Battle in Heaven

Director: Carlos Reygadas
Screenwriters: Carlos Reygadas

Institute History

  • 2006 Sundance Film Festival


Two images, one oddly mundane and the other unforgettable: a beautiful girl performing fellatio on a flabby, middle-aged man and the ceremonial raising of the Mexican flag. Battle in Heaven has undeniably begun with intrigue.

The man turns out to be Marcos. He is a driver for the family of an army general, whose daughter—unbeknownst to them—gets her kicks working at a high-class brothel. Marcos and his wife, who also sell cakes and alarm clocks at a Mexico City underpass, have kidnapped a baby, but the child accidentally died that morning. On this fateful day, Marcos's life is sent spinning into a vortex of guilt, where redemption by any possible means is the only relief.

With Battle in Heaven (only his second feature), director Carlos Reygadas secures himself a place in the legion of hot new directors reinventing Mexican cinema today. He is distinguished from the others by enlisting his own version of honesty and integrity, with characters fortified by the soulful beauty of his filmmaking. Though at times shocking, Reygadas's unflinching visual style helps make sense of the incendiary content and raw images. Battle in Heaven is the place where art and film meet.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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