Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Escalante presents a cocktail of violence, social networks and fame in Mexico at Cannes

Mexican director Amat Escalante (C) with actor Juan Daniel Garcia and actress Esther Exposito at the presentation of “Lost in the Night” in Cannes on May 19, 2023.

The violence is being shot from a “crunchier” angle. This is what Mexican filmmaker Amat Escalante is looking for with his films, such as “Lost at Night,” where he combines celebrities, social networks and the mining industry to tell the tragedy of the disappearances.

In the film presented at Cannes out of competition, Emiliano, a young man with precarious jobs, desperately searches for his mother, a teacher opposed to a mining operation who disappeared a few years earlier.

The protagonist is willing to do anything to find his whereabouts, which includes working at the home of a family of famous artists who according to him are involved in crime.

With very careful, stylized images, but which directly show violence, Escalante develops the story between the wealthy family and Emiliano in the form of a thriller.

“There’s a way that’s more common in cinema of filming violence and I think what I try to do is approach it from a more raw angle, an angle that we’re not used to seeing acts of violence , when it happens,” he says. filmmaker in an interview with AFP this Friday.

Unlike Hollywood, where it’s more about emotion, he says, “For me violence is the opposite of being upbeat. It’s very sad and I’m interested in showing it in a more honest way.”

Escalante returns to Cannes a decade after competing for the Palme d’Or with “Haley,” which tells the story of a teenager who falls in love with a young police officer implicated in a money embezzlement case. He got the award for Best Direction.

– “Optical illusion” –

The filmmaker started thinking about “Lost at Night” from the Ayotzinpah case, in which 43 students disappeared in 2014. Although time passed and he made another film in between, he continued with the idea.

It is shot in the state of Guanajato (centre), one of the most violent in the country, and where Escalante himself lives.

In “Lost at Night”, the wealthy family that welcomes Emiliano moves in artistic circles: she is a famous singer and he is a controversial artist who has worked with corpses.

He was interested in portraying this family to show it to people who would never think they had anything to do with this violence.

But, in his opinion, everyone is involved, although “it is easy to think that we are oblivious to it.” “We are part of the system and we have to question why it is not working,” insists the 44-year-old filmmaker.

As a Mexican creator, Escalante also wonders whether it is legitimate to talk about violence and use it, in a certain way, as a source of inspiration, in a country like hers.

“I think there is a certain responsibility to talk about certain issues (of violence), but at the same time you are using those issues,” says the director, born in Barcelona but of Mexican nationality. “I was interested in that paradox, the inconvenience of using tragedy as a narrative device for inspiration.”

Social networks also play an important role in the story. Although they are not dangerous for Escalante, they represent a new medium whose consequences we do not know.

“This is something very new, very powerful, that we can’t fully dimension yet,” he cautioned. On the other side of the screen, “there are a lot of optical illusions, an alternate reality in which one can sometimes get lost.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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