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]