Describing the daily life, steeped in violence, of ordinary Mexicans, denouncing the social and economic disparities of a working class that he sees as having lost its identity, showing up society's cultural inequities... Amat Escalante, after only two feature films, has defined himself as an implacable observer of his fellow citizens, whose disillusionment and fear he sets out to portray against a background of drug dealing, prostitution and corruption. His vision was already particularly caustic in his first film Sangre (2005), where he used a deliberately slow and static style consisting of long single-shot sequences to penetrate the monotonous intimacy of a couple.
The family unit, murderous violence and the influence of the American neighbour are among the prime concerns of this 34 year-old director, whose interest in social questions was confirmed in his 2008 film Los Bastardos. Rawer than his first movie, Los Bastardos, about the day-to-day life of two undocumented workers in the US, was inspired by the story of his father and revealed a deeply political nature. The same trains of thought feed the plotline of Heli, which the film-maker describes as a synthesis of his first two films. Heli follows the travails of a family from Guanajuato who are implicated, despite themselves, in a situation of drug misuse.
As the youngest director in competition for the Palme d’or, Amat Escalante has succeeded in finding his place among the new wave of Mexican film-makers spearheaded by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, Michel Franco or Carlos Reygadas. He shares with Carlos Reygadas an affinity for social issues and unknown actors. Indeed, Reydagas' name appears in the credits of Heli. The director, who produced Escalante's previous films, also co-wrote this full-length movie, which plunges back head-on into the heart of the Mexican society.
Thursday 16 May / Grand Théâtre Lumière / 11.00am - 10.00pm.