A Monster with a Thousand Heads

A Monster with a Thousand Heads (Spanish: Un Monstruo de Mil Cabezas) is a 2015 Mexican thriller film, directed and produced by Rodrigo Plá and written by Laura Santullo. The film stars Jana Raluy, as a wife desperate to beat the bureaucracy, when her insurance company refuses to approve the care her husband needs to survive.

A Monster with a Thousand Heads
Un Monstruo de Mil Cabezas.jpg
Mexican theatrical release poster
Directed byRodrigo Plá
Produced by
  • Rodrigo Plá
  • Sandino Saravia Vinay
  • Matthias Ehrenberg (executive producer)
Screenplay byLaura Santullo (based on her novel, Un Monstruo de Mil Cabezas)
StarringJana Raluy
Music by
  • Leonardo Heiblum
  • Jacobo Lieberman
CinematographyOdei Zabaleta
Edited byMiguel Schverdfinger
Distributed by
Release date
Running time
75 minutes

A Monster with a Thousand Heads premiered at the 72nd Venice Film Festival as the opening film of the Orizzonti section.[1] The film also received seven nominations for the Ariel Awards in Mexico, including Best Picture, Best Direction and Best Actress, winning one for Best Adapted Screenplay.[2] The film was named on the shortlist for Mexico's entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards, but it was not selected.[3]


Sonia Bonet (Jana Raluy) tries to take justice into her own hands after a health-insurance company named Alta Salud refuses to approve the care of her dying spouse. She and her son Dario (Sebastián Aguirre) attempt to fight the system, forcing the company employees to perform the corresponding procedure.



A Monster with a Thousand Heads is the fourth feature film from Uruguayan-Mexican director Rodrigo Plá, following La Zona (2007), Desierto Adentro (2008) and La Demora (2012).[4] The screenplay was written by Laura Santullo, based on her novel of the same title.[5] The main actors, Jana Raluy and Sebastian Aguirre, recreate "desperate characters" without exaggerated gestures and postures, "enhancing their work", according to Columba Vértiz de la Fuente of Proceso.[6] The actors read the novel beforehand and rehearsed many times before shooting.[6] Raluy stated that her father died of cancer shortly before the filming started, and that helped her to create her character.[7] About the storyline, screenwriter Santullo exposed that they [Plá and herself] tried to make "an honest movie about the things we think and the concerns we have. So we talk about public and private health, a topic very delicate in the country and the world."[8]


Critical responseEdit

The film was the opening film of the Orizzonti section at the 72nd Venice Film Festival.[1] After this premiere, Boyd van Hoeij of The Hollywood Reporter wrote on his review that the film is "a lean and efficient mix of thriller, drama and socio-political commentary", and also praised the leading work of actress Jana Raluy, stating that she "displays the right mix of craziness and steamrolling strength to appear dangerous, even though the awkward way she holds a gun clearly indicates she’s a fed-up hausfrau reduced to desperate measures, not a trained killer." The reviewer commented on director Rodrigo Plá and cinematographer Obei Zabaleta, who "use their widescreen canvas beautifully".[4] José Luis García of Cinestel said that the film has "certain moments of black humor that help lighten the dramatic burden of social criticism".[7] The Mexican premiere of the film was held at the 13th Morelia International Film Festival on October 24, 2015, and by participating in this festival, the Mexican Academy of Film Arts and Sciences was able to nominate it for seven categories at the Ariel Awards of 2016, including Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Picture.[6]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Award Category Nominee Result
2015 Festival Biarritz Amérique Latine[9] Jury Prize Un Monstruo de Mil Cabezas Won
2015 Havana Film Festival[10] Coral Award for Best Lead Actress Jana Raluy Won
2015 Morelia International Film Festival[11] Best Actress in a Mexican Feature Film Jana Raluy Won
2016 İstanbul Film Festivali[12] Golden Tulip International Prize Un Monstruo de Mil Cabezas Won
58th Ariel Awards[2] Best Picture Un Monstruo de Mil Cabezas Nominated
Best Director Rodrigo Plá Nominated
Best Actress Jana Raluy Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Emilio Echevarría Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Laura Santullo Won
Best Editing Miguel Schverdfinger Nominated
Best Sound Alejandro de Icaza, Axel Muñoz Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Un Monstruo de mil cabezas by Rodrigo Plá to open the Orizzonti competition". La Biennale di Venezia. August 31, 2015. Archived from the original on April 24, 2016. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Magaña, Arturo (April 13, 2016). "Nominados al Ariel 2016". Cine Premiere (in Spanish). Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  3. ^ Pacheco, Arturo. "Goya y Oscar - AMACC". Archived from the original on 2015-12-10. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b van Hoeij, Boyd (September 2, 2015). "'A Monster with a Thousand Heads' ('Un monstruo de mil cabezas'): Venice Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  5. ^ Andrade, Gabriel (October 24, 2015). "Un Monstruo de Mil Cabezas de Rodrigo Plá en el 13° FICM". Morelia FIlm Fest (in Spanish). Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Vértiz de la Fuente, Columba (October 24, 2015). "Con "Un monstruo de mil cabezas", Rodrigo Plá explora la comedia negra". Proceso (in Spanish). Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  7. ^ a b García, José Luis (September 9, 2015). "Venecia: a propósito de Rodrigo Plá y "Un Monstruo de Mil Cabezas"". Cinestel (in Spanish). Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  8. ^ "Rodrigo Plá busca triunfar en el FICM con 'Un monstruo de mil cabezas'". La Jornada (in Spanish). October 24, 2015. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  9. ^ "Festival Biarritz Amérique Latine – Congratulations to Ixcanul and Un Monstruo de Mil Cabezas". Europa Distribution. April 15, 2016. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  10. ^ "Premios Corales – 37 Festival". Havana Film Festival (in Spanish). 2015. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  11. ^ "¡Felicidades a los ganadores del 13º FICM!". Morelia International Film Festival (in Spanish). October 31, 2015. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  12. ^ "İstanbul Film Festivali'nin ödülleri, 15 Nisan Cuma gecesi Haliç Kongre Merkezi'nde yapılan törenle sahiplerini buldu". IKSV (in Turkish). October 5, 2015. Archived from the original on June 28, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2016.

External linksEdit