International Festival
of Independent Cinema

26.04 – 05.05.2024, Kraków

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Special Screenings

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2023 / 88 min / color

In Mexico, for many young men, the only hope to find opportunities and improve their prospects is through violence — whether it’s illegal, through involvement in the activities of drug cartels, or institutional, fostered by the state. 18-year-old Luis, who has an indigenous background, chooses the latter and joins the national military academy. He and his peers are subjected to a punishing training program based on unconditional obedience and the destruction of any hint of individualism. Brutal violence and humiliation are the order of the day, and any sign of self-reflection is seen as a weakness; young recruits are trained to be killing machines. Based on true accounts of former academy cadets, David Zonana’s shocking film is a story about the identity of a country steeped in violence. By showing the fine line between man and beast, the young director furthers a narrative explored by older, more established colleagues, such as Michel Franco, who produced Heroico. Not for the faint of heart.


  • Guadalajara IFF – Best Mexican Film, Best Actor (Fernando Cuautle), FIPRESCI Prize, Young Jury Award


David Zonana


David Zonana


Carolina Costa


Santiago Sandoval, Fernando Cuautle, Esteban Caicedo, Isabel Yudice, Mónica Del Carmen




Languages: Spanish, Nahuatl
Subtitles: Polish, English

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