Carlos Reygadas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Carlos Reygadas
Carlos Reygadas Tokyo Intl Filmfest 2009.jpg
Reygadas at the Tokyo International
Filmfest in 2009
Born (1971-10-10) October 10, 1971 (age 43)
Mexico City, Mexico
Occupation Film director, producer and screenwriter
Years active 1997 - present

Carlos Reygadas (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkarlos reiˈɣaðas]; born October 10, 1971) is a Mexican filmmaker known for the four films Japón (2002; "Japan"), Batalla en el Cielo (2005; "Battle in Heaven"), Luz Silenciosa (2007; "Silent Light"), and Post Tenebras Lux (2012; "Light After Darkness"). Reygadas has become one of the most prominent writer–directors of modern Mexican cinema. He is also somewhat notorious for his raw depictions of sex and for portraying actors in physically unflattering ways.

Reygadas' films explore spirituality and the sublime through the interior lives of men suffering existential crises. He has shot all but one of his films in CinemaScope. With Silent Light, Reygadas competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, and finally came away as winner of the Jury Prize.[1] At the 2008 "Ariels"—the Mexican Motion Picture Academy awards—the film was nominated for nine awards, including all the major categories.

American director Martin Scorsese described Silent Light, set in a historic Mennonite community in Chihuahua, Mexico, as "a surprising picture, and a very moving one as well."[2]

Reygadas received the award for Best Director at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival for his film Post Tenebras Lux.


In 1987 Reygadas became fascinated by films at age 16 watching the films of the Soviet/Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (1932–1986). He went to Britain for university, attending Mount St Mary's College, Derbyshire, and returned to Mexico to study law. Afterward, he specialized in armed conflicts in London and worked for the United Nations.

In 1997, Reygadas entered a film competition in Belgium with his first short film, Maxhumain. Shortly after that, in 1999, he began writing his first long film, Japón, which he did not begin to shoot until 2001. The film was presented at the Rotterdam Film Festival and received a special mention for the Caméra d'Or award at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, as well as the Coral Award of the Havana Film Festival.

In 2004, Carlos Reygadas produced with his long-time partner, Jaime Romandía, the film Sangre. It was directed by the young filmmaker Amat Escalante. Presented at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, it won in the Un Certain Regard section. It was also presented in other festivals, such as the Toulouse Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the San Sebastian International Film Festival, and the Austin Film Festival.

In 2005 Reygadas filmed Batalla en el Cielo (Battle in Heaven), assisted by Amat Escalante. The film gained worldwide notoriety for its graphic sex. It competed for the Palme d’Or at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.[3]

In 2007 Reygadas filmed Silent Light, which went on to win the Jury Prize at Cannes. It is very highly regarded by American filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who considers it a masterpiece of modern cinema.[citation needed]

Working with the Spanish director and producer Jaime Rosales (Fresdeval Films), in 2009 Reygadas co-produced and co-edited the film El árbol (The Tree). This Spanish-Mexican co-production was directed by Carlos Serrano Azcona; it starred Bosco Sodi, a contemporary artist, as the main character. It was presented at the 2009 Rotterdam Film Festival.

In early 2010, Reygadas announced plans at the Berlin Film Festival for his next feature film, titled Post Tenebras Lux. A semi-autobiographical fiction film, he said it is about "feelings, memories, dreams, things I've hoped for, fears, facts of my current life."[citation needed] Reygadas also said of the film, "reason will intervene as little as possible, like an expressionist painting where you try to express what you're feeling through the painting rather than depict what something looks like."[citation needed] It was shot in Mexico, Britain, Spain, and Belgium, all places where Reygadas has lived. At the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, Reygadas won the Best Director Award for the film.[4]

Animal cruelty in Japón[edit]

Japón contains a number of scenes of filmed animal cruelty; the British Board of Film Classification demanded cuts for its UK release in accordance with the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937. The excised scenes are described as showing an effort to kill a bird by wringing its neck; it stumbles around, injured. A dog is forced to "sing" along with a song by being given a painful stimulus.[5] The film also includes a directly filmed scene of a bird being shot down and killed by having its head torn off; it has audio content of the (off-camera) slaughter of a pig.[6]

Reygadas defended these scenes, as well as the explicit sexual scenes in Batalla en el Cielo, saying,

"If you think about it, what’s so outrageous about a naked obese woman? There are plenty of astonishing images in other films with flying cars and such… What you find in my films you see any ordinary day: a gas station, a hunter killing an animal, people making love. I’m not trying to impress anyone with those images; they make sense in the context of my films."[7]


Year Original title English title Production country Language Length Award nominations
1999 Maxhumain MaxHumain Belgium Silent 10 min
2002 Japón Japón Mexico Spanish 130 min Directors Fortnight – "Special Mention" Camara d'Òr Award
2005 Batalla en el Cielo Battle in Heaven Mexico, France, Germany Spanish 105 min Cannes Film Festival "In Competition"
2007 Luz Silenciosa (aka Stellet Licht) Silent Light Mexico, France, Germany, Netherlands Plautdietsch 110 min Cannes Film Festival "In Competition" Jury Prize Award
2010 Este es mi Reino This is my Kingdom Mexico Spanish 10 min Berlin Film Festival
2012 Post Tenebras Lux Post Tenebras Lux Mexico, France, Germany, Netherlands Spanish 110 min Cannes Film Festival "In Competition" Best Director Award.


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Silent Light". Retrieved 2009-12-20. 
  2. ^ "Silent Light", Film Forum website
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Battle in Heaven". Retrieved 2009-12-05. 
  4. ^ "Awards 2012". Cannes. Retrieved 2012-05-27. 
  5. ^ Japon - Alejandro Ferretis, Magdalena Flores, Yolanda Villa
  6. ^ Austin360 Movies: Japon Reviews - Los Angeles Times
  7. ^ Castillo, José 'Carlos Reygadas', BOMB Magazine, Spring 2010, retrieved December 20, 2012

External links[edit]