Amat Escalante • Mexico • 2008 • A crime film recalling Haneke and Bruno Dumont.
Jesus and Fausto have left their families behind in Mexico, trying to carve out a better future in El Norte. Like the rest of the day-laboring migrant workers who gather each morning on a southwestern American strip mall sidewalk looking for a few hours’ work, instead of getting ahead, they are subjected to brutal working conditions and daily humiliations. With little choice left, they agree to take a job holding an American housewife for ransom.
Steeped in an atmosphere of dread, Los Bastardos counters the North American dream of prosperity with a harsh landscape dominated by violence and greed. Co-produced by Carlos Reygadas (Silent Light, Battle in Heaven), Amat Escalante’s second film premiered at Cannes, Rotterdam, Mar del Plata, and Bratislava, where it won Best Director.