Mexican director uses fantasy creature to explore how we relate to sex

Mon Sep 5, 2016 11:51am EDT
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By Agnieszka Flak and Sarah Mills

VENICE (Reuters) - Director Amat Escalante uses a fantasy creature to explore the sometimes ambiguous relationship people have with sex in his film "La Region Salvaje" (The Untamed), which had its premiere at the Venice film festival on Monday.

The drama tells the story of Alejandra, a young mother of two, played by Ruth Ramos, whose boorish husband Angel, portrayed by Jesus Meza, has an affair with her gay brother, Fabian.

Their family triangle gets twisted further when the mysterious Veronica arrives on the scene and introduces Alejandra and Fabian to the octopus-like creature she is hooked on and challenges them to embrace their animal instincts.

Mexican Escalante said the creature was a better way than crude reality to embody the relationship people have with sex, seeking its basic pleasures but also looking down on it as something perverse.

"At the moment Mexico and many other parts in the world are in a situation where you want to look for another answer to things ... because reality is too much in a way right now," the 37-year-old director told Reuters in an interview.

"Once you've encountered this thing that is scary and grotesque, dirty, perhaps, it liberates you because maybe it is not what it seems, maybe it's not so scary, it's actually freeing, it makes you complete."

Ramos said doing nude scenes in front of so many people was not easy at first, but she also cherished the experience of learning how to move and match the special effects.

"The creature represents the subjectivity when talking about love and sex," she said. "Some find it crude and ugly ... while others like it."   Continued...

Director Amat Escalante, Best Director award winner for the film "Heli", poses during a photocall after being awarded at the closing ceremony of the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 26, 2013.          REUTERS/Regis Duvignau