25th Annual Portland International Film Festival
And Your Mother Too
D. Alfonso Cuaron
Next Saturday, Feb. 16
Portland Art Museum
Southwest Park and Madison
“American Pie” brought us teenage sex with a few breast shots and innuendo but no real money. “And Your Mother Too” goes for it with all the sex and full frontal nudity you can handle. This 2001 Golden Globe nominated film (Best Foreign Language Film) makes a trek to the beach and back with a couple of horny teenage boys and a soul-searching, 28-year-old woman.
Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael Garcia) have just left their respective girlfriends at the airport winging their way to Europe for the summer and quickly find themselves bored with hanging out at the country club and masturbating beside the pool. In comes Luisa (Maribel Verdu), she is the attractive and lonely wife of Tenoch’s cousin, ripe for the seduction. The two boys invite Luisa on a road trip to a fictitious beach on the coast of Mexico. Luisa agrees to go on the trip only after her husband calls her from a business trip to tell her he has been screwing around.
Filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron takes us back to his Mexican home to tell a seemingly juvenile sex story with a touching coming-of-age message for both the boys and Luisa. Cuaron’s previous work includes the critically acclaimed “The Little Princess” and 1998’s “Great Expectations,” with Gweneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke. He has enjoyed a hasty rise in Hollywood and his efforts have paid off with critical praise albeit without box office dollars.
This film marks Cuaron’s return to Mexico, where he got his start in television. The Mexico in this film is not the customary dirt road and chicken shack landscape seen in many films made by foreign directors. The home that Tenoch, the son of a senator, lives in is a palace outfitted with a swimming pool and servants around every corner. While Julio does not share Tenoch’s affluence, he lives in a modest home with all the creature comforts afforded to the average American.
After the long journey to the beach begins we are afforded a look at the other Mexican landscape as well. The poor villages had an eerie resemblance to many of the small towns in the eastern part of this state. It was very striking to see that although they live on a much smaller scale than Americans, things are not all that different. The constant roadblocks and police searches, however, were a mystery to my unaccustomed eyes.
Throughout the trip, which seems to mirror the inevitable change that the two boys will encounter on their journey into adulthood the sexual tension is thick and the full frontal penis shots are plenty.
With Luisa’s help Tenoch and Julio learn the consequences to their adult behavior. Soon the realization that sometimes actions that are not intended to hurt can alter a person’s life indefinitely makes these boys think about their own behavior. Along the way the boy’s friendship is forever changed and Luisa learns to cope with the dim reality of her life.
This film has some very funny moments and manages to be lewd in a good way and without making the behavior seem crass. The touching moments are few and far between but make a statement when they are used. Infused throughout is a narrative that gives some insight into the minds of the characters and a true personality to a movie that very easily could have been wasted with too heavy a focus on sex and shock and not enough on substance. This movie is solid and well worth the time.