The International Writers
Tu Mamá También (And Your Mother Too)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Screenwriters: Alfonso Cuarón and Carlos Cuaró
Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Maribel
is a new wave of cinema in the international scene today, and
it is definitely Latin. Mexican, Argentinean and Brazilian films
have recently bombarded film festivals around the year with their
creative productions. In this list of up and rising Spanish and
Portuguese language directors, one name that just seems to keep
popping up is Alfonso Cuarón. Responsible for the direction
of American Hollywood productions such as Great Expectations and
Little Princess, it is his talented attention to detail that catches
the attention of the viewer.
But before his success in Hollywood and in mainstream cinema all over
the west, it was his 2001 film Y Tu Mamá También
(And Your Mother Too) that caused sensation and created a legion of fans
to follow yet another Mexican director.
At first, the film seems simple. In fact, it is the simplicity of its
equation that makes it so interesting to watch.
||Boy one (played
by Diego Luna): Tenoch, age: seventeen, background: rich, spoilt,
parents always out of town, dates a girl called Ana, wants to be
a writer. Cut to boy two (played by Gael Garcia Bernal): Julio,
age: seventeen, background: working class, lives with mother and
sister, dates a girl called Cecilia. Boys are best friends. Summer
arrives. Boys girlfriends travel to Italy. Boys decide to
get up to no good. Boys meet woman. Womans name: Luiza.
Now the reason why simplifying this into short sentences makes sense in
reference to the plot is because, as I said before, the plot is that simple.
In no way is this depreciative for the overall production. It is only
when boys meet woman, and then boys plus woman decide to go on a little
road trip to the coast, that the plot thickens.
The trip down the coast is at the suggestion of the two boys, who meet
Luiza (played by Maribel Verdú in her first role in Mexican cinema)
at a glamorous family wedding in the middle of summer. Luiza is stunning,
she has class, she is married to Tenochs cousin, she is around five
years older than them, but amazingly enough, she converses enthusiastically
with the two. They invite her to Boca del Cielo (Heavens Mouth),
a paradisiacal beach somewhere along the coast of Mexico. When, a few
days later, Luiza phones up and agrees to come, the boys find themselves
in a slight complication. The beach does not exist.
They decide to go on the trip anyway, hiding the fact that this place
is fictional and was made up to get Luiza to come, and the three head
off down the coast. The screenplay is snappy, intelligent, young and very
humorous. It takes great talent to make a good film out of one that is
primarily mostly based in a car.
Alfonso Cuarón and his brother, Carlos Cuarón, who wrote
the screenplay in conjunction, took great care to never let the beat die
down. It is not surprising that Carlos Cuarón won an award for
best screenplay in that years Venice Film Festival. When the boys
car gets stuck in a traffic jam, the camera pans outside the car and along
the motorway hard shoulder to show a car accident with a victim lying
on the roadside. The narrator comments on this, as he does on many other
images which the threesome pass by on their way, a group of native Indians
making a demonstration, a car accident, and others. This is Cuaróns
way of showing us what he wants us to see, to feel, and to understand.
Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal both won best young actor awards at
the Venice Film Festival for this film, and it is not surprising that
they did. Luna, who made his way into cinema directly from Mexican soap
operas, and Bernal, one of Pedro Almodovars habitués, provide
an inseparable entity who (shock!) have a large variety of unresolved
issues and untold secrets from each other. In the very manner of seventeen
year-olds, they compare sexual experiences, race each other any swimming
pool they encounter, and struggle for man- hood by attempting to seduce
any skirt they come across. Their innocence and exaggerated hormones are
not irritating, but amusing, and an interesting contradiction to the mature,
experienced, wisdom of Luiza.
If the cast is not enough (which it is), the photography and camerawork
will keep the viewer watching the film. Emmanuel Lubezski, the director
of photography had a great concern in reproducing an immaculate view of
the Mexican coastline. And it really is eye-catching. Remember Wim Wenders
when you see the panning shots of endless highways and blue skies, and
think of Bertolucci-style colours and shadows in the shots of their nights
at Chuys bar, in San Bernabé.
"Life is like the surf. So give yourself away to the sea." These
are Luizas words of advice to the boys. The journey ends, perhaps
where we imagined it to, at the beach. Is this Boca Del Cielo though?
Youll just have to see.
© Gabriela Davies Feb 2007
by Angela Vehorn
Gabriela Davies review
- Dir Miquel Faria Jnr
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Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
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