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Japan

Carlos Reygadas
Japón
Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, Spain  2002 / 130’

A man arrives at a tiny settlement at the base of a canyon. He has come here to end his life. But before his final act, he stops in at an elderly woman’s house. When, unexpectedly, her company awakens in him things he had not felt for a long time, he begins to see a chance for rebirth. Reygadas’ debut is unmistakably the heir of European art film tradition. But his technique is less processed and more raw than that of filmmakers like Tarkovsky or Bresson. The Mexican director likes to build increasing suspense in meticulously planned imperfections, contrasts between long steady panoramas and hand-held shots, and the stoic realism of depictions of death and sexuality. He emulates European film esthetics, but goes beyond them, developing his own eclectic genre in radical explorations of form. His ample use of religious symbolism is also an exploration – neither self-assured nor devout, it keeps its balance on the verge of blasphemy.

Krzysztof Świrek

awards

Cannes IFF 2002 – Golden Camera, Special Mention; Rio de Janeiro IFF 2002 – FIPRESCI Prize; Edinburgh IFF 2002 – New Director’s Award; Ariel Awards 2004 – Silver Ariel (Best Screenplay, Best First Work)

Carlos Reygadas

Carlos Reygadas was born in Mexico City in 1971. At university, he initially studied law with a specialization in international jurisprudence, but later rejected the lawyer’s life for a career in film. His short film debut Maxhumain first screened at an independent filmmaking competition in Belgium in 1999. Only three years later, Reygadas directed his debut feature film Japan, which he also wrote. The film turned heads among critics and received awards at festivals in Cannes, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. His second film, Battle in Heaven (2005), was a Golden Palm nominee in Cannes. As had his debut, it too stirred some controversy, yet at the same time established the director as one of Latin America’s most exciting new talents. His third feature, Silent Light (2007), showed a new maturity from Reygadas, bringing together the major recurrent themes of his work with a vision that recalls the classics of metaphysical cinema. In 2010, the director contributed the short This Is My Kingdom to the collective project Revolution, which brought together young Mexican filmmakers to present their visions of the legacy of the Mexican Revolution at its centennial. His latest film Post Tenebras Lux screened at the Cannes festival in 2012.

Although his filmography counts only four feature films thus far, Reygadas has firmly established a recognizable style. His methods are anything but complacent: he relies mainly on untrained actors, frequently incorporating spontaneous, improvised sequences in his films, but he is also a staunch believer in classical filmmaking methods. In interviews he professes a radical filmmaking vision, but one that is nevertheless rational and coherent. Reygadas demonstrates clarity of though and purpose in his creative choices – his approach to filmmaking is based on clean esthetics, intuition, and critical self-awareness.

Filmography

1999 Max / Maxhumain / Max (short)

1999 Jeńcy / Prisioneros / Prisoners (short)

2002 Japón / Japón / Japan

2004 Filmando Batalla en el cielo

2005 Bitwa w niebie / Batalla en el cielo / Battle in Heaven

2007 Ciche światło / Stellet licht / Silent Light

2010 To jest królestwo moje / Este es mi reino / This Is My Kingdom (segment in Rewolucja / Revolución / Revolution)

2012 Post tenebras lux / Post Tenebras Lux

Prepared by: Krzysztof Świrek

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Cast & Crew

director Carlos Reygadas
screenplay Carlos Reygadas
cinematography Diego Martínez Vignatti, Thierry Tronchet
editing Daniel Melguizo, Carlos Serrano Azcona, David Torres Labansat
sound Gilles Laurent, Ramón Moreira
cast Alejandro Ferretis, Magdalena Flores, Yolanda Villa, Martín Serrano, Rolando Hernández, Bernabé Pérez, Fernando Benítez, Carlos Reygadas
producer Carlos Reygadas, Jaime Romandia
production No Dream Cinema, Mantarraya Producciones, Hubert Bals Fund, Solaris Film, Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía
sales Coproduction Office
Polish distributor Gutek Film
language Spanish
colouration colour