Battle in Heaven(Batalla en el cielo)

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Re: Battle in Heaven(Batalla en el cielo)

Postby arsaib4 » Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:59 am

French critic Frdric Bonnaud on Battle in Heaven. What do you think, Trev? Looks like you have some support.

Re: Battle in Heaven(Batalla en el cielo)

Postby trevor826 » Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:08 am

Sorry but I love this comment from the review - "We still want to know why this pretty, young rich girl wants to suck off this fat, filthy guy!" one viewermy mother no lesstold me.

The thought of watching this with my mother!

I must be honest arsaib4, I'll be glad when you and others have had the chance to see and comment on it.

Cheers Trev

Re: Battle in Heaven(Batalla en el cielo)

Postby A » Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:14 pm

Yes, I want to see some more 2005 lists!
Espeially you Trev!

Re: Battle in Heaven(Batalla en el cielo)

Postby trevor826 » Fri Jan 27, 2006 8:51 pm

Battle in Heaven will get it's UK dvd release either Feb 20th or Mar 27, I think Feb is the most likely date.

Extras will feature exclusive interviews with Carlos Reygadas & Anapola Mushkadiz.

When is the US theatrical release?

Cheers Trev.

Re: Battle in Heaven(Batalla en el cielo)

Postby arsaib4 » Fri Jan 27, 2006 11:46 pm

It's scheduled for Feb. 17th.

Re: Battle in Heaven(Batalla en el cielo)

Postby trevor826 » Tue Apr 04, 2006 10:37 pm

Dvd update:

R2 Pal dvd is now available from Tartan video and the picture and sound quality are excellent. You will need a decent sound system to get the most from this (as with most modern films) and indeed one of the best aspects of the film is the way that sound is used.

As far as extras go there is a Tartan exclusive interview with the director Carlos Reygadas and one of the principal cast, Anapola Mushkadiz.

The interview covers various aspects of the film including Reygadas's inspiration, religion, Mexico and of course the sex scenes.

To the film itself. As a plot and/or character driven movie it's rankly amateurish to say the least.

As an essay on modern Mexico, class structure and religion it just about passes, where it does succeed is in its unique use of sound and vision. Whether that's enough is up to you, for me the jury's still out.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Battle in Heaven(Batalla en el cielo)

Postby arsaib4 » Wed Apr 05, 2006 2:34 am

Thanks for the info, Trev. I'm still waiting for this film.

Was Reygadas' interview helpful at all?

Re: Battle in Heaven(Batalla en el cielo)

Postby trevor826 » Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:44 am

I've watched the interview again and you don't really get anything from it that you won't get from the film itself. The main themes are obvious and the discussion frequently returns to the sex scenes.

There was an amusing anecdote discussing the sex scene between Marco and his screen wife, Reygadas had to seek permission from her real life husband (who happens to be a high ranking police official) he was more than obliging to let his wife appear in the scenes as long as Reygadas guaranteed it would be simulated.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Battle in Heaven(Batalla en el cielo)

Postby hengcs » Thu Jun 08, 2006 1:21 pm

Originally posted by Howard Schumann on 5/29/06 10:55 am

BATTLE IN HEAVEN (Battala en el Cielo)

Directed by Carlos Reygadas (2005)

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 glamour. 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.


Re: Battle in Heaven(Batalla en el cielo)

Postby A » Sun Sep 17, 2006 6:43 pm

Ok, first let me say that i don't intend to write a review on Reygadas' "Battle in Heaven", as the film seemed to adress too many important issues in a complex way, so that I don't really feel up to the tasc. Similar to my not being able to review Godard's Notre Musique (2004).
I mention this film, because I think they have much in common regarding their structure as well as being the two most explicitely political films I have seen this year. That said, I also think that Reygadas' film is vastly superior to Godard's effort and also has a sense of humor which points to Godard's work from the late 60s. Now I love Godard's films, he is one of my favorite directors, but somehow I couldn't fall in with the praise of his latest, as it seemed too much in-the-face to me, and didn't have to say much new. Now the same could be said about Reygadas' film, but I think that the execution is more multi-layered and succeeds in more aspects.
Anyway, i don't particualrly want to start a discussion about these two films and directors, but through adressing them I generally wanted to state my opinion that Reygadas' abilities as a filmmaker may be in the same league as Godard's (though of course he may have to prove this in the future).

My personal rating of Battle in Heaven corresponds with Howard's (88 out of 100, which is an A- in my book) and I also agree with everything he wrote. Besides that, I'll mention a few things, and maybe we can progress in our discussion like that.

When the movie started with the blow-job and ana shedding a tear, i thought to myself that this film would be a let down. The beginning was very pathetic and not to my liking. But after the first 15 minutes which seemed a bit like an excercise for its own sake, everything fell into place, and the beginning revealed its qualities. At the end when we return to the blow-job, which imo hasn't a direct link to the story and serves more like a framing, Reygada's intentions have been made clear, and the victim/perpetrator dichotomy has been erased. You can call the ending cynical or nihilist, but I'd call it realistic with a wicked sense of "humor", one that makes you choke because laughter doesn't offer any release out of the world depicted.
What I like about the film, is the fact that it doesn't have a "story" at all, and anybody expecting a plot which will make sense will be disappointed throughout the film (maybe that was trevor's problem?). Imo, every scene in the film is allegorical and has a lot to say about the mexican society and the human condition in general as well as the cinema and its devices. Basically it is an attack on preconceived notions and false excuses, which also comes along with its own critique. It satirizes a lot of its own attemps at false consternation, when reality is always much more complex and unsettling than any personal point of view. Interesting enough none of the characters are depicted as good or bad, they simply just are, as reygadas seems to observe some "models" of people in mexican society. The two main actors also use their own names in the movie, which imo makes the point, that none of us is excepted in this critique (not even reygadas himself!)

My favorite scene in the movie is probably the surreal moment when Ana and Marco meet an old man on a wheelchair outside of the brothel/home who is being taken care of by a foreign(?) nurse. Only through glances and one english line there are so many things expressed in a short time period, that it becomes a stunning example of reygadas' incredible abilities as a filmmaker. And this may actually be the single tongue-in-cheek meeting between marcos and his ever-present "Boss" who naturally is never revealed in the movie. Past, present and future completely merge in this scene.

And one last thing. Finally a filmmaker who treats sound as equaly important and deceptive as the image. Another lesson learned from Godard.

Now I'm really interested in some of your opinions, especially arsaib's negative take. Maybe you were repulsed by what one could interpret as Reygadas' distaste of the whole human race? Of course I wouldn't agree with that, as i think that some moments actually show not only concern for the people, but the director's love for his protagonists, even while he is condemning their actions. But maybe I didn't notice a couple of things.


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