A young man is confined in a mental hospital. Through a flashback we see that he was traumatized as a child, when he and his family were circus performers: he saw his father cut off the arms of his mother, a religious fanatic and leader of the heretical church of Santa Sangre (“Holy Blood”), and then commit suicide. Back in the present, he escapes and rejoins his surviving and armless mother. Against his will, he “becomes her arms” and the two undertake a grisly campaign of murder and revenge. Continue reading
Pilar loses the one thing in life that mattered to her and, from that moment on time stops. The present begins blending with the past, and the heroine withdraws into a world of her own. An intimate drama about the extreme emotions connected to the loss of someone on whom our lives depend. Continue reading
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
Unlike William Wyler’s inferior 1939 film adaptation, Luis Buñuel’s Abismos de Pasión is more than a literate extrapolation of Emily Bronte’s gothic masterpiece Wuthering Heights, which certainly must count as one of the five greatest novels of the English language. Though not overtly surreal, Buñuel’s minor classic is fraught with the kind of feverish contradictions typically heir to his cinematic dogma. Critic Manny Farber observed in his eulogy for Val Newton (published in The Nation back in April of 1951) how Jacques Tourneur’s The Leopard Man gives “the creepy impression that human begins and ‘things’ are interchangeable and almost synonymous and that both are pawns of a bizarre and terrible destiny.” Farber felt the Surrealists had never been able to transform the psychological effects of their dramas into a realm of the non-human but, four years later, Buñuel would accomplish something similar with his very Latin rendition of Bronte’s classic. The film’s dreary exteriors (the trees without leaves, the buzzards on constant alert) evoke a landscape of spiritual unrest, a breezy gateway between the living and the dead. While the film arouses the dreaminess of the original text, death signifies more than the lead couple’s transcendence of the flesh—it’s also a fascinating wish fulfillment. Continue reading
This violent and allegorical Mexican western attracted a cult following in its day. It is the story of El Topo, a gunslinger who sets out for revenge against the outlaws who slew his wife. He ends up getting his revenge and saving the life of a woman who is being terrorized by bandits. She leads El Topo (which means “the Mole” in English) on a search for the region’s top four gunfighters. But before they set off, Topo leaves his young son in a monastery. He and the woman hook up with another female and begin their search. During one battle, El Topo is wounded and the women leave him to die. His comatose body is found by a strange group of cave dwelling people who take him to their subterranean home. He does not wake up for many years. When he does, he is enlisted to help the clan dig an escape tunnel. Later they come to a tiny town where the residents belong to a weird religious cult and El Topo’s son has become a monk. The townsfolk are terrorized by a sadistic sheriff. When the clan members come into the town, the stage is set for a blood-soaked tragedy.
~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide Continue reading
Diego (Cirilo Recio) is a cross-eyed, middle-aged man who works as a doorman in a government building and spends the day counting the persons who pass in front of him. His younger wife Blanca (Laura Saldaña) works in a fast-food sushi bar. They do not have much to say to each other after a hard day’s work and so they wile away the hours watching televison. They do have an active sex life with Blanca usually leading the way. One day he arrives home to find her waiting for him nude on the floor with her legs spread wide open.
But the downside of their marriage is her jealousy. When a co-worker’s son is kidnapped, Diego walks her home and embraces her in kindness. Blanca finds out about this gesture and explodes in anger. Her apologies usually consist of sexual favors.
When Karina (Claudia Orozco), Diego’s daughter from a previous relationship, shows up and wants to stay with them, Blanca refuses and he is forced to set her up in a hotel room. She is trying to end a relationship with an addict who has gotten her into drugs. Karina’s inability to deal with the real world puts an incredible amount of pressure on her father in the mysterious last sequence of the film which takes place at a gigantic rubbish dump outside the city. Continue reading
A famous cabaret in Mexico City, Salón Mexico was staffed by ficheras, women who charged clients for dancing and, more often than not, for sex. Fernández’s celebrated melodrama tells the story of one such dancer, Mercedes (Marga López) who must fight off the attentions of an abusive pimp while working to finance the schooling of her younger sister. A danzón contest offers salvation, but will Mercedes see her chance of redemption cruelly snatched away? Deliciously dark with noir overtones, its fine performances are matched by Gabriel Figueroa’s superlative cinematography. Continue reading