Batalla en el Cielo

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

The film La Batalla en el Cielo shows an interest in the mundane activities of daily life as each shot is filmed for a prolonged period of time in order to create the allusion that the activities are unfolding and taking place right before the audience. This style and technique seems to be contagious among contemporary films, especially those that try to catch the essence of a place. Sophia Coppola’s long extended exposures in the films Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette remind me of this film because the main objective of the director is to underscore the beauty in everyday life.
However I believe it was the director’s intention to humanize Marco by showing him in his routine yet this also built up the mystery, emotion and anticipation for what was to come next. As Marco meditates on the situation, we too are forced to meditate on situation and those events that have already taken place. On the other hand, Marco is zapped of emotion and therefore we only know him from an outsider’s perspective since we only know what he tells us. This creates a relationship between Marco and the spectator, which in itself is realistic because we only know as much as any other character within the plot.
The audience seems to take on the role as a flâneur, which is someone who literally takes in the sights of the city by strolling around. This term over time has accumulated a lot of significance, but specifically refers to the understanding of urban phenomena and modernity. This term seems to encapsulate the essence of this film, as the spectator does not assume any kind of authority over any of the other characters within the plot. Therefore we are left to our own interpretations about the characters. As a result the film is abstract and not easily accessible. More often than not, the director wants to control the spectator’s gaze but in this case we are at a loss. The film reminded me of an abstract painting in which there is no focal point. The film seems to take on an organic medium, as well as the potential for a number of interpretations.
On the other hand, this style of film makes it difficult to engage with the characters because they are somewhat flat in their depictions. It is necessary to remain patient with the characters and the development of the plot because otherwise the film seems pointless. The director also shows interest in the human body, which also seems to go hand in hand with the film’s organic quality. The bodies in the film vary in shape and size and simultaneously reveal the raw beauty of society and Mexico, even its darker, seedier elements. It is interesting that while Ana, presents part of the elite class, her body also reflects society’s ideals. In contrast, Marco, who is once referred to as “gordito” presents the lower class and his body reflects those parts of Mexico City that the society attempts to conceal.


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