Inspired by the long, deliberate takes and heady metaphysical themes employed by famed Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, writer and director Carlos Reygadas has found himself at the forefront of modern Mexican cinema. After abandoning a career as an international lawyer, in 1997 Reygadas pursued his interest in film by writing and directing the short film "Maxhumain." He spent the next few years writing and shooting his breakthrough film, "Japan," about the strange relationship that develops between a suicidal painter and the religious woman who offers him shelter in a remote canyon. The film, which drew criticism for its shocking images of animal cruelty, established Reygadas's rough-hewn aesthetic and his fondness for using untrained, homely actors. His next film, "Battle in Heaven," won critical acclaim for its morally conflicted story centered on a botched kidnapping that forces one working-class man (Marcos Hernández) to confront his own ugly nature. In '07 Reygadas wrote, directed, and produced "Silent Light," about an illicit love affair between two Mennonites, a peaceful Christian denomination of German descent. The film landed on numerous top-10 lists that year on the strength of its simple beauty and powerful story, which featured actual Mennonites from the local Mexican community. In addition to his work on his own films, Reygadas has contributed a short segment to the Mexican anthology "Revolucion" and co-produced "Sangre," a pointed critique of modern Mexican middle-class life.