avoiding them any kind of contact with the world, even throw the windows. Not happy just with this, he makes the kids work in the family business that is making poison to kill rats. The characters are confocal created, ambiguous and confused, such as anybody is, and themes like loneliness or sexual curiosity in the kids while they are growing up is very well managed. However, even it is a sad story, it is so well treated, that it is beautiful. This is a movie that I would certainly recommend, specially because Mexican movies has not good fame. [imdb] Read More »

Jaime Humberto Hermosillo – La tarea prohibida aka Forbidden Homework (1992)


In this provocative drama from Mexican filmmaker Jaime Humberto Hermosillo, Julian Pastor plays a young college student who is living with his aunt. The student is taking a course in filmmaking and is working on a short video as a class project. An attractive middle-aged woman, Marieda (Maria Rojo), arrives to audition for a part in the video; when the film’s male lead fails to show up, the young man takes the role as he auditions a romantic scene with the woman, and later they move from pretend lovemaking to the real thing. But as it turns out, this isn’t the first time the boy and the woman have met, which leads to a disturbing revelation. Forbidden Homework was a semi-sequel to Hermosillo accalimed feature La Tarea. (All Movie Guide) Read More »

Salvador Carrasco – La Otra Conquista aka The Other Conquest (1998)


It is May 1520 in the vast Aztec Empire one year after the Spanish Conqueror Hernán Cortés’ arrival in Mexico. “The Other Conquest” opens with the infamous massacre of the Aztecs at the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan. The sacred grounds are covered with the countless bodies of priests and nobility slaughtered by the Spanish Armies under Cortés’ command. The lone Aztec survivor of the massacre is a young Indian scribe named Topiltzin Topiltzin, who is the illegitimate son of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma, survives the onslaught by burying himself under a stack of bodies. As if awakening from a dream, the young man rises from among the dead to find his mother murdered, the Spanish in power and the dawn of a new era in his native land. A New World with new leaders, language, customs… and God. Read More »