(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.