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El infierno

A film by Luis Estrada

2010, Mexico, Comedy/Drama/Crime

 

Director Luis Estrada in attendance

Presented by Cine Las Americas and Fantastic Fest

 

 

El infierno

Dir. Luis Estrada in Attendance

México, 2010, Drama/Comedy/Crime
145 min, 35mm, Color
With: Damián Alcazar, Joaquín Cosío, Ernesto Gómez Cruz, María Rojo, Elizabeth Cervantes, Dagobeto Gama, Jorge Zárate, Daniel Gimenez Cacho

 

In Spanish with English Subtitles

 

Mexican migrant Benny García (Damian Alcázar), El Benny, gets deported back to his country after years of living in the United States, only to find his hometown transformed into a battlefield for organized crime. The bloody struggle has already claimed his younger brother’s life, and affects just about everyone’s life. Faced with no prospects, El Benny soon hooks up with his old friend El Gordo Mata, now known as El Cochiloco (Joaquín Cosío), who has risen to be a litenuant for the local crime lord Don José Reyes (Ernesto Gómez Cruz), and introuduces him to a dark world of violence, drugs, easy-money, corruption, and certain death.

Driven by the guilt of having been away for so long, and his will to help his young nephew (Kristian Ferrer), El Benny gradually becomes a professional gangster, and falls for La Cuñada (Elizabeth Cervantes), his brother’s widow. Inevitably, they all get trapped in the complex web of greed and treason rooted in the ever-powerful Reyes family, whose internal power struggles ravage the whole town with an implacably corruptive and deadly force.

Released in Mexico just two weeks before the official festivities for the bicentennial of the country’s independence, EL INFIERNO acknowledged the fact that there was nothing to celebrate. A raw, violent, darkly comical, and ultimately tragic portrait of the current war between the government and organized crime in Mexico, the film broke box office records, and raised controversy for its unapologetic satire of Mexico’s deepening social and political crisis.

Benny García (Damián Alcazar), un migrante Mexicano, es deportado de regreso a su país después de años de vivir en los Estados Unidos, sólo para encontrar que su pueblo se ha transformado en campo de batalla para el crimen organizado. La cruenta lucha ha tomado ya la vida de su hermano menor, y afecta prácticamente la vida de todos. Sin prospectos para su futuro, Benny no tarda en reencontrar a su viejo amigo el Gordo Mata, ahora conocido como el "Cochiloco" (Joaquín Cosío), quien sirve como teniente para el capo local, Don José Reyes (Ernesto Gómez Cruz), y lo inicia en un obscuro mundo de violencia, drogas, dinero facil, corrupción, y muerte segura.

Motivado por la culpa de vivr alejado tanto tiempo, y por la voluntad de ayudar a su jóven sobrino (Kristian Ferrer), Benny se convierte poco a poco en un capo profesional, y se enamora de la Cuñada (Elizabeth Cervantes), la viuda de su hermano. Inevitablemente, todos quedan atrapados en la complicada red de traición y avaricia tejida por la omnipotente familia Reyes, cuyas luchas internas de poder destruyen al pueblo entero con una implacable fuerza corruptiva y mortal.

Estrenada en México justo dos semanas antes del inicio de las festividades del bicentenario de la independencia, EL INFIERNO hace manifiesto que no hay nada que celebrar. Un retrato crudo, violento, mordaz, cómico, y finalmente trágico de la actual guerra librada por el gobierno y el crímen organizado en México, la película rompió records de taquilla, y desató controversia por su visión satírica de la cada vez más profunda crisis social y política que agobia al país.


About Luis Estrada

Luis_EstradaLuis Estrada (Mexico City, 1962) has worked in the Mexican film industry for more than 30 years. He spent his childhood and adolescence on film sets working with his father, director José “el perro” Estrada (MATEN AL LEON, LOS CACOS, LOS INDOLENTES), and studied at Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC), and also at Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos (CUEC), where he directed the short LA DIVINA LOLA (1984), winner of an Ariel for Best Short Film. He was expelled from CUEC in 1985 for directing the short VENGANCE IS MINE in English, and went to work as an assistant for directors like Arturo Ripstein, José Luis García Agraz, and Felipe Cazals.

His first feature, the thriller CAMINO LARGO A TIJUANA (1989), marked the beginning of his early partnerships with then aspiring director Alfonso Cuarón (Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, CHILDREN OF MEN), and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (THE TREE OF LIFE).

A cinephile and die hard fan of genre film, Estrada followed with BANDIDOS (1991), a Western situated during the Mexican revolution starring a full cast of children, which also marked his first collaboration with screenwriter Jaime Sampietro, with whom he has worked ever since. The film also featured a young Guillermo del Toro as a special make-up effects artist. AMBAR (1994) was an excursion into the realm of fantasy, which earned four Ariel Awards including best Cinematography for Lubezki; and it was nominated for Best Film at the Sitges Film Festival.

In 1999, on the verge of the presidential elections that brought down the PRI party after more than 70 years in power, Estrada delivered LA LEY DE HERODES (HEROD’S LAW). A first installment of what is now his trilogy about socio-political corruption in Mexico, the film portrays the rise and fall of an ambitious political player during the 1950s. LA LEY DE HERODES suffered a frustrated censorship attempt that resulted in a lot of free publicity for the film, and established Estrada’s voice as a fearless critic of the political system in Mexico, and as an important independent director still working in the country as many talented filmmakers were migrating to Hollywood.

UN MUNDO MARAVILLOSO (A WONDERFUL WORLD) was released to greater expectations in 2006. By then, the disappointments with the new party in power (PAN) were evident, and Estrada extended his “political fable” format into a contemporary story that criticized both the conservative and neo-liberal political class, as well as the less privileged members of Mexican society.

The last installment of the trilogy is the critically acclaimed EL INFIERNO (2010). A raw, violent, darkly comical, and ultimately tragic portrait of the current war between the government and organized crime in Mexico, the film broke box office records in Mexico, and raised accolades for its uncompromising look at a country at war with itself, increasingly devoid of ideals amid a deeply corrupted political system.

Luis Estrada is a unique director in Mexican cinema today. While the country has seen an explosion of young talent in recent years, Estrada continues to develop a distinct voice, working independently with almost no international co-production, and constantly challenging the establishment while producing clearly commercial work. Unfortunately, there is no end in sight for the themes and events that have inspired his most accomplished work, but now that Estrada has successfully competed his trilogy, all stakes are in the future.

Eugenio del Bosque – Cine Las Americas


Film Credits


Cast

Damián Alcázar - Benny García
Joaquín Cosio - El Cochiloco
Ernesto Gómez Cruz - Don José Reyes
María Rojo - Doña Mari Reyes
Elizabeth Cervantes - La Cuñada
Daniel Giménez Cacho - Capitán Ramírez
Jorge Zárate - El Huasteco
Salvador Sánchez - El Padrino
Angelina Peláez - Mamá García
Kristian Ferrer - El Sobrino
Dagoberto Gama - El Sargento
Mauricio Isaac - El J.R.
Alejandro Calva - Jefe de Policía
Emilio Guerrero - El Alcalde
Silverio Palacios - Hermanos Cucaracha
Mario Almada - El Texano
Isela Vega - Doña Rosaura
Daniel Martínez - Oficial Mendoza
Alfonso Figueroa - La Muñeca



Crew

Directed by Luis Estrada
Writers: Luis Estrada and Jaime Sampietro
Producers: Sandra Solares, Luis Estrada, Carlos Estrada, Juan Uruchurtu
Cinematographer: Damian Garcia
Editors: Mariana Rodríguez
Original Music: Michael Brook
Sound Design: Pablo Lach
Special Effects: Alejandro Vázquez
Casting: Claudia Becker, Sandra León Becker
Production Designers: Salvador Parra, Maria Jose Pizarro
Costume Designers: Gabriela Fernandez, María Estela Fernández

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EXCLUSIVE CINE LAS AMERICAS SCREENING: Free for Cine Las Americas Film Festival badge holders

Fri. September 23, 2 PM*


Other screenings:

Friday, September 23. 5:30 PM

Saturday, September 24, 11:15 AM

Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar
1120 South Lamar Blvd. [Map]

 

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