A Playlist by Amat Escalante
By Carina Tamer

The Genius of Amat Escalante Mexican drug lords, hanging bodies and sexual trauma are part of the violent, bewildering elements in Amat Escalante’s filmmaking arsenal. This 35-year old Mexican director, a protégé of Carlos Reygadas, is part of the generation redefining the horror, thriller genre. Escalante’s genius comes from his stunning balance between perversion and pleasure, all while tackling political, social and moral corruption.

Heli( (2013); Directed by Amat Escalante

His feature film Heli, a gruesome rendition about the ravages of drug trafficking in Mexico, earned him the award for Best Director at Cannes Film Festival in 2013. He was also awarded the Silver Lion for Best Director at the 2016 Venice Film Festival for his film The Untamed, an eerie, erotic sci-fi drama about homophobia, misogyny, and bodily entanglements. Escalante is also the director of the second season of Narcos:Mexico (2020).  Amat Escalante’s cinematic achievement is his unique ability to channel obscenity, disgust, and outrage as a mechanism for social commentary. The perversion and nausea his film’s create echo the reality of reading a Mexican newspaper headline. Monsters with phallic tentacles, dead bodies off bridges, and body parts on fire serve as a chilling reminder: nightmare is reality in contemporary Mexico.   Argo has teamed up with this pioneer in Mexican cinema to create a playlist of erratic short films that teeter between the bizarre and the profound. Here are Amat’s hand-selected favorite shorts   Watch now on ARGO.      OLLA (Dir. Ariane Labed) A strange, yet poetic mix of contradictions between existential dread and animalistic sexuality . “A mail-ordered bride ruffles the feathers in French Suburbia.”   Watch now on ARGO.       LIBELULA (FIREFLY) (Dir. Jose Pablo Escamilla) A slow-burning story about the muffled cries of a boy wrestling with rejection . Lucas gives his family a wake-up call amidst feelings of invisibility and sibling exclusion. Sometimes it seems impossible to be heard by the ones closest to you. Watch now on ARGO.           MISTERS (WITHOUT BLAME)  (Dir. Annalisa Quagliata) Misters (Without Blame) or Nores (Sin Senalar) is a trance-inducing reminder about the growing violence in the state of Veracruz. A nightmare that repeats over and over again.      Watch now on ARGO.         HIPOLITA (Dir. Everado Felipe) An odd, bizarre short with a nuanced message about self-acceptance. Little yellow Irving faces his monsters but soon discovers true freedom.        Watch now on ARGO.