Batalla en el Cielo

Posted by: | February 11, 2009 | Comments Off on Batalla en el Cielo

This film was very interesting to watch, despite its prolonged depictions of apparently mundane events.  There was such a lack of dialogue, which was refreshing and disconcerting at the same time for me; it is refreshing because it seems more honest (for lack of a better word), seeing as we are not always talking, especially about precisely the things the audience wants to hear, and we don’t always have eloquent or well-put-together things to say, even though this occurs in so many films.  It is disconcerting, because we are used to getting more information about what is going on, and we feel uncomfortable, hence, with such long silences, which make us wonder at what is happening/being depicted. I, for one, wish we knew why they had kidnapped a little boy and what exactly had happened, whether Jaime knows about Ana and Marcos, what happened to make her want to be with him, etc.  Yet at the same time it is intriguing that the director leaves these out.  Much like there are not always explanations for the things we witness every day. I enjoyed the photography and sound design in this film – especially in the airport towards the beginning, where as they walk through, you hear the music and ambient noise change and they pass different shops, etc.

This film did a lot to make the audience uncomfortable, perhaps to make them think and consider their reality? Among other things, it spends an extraordinarily long time focusing on Ana and Marcos’ oral sex in the beginning, shaking the audience out of complacent, passive viewing within the first scene.  Later, things such as an obese couple having sex, Marcos wetting himself, the long takes of sex or naked bodies… and finally, the long silences throughout the film… these all contribute to this uncomfortability.

Before we saw this film, I had read reviews and found that people either loved it or hated it.  I find myself somewhere in between – appreciating its honesty and its unconventionality and interested in the cinematography on the one hand, but, like I said, a bit disconcerted by the silence, the grotesque images, the lack of explanation of people’s actions, etc.  The discussion on Thursday should prove quite interesting.


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