Friday, March 12, 2010

Memory + Image

Back in 2005, I came across an intriguing Mexican film called Sangre by Amat Escalante. Even though there were plenty of wonderful moments and memorable images in the film, I had mixed overall feelings because I found a few segments frustrating. Still, I could never forget the images I saw in Sangre and one of my favourite sequences in the film takes place when the main character Diego finds his small car against a giant mound of garbage. As the camera draws back, the full scale of the mountain of garbage is made apparent. But Diego is not concerned with the mountain of garbage to his left. Instead his eyes are further ahead because he needs to search for something in another mountain of garbage. The difficulty of his task is made apparent while one can't help but think of the sheer wastage that humans are leaving behind, as the garbage dump is only one of millions that exist throughout the planet.

When I had seen Sangre I had not seen anything by Carlos Reygadas. Now having seen all of the three features Reygadas has directed, I have a better appreciation of what Escalante attempted with Sangre. Escalante was an assistant director on Reygadas' Battle in Heaven and Reygadas was a producer on Sangre. As a result, there are plenty of similarities between Sangre & Battle in Heaven, like the usage of unprofessional actors to depict the everyday mundane lives of ordinary characters and awkward sex scenes featuring people with non-model like bodies, aspects which one rarely finds in films. In fact, Sangre makes for a worthy double bill along with Battle in Heaven because the two films compliment each other so well.

I still have not seen Escalante's second feature Los bastardos but it is high on my list of films to watch. And both Escalante & Reygadas have short features in Revolución, a film that recently showed at the Berlin Film Festival. The other directors who contributed segments in Revolución are Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, Rodrigo García, Mariana Chenillo, Fernando Eimbcke, Gerardo Naranjo, Rodrigo Plá and Patricia Riggen. Definitely, Revolución is one film to look out for.

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