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 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.