Violent drug war drama shocks Cannes Film Festival audience with explicit bloodshed, torture

Director Escalante vying for coveted Palme d'Or

CANNES, France - The Cannes Film Festival has had its first shock to the system -- Mexican director Amat Escalante's unsparingly violent drug war drama "Heli."
 
The movie paints a bleak picture of the devastation wreaked by narco-violence on an ordinary Mexican family.
 
Some audience members and critics balked at its explicit bloodshed, which includes a long scene of torture. Variety described it as "accomplished but singularly unpleasant."
 
But the director said Thursday that he had a duty to depict the violence that has killed thousands of Mexicans.
 
He says that "the responsibility is to show violence how it should be -- sad and unpleasant and very dirty and a nightmare."
 
The 34-year-old Escalante is the youngest of 20 directors competing for Cannes' coveted Palme d'Or, which will be awarded May 26.

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