21st Century
The Future
World Travel
Books & Film
Original Fiction
Opinion & Lifestyle
Politics & Living
Film Space
Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews & stories

The International Writers Magazine
Cinema Mexico

Y Tu Mamá También (And Your Mother Too)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Screenwriters: Alfonso Cuarón and Carlos Cuaró

Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Maribel Verdú
Gabriela Davies

There 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. Woman’s 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 Tenoch’s 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 (Heaven’s 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 year’s 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 Cuarón’s 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 Almodovar’s 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 Chuy’s bar, in San Bernabé.

"Life is like the surf. So give yourself away to the sea." These are Luiza’s words of advice to the boys. The journey ends, perhaps where we imagined it to, at the beach. Is this Boca Del Cielo though? You’ll just have to see.
© Gabriela Davies Feb 2007

Inka by Angela Vehorn
Gabriela Davies review

Vinicius - Dir Miquel Faria Jnr
Celebrating the Bossa Nova
Gabriela Davies

All About My Mother
Dir: P.Almodovar

Gabriela Davis

Amores Perros
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Gabriela Davies

21 Grams
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Gabriela Davies



© Hackwriters 1999-2007 all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibiltiy - no liability accepted by or affiliates.