For IFFR KINO lovers with a strong stomach: on Wednesday, 3 April, we are showing Amat Escalante’s Heli, a hard-as-nails, pitch-black drama about unavoidable violence in Amat Escalante’s totally corrupt home country of Mexico.

Protagonist Heli is a good kid who gets mixed up in drugs – but in Mexico the threat from the drugs cartels is never far away.  When Heli finds a stash of cocaine in the water tank on his house, he decides to flush it down the drain. A wrong decision that results in a barbarous kidnapping. Next day, the front door is smashed down by men in police uniforms. Father is immediately mown down, the boy and his 12-year-old sister bundled away. The girl disappears, the boy is delivered to a house where kids are gaming in front of the TV. What follows is merciless, empathetic – and not for the faint-hearted.

Escalante previously impressed with Sangre (2005) and Los bastardos (2008). Heli won him the best director award at the Cannes film festival.

Amat Escalante, 2013, Mexico, France, Germany, 105’, Spanish, English subtitles

Why now?
Amat Escalante is a real IFFR man and a major voice in Latin American cinema. Sangre, Los bastardos and Heli were all made with support from CineMart, IFFR’s international co-production market. For his most recent film, La región salvaje (2016), which screened at IFFR in 2017, he won the Silver Lion for best directing in Venice.

Wednesday, 3 April, 19:30, KINO Rotterdam