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Category:    Home > Interviews > Drama > Foreign > Mexico > Erotic > Anapola Mushkadiz (Battle In Heaven) Interview

An Interview with Anapola Mushkadiz, star of the motion picture Battle In Heaven (Batalla en el cielo/2005) out on DVD from Tartan Home Video.



Nicholas Sheffo – FulvueDrive-in.com:  Hello.  Your new film Battle In Heaven deals with a young lady from a good military family who leads a double life involved in working at an expensive brothel.  Very controversial for its sexual aspects, as well as socio-political implications, the film has gained a reputation for controversy and risk-taking.  It seems to me that slowly but surely, a sort of Mexican New Wave is building.  Do you see that?


Anapola Mushkadiz:  Yes.  Mexico right now is an amazing place to live.  60 years ago, there was a major music boom, which is now happening again these past few years in all the arts.  Musicians in the country are playing worldwide.  People in and out of the country are being very supportive, but especially in film.


Fulvue: As a quick aside, what do you think of Robert Rodriguez as filmmaker; since he is the best know of his generation?


AM: His work is not my kind of cinema, the kind that I adore, but I like how he is taking Mexico with him in what he does.


Fulvue: He is more of a genre filmmaker, Horror, Action, Noir, as opposed to making features that exceed genres, as good as his work is.


AM: Right.


Fulvue: Part of this is being able to deal with humans, people and sexuality in a more direct way.  You were quoted as saying sex and nudity are big taboos today, but it was not that long ago that even Hollywood cinema was able to handle the subject quite well, and on a normal basis.


AM:  I do not even think of the relations as sex first, which is the problem.  Instead, it is sex beyond sex.


Fulvue: Versus sex as a gaudy Las Vegas nightclub act, something manufactured and plastic as you have said?


AM:  Right, not the usual scene, but with a deeper emotion and more honest, realistic.


Fulvue:  It seems there was a real regression in this respect in Hollywood cinema of the 1980s.  Do you see that too?


AM:  Yes.  The sex is no longer sex.  First you had porn that objectified things, private things, then home video came in and then DVD.


Fulvue:  Which helped sell those formats initially.


AM:  But there is no real human nature in any of that, which misses some amazing things.  To think just 50 – 60 years ago we were just starting to explore these things, as in the films of filmmakers like Pasolini.  They made films about people and the sexuality was with the intimacy.


Fulvue:  It seems like there is too much shallow sex and anything resembling real human intimacy is too much for mass media to suddenly handle.


AM:  One way or another, it is not art.


Fulvue:  Well, with the censorship-crazy people on the Politically Correct Left and Radical Right in the U.S. cutting into freedom of expression, this is not helping the situation at all.


AM:  No it is not.  A piece of art, like it or not, is not made of you.  Art is not just supposed to be seen through one eye, but has to be done so that everything you can talk about and show; everything imaginable is out there.  People should not take those kinds of things that personal.  They need to give art its space.


Fulvue:  There are critics who analyze and overanalyze films.  Since you are a lady in an intimate position in the film with a male director, the immediate feminist criticism will be that you were being objectified or used by a man intentionally or not, and that this would be sexist by default.  What was it like to work with director Carlos Reygadas?


AM:  Great!  He gives good direction without restricting the actors.  For instance, if he simply told someone to look at a window, he left it at that, allowing the actors to use their judgment and abilities to decide where to go from there.


Fulvue:  Nice to have a director who gives actors their space.  This then translates into how well he would handle human intimacy?


AM:  Yes.  There is the rude, real cold version of sex versus the real, for real beauty of human intimacy and contact.  A more instinctual, natural approach.


Fulvue:  Like in 1960s cinema?


AM:  Again, going back 60 years ago.  There is a Mexican position in cinema, a new move that is defining itself as never before.


Fulvue:  What about the issue of film vs. video?  Do you find video of any sort a bit weird when it comes to shooting people?


AM:  Yes, a bit weird.  I still have my typewriter.  (Laughs.)  A challenge for people who start using digital, though it is going into amazing places, is to get texture and atmosphere into the work.  It needs to get into the digital.  You can go through history in film, but digital always looks new, with no age to it.


Fulvue:  That’s not good.  Even when video ages, it is over a slower period.  Not only does it often have that phony new, live TV look, it is a bit phony in a generic sense.


AM:  I agree, people should not only go for technology, like digital.  We need both sides of the coin.  Film offers so much video and digital cannot and do not.


Fulvue:  The automatic thing I always hear is that video will catch up.  Why wait?  It is a bad argument and you can have happy accidents with film you never get in digital or video.


AM:  Right.


Fulvue:  Which brings me to your cinematographer Diego Martinez Vignatti, who plays a soccer player in the film at one point.  He shot the film on film.  What can you tell me about him and his work?


AM:  Diego met Carlos in Belgium and they shared their work with each other, then they hit it off and that is how they came to collaborate on our film.


Fulvue:  Now many filmmakers who are shooting on film are actually gutting out the color [through DI/Digital Internegative] to make color films look like bad black and white.  How does this figure in Battle In Heaven?


AM:  It was not that way at all, the total opposite.  They were great about color, all the way to choosing clothes very carefully as part of color palette.  That was so wonderful about working with them, because we do not see this enough.


Fulvue:  That sounds great.  It seems because of video, too many of the new directors and cameramen are afraid of color, have a sort of “color-phobia” and that just adds to the generic nature of most of what we see too often.  That has to get in the way of the intimacy we discussed.


AM:  Yes.


Fulvue:  Miss Mushkadiz, I wanted to thank you again for taking the time to do this interview with us.  We look forward to seeing Battle In Heaven on Tartan Video and a review for it will follow on the site any day now.  Good luck with the film and your career.  Please keep in touch.


AM:  Thank you.


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