Carlos Reygadas’ spectacularly grandiose follow-up to the startling Japón turns the struggle for the soul of its protagonist into an epic art-porn critique on the role of religion in Mexican life.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
Carlos Reygadas’ follow-up to the startling Japón ambitiously turns the struggle for the soul of its protagonist into an epic critique on the role of religion in Mexican life in oppressing the lower class. Many masterpieces have been booed at Cannes. Reygadas’ film, about a general’s driver and his wife who bungle a kidnap, isn’t one of them. But it is a provocative mix of hardcore religion and art-porn which, judging by the amount of attention it is receiving long after its stormy première, is still something of a cause célèbre. It’s easy to see why the film is so thoroughly disliked. It is sledgehammer filmmaking that shouts it greatness at you, but thankfully there is much to enjoy in the masterful, beautifully shot, almost documentary-like sequences focused around not just religion but such pillars of Mexican society as the military and football. It may be a deeply muddled and pretentious film, but it’s very much a big screen experience and we know that there are plenty of Japón fans out there who will want to witness its spectacular grandiosity for themselves.