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(aka "The Bastards" or "Les batards")


directed by Amat Escalante
Mexico/France/USA 2008


Jesus (Jesus Moises Rodriguez) and teenage Fausto (Rubén Sosa) are two illegal immigrants among many looking for work in Home Depot parking lots and on the side of roads. Today, however, they've been offered a lucrative job: they've been paid and armed with a sawed-off shotgun to invade the home of single mother Karen (Nina Zavarin, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM) while her son Trevor (Trevor Glen Campbell) is out with friends. The job does not go smoothly since they are as ambiguous about killing her; however, Karen can only remain passive for so long (and through so much) and the indignities of the day (and every other day) are wearing thin on Jesus and Fausto.

Although not as tense as the above synopsis might imply, LOS BASTARDOS is still an unsettling view with a shockingly violent finale. I have not seen director Amat Escalante's SANGRE, but I would have to say here that Escalante is to an extent aping mentor Carlos Reygadas here in terms of compositions and long takes; and it doesn't always work. The three central characters are never really human enough for Escalante's distanced ovservational approach to work; thus, scenes depicting the soul-crushing daily routines of these characters feel more needlessly expository than thematic. Effective use is made of the bowing distortion of the anamorphic lenses - seemingly chosen for that off-kilter effect than for coverage in the practical locations - and Escalante (who also edited) achieves the film's shocking climactic act almost through sleight-of-hand with a jump cut while our attention is subtly misdirected (misdirected may even be the wrong word since what we are focusing on is just as important an element of the shot). Despite this, one may come out of the pessimistic other side of the film thinking: "well, so what..."

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 31 July 2009 (Mexico), 28 January 2009 (France), 30 June 2009 (USA)

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DVD Review: Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:25:54 (4% PAL speedup)

2.36:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.3 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Spanish/English Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish/English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.36:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:22)

DVD Release Date: 23 January 2012

Chapters 12



Although there is only one transfer on this single-layer, progressive, anamorphic disc, there seem to be two differently timed versions seemingly due to an authoring error rather than an alternate cut through branching. Selecting "Play Film" from the main menu gets you the 86 minute version, but selecting chapter 1 from scene menu gets you an 80 minute version. I scanned through the shorter version and could not tell if anything was missing (although I did not look that closely), and it does not appear to run faster in terms of frame-rate). I have not heard of any recall on this title, so just don't use the scene selection menu or you might miss part of the film (I guess).

The film contains both Spanish and English dialogue - with audio tracks in 5.1 and 2.0 stereo - and optional English subtitles for the Spanish dialogue. The sound design is mostly naturalistic, with only some instances of music prominent in the mix. A trailer is the only extra.

  - Eric Cotenas


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Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL


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