BATTLE IN HEAVEN, the new film from Mexican film maverick Carlos Reygadas, was pulled from its January 20th Sundance Festival screening at Park City’s Eccles Theatre when school officials found out about the film’s now-infamous scenes of graphic sex and voiced their objections to the festival. Though not a school event, the Eccles Theater is part of a complex shared with a local high school; and though no students would have been allowed to attend the screening, the 12:00 pm start time falls under the domain of normal school hours. School officials contacted the Sundance Film Festival who informed Tartan Films, the movie’s U.S. distributor, of the situation. Sundance moved quickly to relocate the first public screening to the Library Theatre. Yes, THE LIBRARY THEATRE.
This is not the first time that BATTLE IN HEAVEN, showing in the festival’s Spectrum section, has stirred controversy. When it screened in competition at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, many critics were agog at BATTLE’s opening and closing scenes of full-frontal f******o. But perhaps more remarkable than the explicitness of sex is the directness with which Reygadas addresses issues of class, race, and religion in contemporary Mexico. The film will open nationally through Tartan Films following its Sundance showings.