ACMI presents

The Untamed

R18+ High impact sex

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“A ferociously individual, highly intelligent piece and a superb, very affecting cast ensure that the human factor remains dominant, however creepily inhuman things may become at times”

Jonathan Romney , Screen International

Winner of the Silver Lion (Best Director) at the 2016 Venice Film Festival, Amat Escalante’s hypnotic and unnerving film blends social realism, sexual desire and the uncanny with wholly original results.

Though it begins with the conventional sci-fi/horror trope of a meteorite crashing into earth, The Untamed is anything but as it tantalisingly unfolds.

After a young woman is injured by a mysterious creature, she becomes a conduit for its insatiable desires, and begins grooming a Mexican family grappling with their own dysfunctions.

Influenced by H.P Lovecraft, the body horror of David Cronenberg and with echoes of Andrezj Zulawski's Possession, The Untamed delivers insights on injustice and repression while remaining a fresh creature feature.

Inspired by articles highlighting the misogyny and homophobia inherent in Mexican culture, multi-award winning director Amat Escalante (Heli, Los Bastardos) uses horror to illuminate important issues at the heart of his country's culture. With his deft touch, The Untamed seamlessly combines these elements into a wild genre film that confirms him as one of contemporary cinemas most exciting talents.

Panel discussion

Returning to Nature: Mexican Cinema, Sex Squid and Amat Escalante's The Untamed

Following the screening of Amat Escalante’s award-winning film The Untamed, join Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Spiro Economopoulos and César Albarrán-Torres as they discuss one of the most genre-defying films of the year.

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas is a film critic on Triple R's Plato's Cave program and an editor at the film journal Senses of Cinema. She has written five books on cult, horror and exploitation film, most recently on Abel Ferrara's Ms. 45 for Columbia University Press.

Spiro Economopoulos is the Program Director for the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, as well as a programmer at ACMI. Spiro has served on the feature jury panel for Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco and was the Film and Arts writer for Melbourne Star Observer. He holds a Masters in Cinema Studies from La Trobe University and Carrie White is his spirit animal.

César Albarrán-Torres is lecturer in Media and Communication at Swinburne University of Technology, where he teaches in Cinema and Screen Studies. He has been widely published in academic and non-academic titles as a film and literary critic, author and translator. He is the former editor of Cine PREMIERE magazine (Mexico) and the founding editor of, the most widely read film website in the Spanish-speaking world.

This panel will follow the first screening on 27 October.

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