Mexico’s Amat Escalante, the writer-director of the violent, drug-fueled film “Heli” talked with Variety’s Steve Gaydos at The Variety Studio: Cannes Edition at Chivas House, presented by Chivas Brothers and sponsored by HP.

“The movie is for Mexicans, really,” Escalante said. “I always thought for Mexicans to see it and people who might be offended by things, might be shocked, might be upset that we’re showing these things — especially outside of Mexico — but I feel at least that we have the freedom to express our feelings and our thoughts and our worries however we please. And sometimes the freedom could be dangerous also. For example now, there’s an article in Mexico now that says they should put me in jail for defamation of the country.”

Variety film critic Scott Foundas said “Heli” was “surely the most explicit, realistically violent film to premiere on Cannes’ main stage since Brillante Mendoza’s controversial “Kinatay” (which ended up winning the fest’s directing prize in 2009).”