Friday, February 17, 2006

Battle in Heaven



On Wednesday I went to see Carlos Reygadas' "Battle in Heaven". It was part of the Film Comment Selects series (Lincoln Center). I thought it was an exclusive affair. I also thought that it had not been shown anywhere else other than in Film Festivals like Cannes, Rotterdam etc... Turns out, it was shown in Mexico but from the comments I've heard and read, the film is censored (might have blurs or the scene is cut).

My opinion on this film does not matter much. It certainly pushed buttons, especially during all those moments when Reygadas shows maids, soccer, the Guadalupe pilgrimage and the drunk rich kids. I admire his storytelling skills, his sound design, the photography and the "actors".

What calls my attention is the fact that he is critiqued because he was brought up in a prominent household, because he didn't study film, and because he is doing things differently... Why is it so hard for people to admire difference? Why is it tough to accept a new vision? I can certainly see that film in Mexico struggles because people haven't been educated to see and enjoy something different. Of course everyone wants to go see the film, just because of the nudity and the social critique...But since it is a very realistic and raw portrayal, people hate it and declare the director is being pretentious.


Of that eye-catching sex scene, Reygadas says: "We are all naked when we go to the shower. At least twice or three times a day we are naked. And most of us have sex, once a week or more. It's a thing that occurs often. But it's not represented ever on film. So the normal thing to do would be to ask every other director why they don't have sex in their film and not ask me about it. I am the only normal one."

http://film.guardian.co.uk/interview/interviewing/0,6737,1554105,00.html#article_continu

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