Today’s #TBT recommendation is Y Tu Mamá También (dir. Alfonso Cuarón 2001).
Y Tu Mamá También holds my personal record for “Film that has lived on my Netflix queue the longest.” However, I’m glad I waited this long because its thoughtful and beautiful depiction of Mexico could not be more timely. Director Alfonso Cuarón builds an intriguing, close friendship between two young adults, Julio (Gael García Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna). At the beginning of the film, Julio and Tenoch encapsulate the intense passion and infatuation of teenage friendships/relationships. As the boys meet Luisa (Maribel Verdu) and begin their road trip to the coast, the boys’ infatuation is tested as Luisa teaches them to be men. While this description sounds like the wet dream of coming of age stories, Cuarón and cinematographer Emmanual Lubezki (aided by García Bernal and Luna’s acting) explore the boys’ sexualities through a thoughtful lens. Alongside the drama of the boys’ relationship, the omniscient narrator and Lubezki’s omniscient lens address the political and economic realities of Mexico circa 1999. At first, the pointed scenes of Mexican culture starkly contrast the pure bliss of Julio and Tenoch. However, as the film further explores the boys’ relationship we see their lives aren’t as blissful as we thought – or, arguably, as blissful as they thought. Y Tu Mamá También is a beautiful, tragic, funny, sexy, thoughtful film – watch Mexican cinema.