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To ‘Heli’ and Back for Escalante

In many ways the story-line of a pair of young migrant Mexican workers who commit a brutal crime reminded me of certain facets from Haneke’s Funny Games. I expect the auteur filmmaker to bring much of the same provocation and similar visual treatment to his next work, Heli.

I’m a huge fan of Amat Escalante‘s debut film Sangre, but I was baffled and unimpressed by the Un Certain Regard screening I caught last May of his sophomore piece Los Bastardos. In many ways the story-line of a pair of young migrant Mexican workers who commit a brutal crime reminded me of certain facets from Haneke’s Funny Games. I expect the auteur filmmaker to bring much of the same provocation and similar visual treatment to his next work, Heli.

Scripted by Escalante, this will be set in the world of Mexican drug dealers and I wonder how far the filmmaker who favors “realism” is willing to go to achieve an aesthetic truth. One thing is for sure, it may be an ideal companion piece to another film I recently saw about gangs and border towns in Sin Nombre.

Variety reports that the pic will produced by Jaime Romandia’s Mantarraya Produciones, with filming to begin in a more tolerable month for filming a movie in Mexico (October).

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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