BY MARGARET ALLUM
Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too)
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and Maribel Verdu
Screened at the 49th Sydney Film Festival, June 7-21
Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too) was the film that closed the 49th Sydney Film Festival. With the level of expectation that this honour generates, my hopes were high for a rewarding cinema experience.
Unfortunately, although billed as "comic, dramatic, erotic, sociological and even political, all without breaking a sweat", it was mildly entertaining at best, and at worst a teenage male sex fantasy with few redeeming qualities.
Okay, it was quite nicely filmed and the performances by the three principal actors were quite believable, but the film dealt with the premise (two young men take a 28-year-old women to a beach for a sex romp) in a way that was less art and more puerile tripe.
Tenoch (Diego Luna), from the wealthy side of the tracks, and his less financially blessed friend Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) find themselves alone together after their girlfriends head to Europe on a holiday. A chance meeting with the glamorous Louisa (Maribel Verdu), married to Tenoch's cousin, leads to them inviting her to the coast in search of an idyllic beach called Heaven's Mouth. Surprisingly, she agrees, and thus starts their journey of lust and discovery across the Mexican countryside.
Don't get me wrong, my criticism of this film is not generated by prudishness, and the idea of a frolic with two beautiful young Mexican lads is not something I find particularly disturbing. But the film's portrayal of the teenagers' and the woman's sexuality is not something that I was expecting from a film highlighted in the Sydney Film Festival.
Scenes (with more detail than anyone is likely to enjoy) of the two young men lying on diving boards above a backyard pool wanking into the water were just one unnecessary part of a film that could have been quite an interesting and entertaining story.
The predictable macho jealousies were tiresome and the portrayal of double standards when it comes to fidelity and same-sex attraction were not challenging nor insightful.
By criticising a film described by the LA Times as "outrageous without being offensive, provocatively and unapologetically sexual, and alive to the possibilities of life", this review runs the risk of coming across like staid "political correctness", but then, perhaps things are just "groovier" in Los Angeles. Or maybe their standards are set at "dick joke" level.
From Green Left Weekly, July 31, 2002.
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