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Battle in Heaven (2005)
"Batalla en el cielo" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Drama  |  26 October 2005 (Belgium)
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 4,546 users   Metascore: 56/100
Reviews: 54 user | 96 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

A working-class man named Marcos and his wife kidnap a baby for ransom money, but it goes tragically wrong when the infant dies. In another world is Ana, the daughter of the general for ... See full summary »

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Title: Battle in Heaven (2005)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Marcos
...
Ana
Bertha Ruiz ...
Marcos' Wife
David Bornstein ...
Jaime
Rosalinda Ramirez ...
Viky
El Abuelo ...
Chief of Police
Brenda Angulo ...
Madame
El Mago ...
Preacher
Francisco 'El Gato' Martínez ...
Gas Station Attendant
Diego Martínez Vignatti ...
Soccer Player
Alejandro Mayar ...
Police Inspector
Chavo Nava ...
Neurotic Conductor
Estela Tamariz ...
Ines
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michelle Aizpuru ...
Adolescentes que llegan de fiesta
Valeria Alvarez ...
Ninos que juegan
Edit

Storyline

A working-class man named Marcos and his wife kidnap a baby for ransom money, but it goes tragically wrong when the infant dies. In another world is Ana, the daughter of the general for whom he drives, who does sexual acts to any man for pleasure. Marcos confesses his guilt to her in his troubled search for relief, and then finds himself on his knees amid the multitude of believers moving slowly toward the Basilica in honor of the Lady of Guadalupe. Written by the coproduction office

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Language:

Release Date:

26 October 2005 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

Battle in Heaven  »

Box Office

Budget:

€1,601,792 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$25,306 (USA) (17 February 2006)

Gross:

$70,899 (USA) (23 June 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) |

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For the US theatrical poster hair was digitally added to cover the breasts of Anapola Mushkadiz. See more »

Goofs

During the scene where Ana and Marcos are making love, as the camera pans out, a crew member's reflection can be seen in the window. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: Episode #1.15 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Marcha procesional de Córdoba
Saeta de la Virgen de la Soledad
Rogelio Conesa
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unique and disturbing
29 May 2006 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

Set in Mexico City, Carlos Reygadas' provocative Battle in Heaven reflects the contradictions of the teeming megalopolis of 20 million, a beautiful city of stately old buildings and tree-lined suburbs, yet one in which 3,000 kidnappings take place each year with most perpetrators getting away with their crimes. In the film, a Catholic and a seemingly good man commits criminally perverse acts, a wealthy young woman engages in prostitution for fun, and a loving couple of limited means kidnap a baby for ransom from an equally poor family. Like French director Bruno Dumont, Reygadas' cinema is predominantly physical and there is little dialogue, narrative thrust, or explanation of the contradictions. Portrayed by non-professional actors, the main characters, like Bressonian models, show little emotion, and the film often feels like a study of flawed humanity shot by an observer from another planet.

Marco (Marcos Hernandez) has been a chauffeur for a General of the Army for fifteen years. His unnamed wife (Bertha Ruiz) hawks alarm clocks and pastry in a metro station. Both are middle-aged, unattractive, and overweight, the antithesis of Hollywood glamor. The film is framed by sexual acts, and explicitly realistic Dumont-like sex is sprinkled throughout, apparently designed to tweak our level of comfort rather than turn us on. As part of his job, Marcos chauffeurs the elite General's rebellious young daughter Ana (Anapola Mushkadiz) around town and he is the only one who knows about her secret life, turning tricks in a brothel. To clear the air and perhaps to receive some of her favors, Marcos admits to her that he and his wife kidnapped the baby of a friend and that the baby died accidentally.

Transcending racial taboos and class differences, Ana agrees to have sex with her driver but tells him to turn himself in to the police. Persuaded by his wife, however, he decides to wait until after the procession of Catholics to the shrine of the Lady of Guadeloupe. In Battle in Heaven, the brilliant cinematography of Diego Martinez Vignatti conveys powerful images of beauty juxtaposed with scenes of ugliness. Marcos, deep in concentration while driving on a beautiful day, is cursed and spat upon in a scene of road rage, the music of Bach's elegant Concerto in D minor blares at a tawdry gas station, and a scene of touching farewell is suddenly marred by an unspeakable crime.

Unique and disturbing, Battle in Heaven is full of shock and awe, but it is the awe that remains after the final credits. Amoral and violent, unfulfilled by sex, Marcos seeks redemption. In abject sin, hooded, crawling on his knees to the Basilica, he joins a group of marchers he once called "a flock of sheep" and, in the moment where pure light and pure darkness merge, we discover once again that grace is everywhere.


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