Alfonso Cuarón – Cuarteto para el fin del tiempo AKA Quartet for the End of Time (1983)

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A man sits alone in his apartment. Why does he watch as his goldfish washes down the drain? Why does he blow up balloons then release them out the window for no one to see? And for whom does he take out his clarinet to play ‘Quartet for the End of Time’?.

Shot in 16mm, while Alfonso Cuarón was a film student, Cuarteto Para El Fin Del Tiempo is a meditation on isolation and a young man’s withdrawal from the outside world. Using very few words, Cuarón relies on the power of the image to narrate the film, for which there was no written script:

‘It was an emotion rather than an idea that drove the process, it was about improvising and trying different things every day, trying to blend the character and the location with this emotion.’ Continue reading

Alfonso Cuarón – Y tu mamá también AKA And Your Mother Too [+Extras] (2001)

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Abandoned by their girlfriends for the summer, teenagers Tenoch and Julio meet the older Luisa at a wedding. Trying to be impressive, the friends tell Luisa they are headed on a road trip to a beautiful, secret beach called Boca del Cielo. Intrigued with their story and desperate to escape, Luisa asks if she can join them on their trip. Soon the three are headed out of Mexico City, making their way toward the fictional destination. Along the way, seduction, argument and the contrast of the trio against the harsh realities of the surrounding poverty ensue. Continue reading

Alfonso Cuarón – Sólo con tu pareja AKA Love in the Time of Hysteria [+Extras] (1991)

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The hero of Alfonso Cuarón’s “Sólo Con Tu Pareja” is Tomás Tomás (Daniel Giménez Cacho), a young man living alone in a roomy Mexico City apartment with a tedious job writing advertising copy and a hyperactive romantic life. Apparently and perhaps not quite plausibly irresistible to women, he is also unable to resist them, which is believable enough, since the women in this movie favor garter belts, half-slips and other kinds of retro-sexy lingerie, which they seem happy to display, or to remove, in Tomás’s presence.

Mr. Cuarón made this film, his first feature, 15 years ago, before departing Mexico for Hollywood and making “A Little Princess” and “Great Expectations,” returning home for “Y Tu Mamá También” and then coming back to direct “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”

This zigzagging has made him an intriguing and in some ways exemplary figure in contemporary world cinema, and the movies themselves show remarkable exuberance and versatility. All of which partly justifies the belated release (simultaneously in theaters and on DVD) of “Sólo Con Tu Pareja,” a lively calling card from a young, ambitious director working with limited funds and a screenplay he wrote with his brother Carlos. Continue reading