- English subtitles
What needs to be known about Heli before seeing it, can be said in six words: violent, poetic, Mexican drugwar, Cannes winner. There’s more to be said, much more, but if you want to be surprised, stop reading now.
At first we thought we’d best not say anything about Heli before the screening, so it was billed as the suprise film. But we’re damn proud to be closing Pluk de Nacht 2013 with the only Dutch screening of this controversial film, which won the Best Director award at the Cannes film festival.
But then, there’s that question again: what do we say? What can we give away? Should we warn our precious audience about the extreme violence that the film so casually shows? Or will that create false hope for a Saw-like horror film? Despite the burning penises (yes, you read that right), Heli is decidedly not a horror film.
Instead, it’s a realistic but also magic-realist and slightly absurd art film about the violent drug wars in Mexico, and how regular folk like our hero Heli get mixed up in it while the authorities stand by and do nothing. Director Amat Escalante is a protegé of Argentinian master Carlos Reygadas, and it shows in his deliberate framing and the slightly vacuous acting, creating an almost fairy tale-like atmosphere.