PROD Jaime Romandia, Carlos Reygadas, Amat Escalante
SCR Amat Escalante, Gabriel Reyes
CAM Lorenzo Hagerman
ED Natalia López
PROD DES Daniela Schneider
PROD CO Mantarraya Films / Tres Tunas / Nodream Cinema
Blue Is the Warmest Colour certainly wasn’t the only cause célèbre at Cannes this spring. The Steven Spielberg-helmed jury also courted controversy by awarding Best Director to Amat Escalante for this unflinching tale ripped from Mexico’s blood-soaked headlines. When teenagers Beto and Estela scheme to fund their elopement by peddling some stolen cocaine, the would-be bride’s well-intentioned brother Heli (Armando Espitia) is left to endure the brutal blowback. Recognizing that horrors of Mexico’s drug war demand our attention, Escalante crafts a brazenly confrontational film that simply refuses to be ignored. Not a punch is pulled; Heli is every bit as unshakeable as it should be.
"New Wave Mexican style: raw, gritty, and force fed… Creeping paranoia seeps into even the most innocuous moment, so the film functions as clammy thriller as well as poetic agitprop. [Escalante] has shot a damning indictment of contemporary Mexico, capturing its institutionalised corruption, its endemic cruelty. What makes it palatable are the grace notes: a cowboy with the curliest boots in the world, a Ray Cooney-ish reveal from a lady cop, a scene in which Beto proves his machismo to Estela by bench-pressing her. Squint, and the title makes more sense. Shut your eyes entirely to its horrors and you’ll really miss out."—Catherine Shoard, Guardian