Mexico Submits Cannes Award Winner ‘Heli’ for 2014 Oscars

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HeliI’ve added three more films to the list of contenders for the Best Foreign Language category at the 2014 Oscars with Poland submitting Andrzej Wajda‘s Walesa, the Philippines submit Hannah Espia‘s Transit and Mexico has entered Amat Escalante‘s Heli, which won the young helmer Best Director honors at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

I caught the ultra-violent film in Cannes earlier this year and it is a truly striking piece of cinema. Here’s how I opened my review:

The first thing anyone is sure to notice in Amat Escalante’s Heli is Lorenzo Hagerman’s cinematography. The film opens with the sole of a boot pressed against a young man’s face as he is bleeding, bound, gagged and lay flat on the bed of a moving truck. Next to him is another young man whose face we cannot see. All we hear is the creaking of the truck as it rolls down a dirt round in an unspecified Mexican town.

All in one shot, the camera slowly pans up and moves into the cab of the truck as the sun beams in over the horizon. It’s a beautiful shot and I couldn’t help but be reminded of how film limits our knowledge of what’s going on based on what we see. Only minutes earlier we were looking at a grisly scene and now, through the front window, the scene appears as innocent as anything else. Innocence as it turns out, is at the heart of this film as the fate of the two boys, and many other young children in Mexico like them, are to become the story of Heli.

You can read my full review right here.

This brings the total number of films submitted into this year’s Foreign Language race to 35 and you can browse the full list right here.