Cinco de Movies
This weekend presents a Sophie's Choice for festivities: honor a made up movie religion (and passing of an iconic character actor) on Saturday or Mexico's military victory over the imperialist intervention of France in 1862. Sci-fi nerds with an appreciation for Ignacio Zaragoza's unconventional military tactics can party from dusk Saturday til dawn Sunday, but the rest of us are choosing between margaritas and Bantha milk. Star Wars afficianados have their viewing list set depending how far outside the canon they want to venture. Cinco de Mayo celebrants looking for something to watch between tacos and tequila shots may find their tastes a little less catered to by media outlets. Assuming you haven't already binged the entire expanded cinematic universe of Club de Cuervos, here are five movie options to enjoy on May 5th or any time this weekend.
Y Tu Mamá También - Anyone wondering what happens when the boy from Roma grows up to be an affluent, sex-obsessed teenager can check out Alfonso Cuarón's unofficial prequel to his recent masterpiece. Amid the road trips, love triangles and masturbation, the director examines the same social class and gender issues that made his most recent film such a rewarding watch. In fact, those binge-mode viewers looking for an alternative to the holy trilogy can include Cuarón's debut feature, Solo Con Tu Pareja, for a Mexico triple feature. (Netflix)
Pan's Labyrinth - Spoiler alert: we're including a selection from all Three Amigos here. And yes, this film is set in Spain, not Mexico. Still, del Toro is arguably the most well known Mexican director in the world, and this is unarguably his best work; plus, del Toro hasn't set a film in his native country since his first feature. This dark fantasy fuses the director's iconic monster imagery with a historical interest in the Spanish Civil War. Telling the story from a child's perspective, the film presents a thoughtful reflection on death and the political failures of the West in the 20th century. (Netflix)
Amores Perros - The last of the big three, Alejandro González Iñárritu developed the intersecting storylines that became his cinematic trademark before he got into continuity tricks and CGI bear maulings. This dark, often brutal work paints a complex portrait of Mexico City life through characters that are rich and poor, moral, amoral and immoral. For anyone looking to enjoy his films with a little less on-screen animal violence, both Biutiful and 21 Grams are streaming on the premium cable options. However, this one is available for free! (Popcornflix)
Silent Light - Did you know there were Mennonite communities in Mexico? Neither did we until we came across this under the radar film from Carlos Reygadas. A quiet but dramatic meditation on religious life that manages to be thoughtful and heartfelt without descending into preachiness of any kind, Reygadas' movie is closer to Terrence Malick than faith-based cinema. No less an authority than Martin Scorsese praised this as one of his favorite films of the year when it was releaseed. And again... it's free. (Vudu)
Alamar - Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio's film blends documentary and narrative film styles in an account of a dying father's journey with his young son. Taking the family fishing trip to whole new levels, the movie serves as both a spiritual account of returning to one's roots and an environmentalist manifesto on how to live life in an increasingly complicated world.