Batalla en el cielo
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Battle in Heaven (2005) More at IMDbPro »Batalla en el cielo (original title)

2014 | 2012 | 2006 | 2005

3 items from 2005

Lee, Clooney on new list for non-Euro noms

15 November 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

COLOGNE -- Ang Lee's cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain and George Clooney's '50s era political drama Good Night, And Good Luck are among the nominees disclosed Tuesday for Best Non-European Film at the European Film Awards. The European Film Academy also announced nominations for Jim Jarmusch's sardonic comedy Broken Flowers and Paul Higgis' Crash, an unblinking look at race relations in Los Angeles. Other nominees include Fernando Meirelles' adaptation of John le Carre's The Constant Gardener; Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallee's coming-of-age feature C.R.A.Z.Y.; Sarah Watt's Aussie drama Look Both Ways; Gavin Hood's Tsotsi, an expose of South African gang life; and Carlos Reygadas' sexually explicit Cannes competition entry Battle In Heaven. »

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'Broken Flowers' in San Sebastian sidebar

26 August 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

MADRID -- The 53rd annual San Sebastian International Film Festival announced Friday that it has brought together 12 favorites of the past festival season for its Zabaltegi-Festival Top sidebar. The section includes Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers and Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know. Other films included are: Woody Allen's Match Point, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato's Inside Deep Throat, Hany Abu-Assad's Paradise Now and Carlos Reygadas' Batalla en el Cielo. Abel Ferrara's Mary will open the event. »

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Battle in Heaven (Batalla en el Cielo)

18 May 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Carlos Reygades' Batalla en el Cielo was one of the highly touted Competition film as the Festival de Cannes got under way, but it proves to be a disappointing turn-off. The film deliberately works against most cinematic expectations.

Actors -- or to be accurate, nonactors -- do not even try to communicate any meaning. Scenes are drained of emotions. The cityscape of modern-day Mexico City is observed with documentarylike scrutiny but without any particular point of view.

Batalla en el Cielo -- or Battle in Heaven -- may win more festival dates, but despite the inclusion of graphic though unerotic sex scenes it will be tough to find an audience for a film so determined to puzzle and annoy but not to enlighten.

The movie opens with a scene of fellatio involving a young, attractive woman and an overweight, older and unattractive man. We later learn that Marcos (Marcos Hernandez) works for Ana's father and has been her chauffeur since she was in grade school. Ana (Anapola Mushkadiz) works in a brothel, less for the money, which she clearly does not need, than for the need or thrill of prostituting herself.

Marcos and his doltish wife (Berta Ruiz) have apparently kidnapped the baby of a friend for ransom but the infant has accidentally died. Marcos confesses this to Ana, which he says makes him feel better. Hard to tell though since Reygadas has actors deliver lines in monotones while posed compositionally in awkward and unrealistic postures. The exception is Mushkadiz, who is allowed to act naturally.

The scenes between Marcos and his wife are the stiffest in the film. Their lovemaking scene challenges us not to feel sorry for the actors.

Diego Martinez Vignatti's camera often holds a single static angle for awhile, yet other times indulges in hey-look-at-me tracking shots and one 360-degree panorama of the city. Reygadas ratchets up ambient sounds sometimes to ear-splitting noise levels. Source music ranging from pop to liturgical is often designed to clash with a particular scene.

The strongest character is Mexico City itself. Shot on gray days or with overexposure, the city comes off as soulless as the other personalities in the movie only its congestion, pollution and noise seem to induce a zombielike insanity in the characters.

Catholic and Christian symbols and paintings are everywhere, but religion seems to have no impact on the amoral fools that populate this film.

The act of violence that serves as a climax is as senseless as everything that has gone before it. The movie ends where it began with a final shot of the fellatio artist doing what she does best.


BAC Films

Credits: Writer/director: Carlos Reygadas; Producers: Philippe Bober, Carlos Reygadas, Jaime Romandia, Susanne Marian; Director of photography: Diego Martinez Vignatti; Editors: Benjamin Mirguet, Adoracion G. Elipe, Nicolas Schmerkin. Cast: Marcos: Marcos Hernandez; Ana: Anapola Mushkadiz; Marcos' wife: Berta Ruiz; David: David Bornstein; Viky: Rosalinda Ramirez.

No MPAA rating, running time 98 minutes.


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