Tale of Mexican drug violence rattles Cannes

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CANNES, France (AP) — 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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