Tea is an essay film documenting an artistic gesture surrounding Alighiero Boetti’s One Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan. What does it mean to return to a place while visiting it for the first time? How a guest can become a host due to a years-late arrival? How far, really, is Afghanistan from Mexico? These questions, as they pertain to the relationship between Boetti and Mario Garcia Torres, are considered in the film. Continue reading
A small Mexican village faces the disappearance of a corpse. The dead man’s brother goes out to find his detective friend, a cowboy. However, he is killed by a gang that seeks to get the insurance money from the policy put on the dead man by his aunt. Meanwhile, a strange fish-man monster is stalking our heroes with the intent to kill! Can the cowboy solve the mystery in time?
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