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Y Tu Mama Tambien: Criterion Collection DVD Review

Y Tu Mama Tambien: Criterion Collection

August 20, 2014

Director: Alfonso Cuaron,
Starring: Maribel Yerdu, Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Ana Lopez Mercado, Arturo Rios,

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DVD Review

The commercial disappointment of A Little Princess (1995) and Great Expectations (1998), director Alfonso Cuaron left Hollywood and regrouped back in his native Mexico by going back to basics with Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001), an independently made road movie that followed the misadventures of two Mexico City teenagers who meet a beautiful Spanish woman. Audiences were charmed by Cuaron’s naturalistic approach and the grounded performances of the three lead actors. Y Tu Mama Tambien was an art house success, paving the way for Cuaron to return to Hollywood where he would make the most highly regarded installment of the Harry Potter franchise.

When their girlfriends take off to Italy for the summer, best friends Julio Zapata (Bernal) and Tenoch Iturbide (Luna) hang out together and Cuaron does a nice job of capturing the aimless nature of teenagers on summer break. Julio and Tenoch goof around with each other and hang out with friends talking about girls they’d like to have sex with and get high. While attending a wedding, the two boys meet Luisa Cortes (Verdu), an attractive woman from Spain who’s there with her husband. They impulsively invite her to a beach many miles away and after receiving some devastating news, she decides to go with them. Over the course of the journey, the three of them become very close both emotionally and physically, which puts Julio and Tenoch’s friendship to the test.

Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna are very believable as best friends in the way Julio and Tenoch relate to each other through a familiar shorthand and goof around like horny teenagers. Maribel Verdu conveys a heartbreaking vulnerability as Luisa, who keeps it in check in front of Julio and Tenoch, but in private moments harbors a painful secret. It is fascinating to watch how the relationship between these three people develops organically. Initially, the boys are interested in little else but having sex with her. She is in a raw, vulnerable place and is receptive to their advances, initiating sex, but as things get serious between them, each character learns something profound about the other and themselves.

With Y Tu Mama Tambien, Cuaron shows us a Mexico rarely seen by those outside the country as he takes us through crowded big city streets, desolate little towns and picturesque countryside. He created a very personal film that not only takes its characters on a journey, but the audience as well. The end result is a funny, sexy and poignant film that is as fresh now as it was back then.

Special Features:

This new Blu-Ray transfer has been approved by director Alfonso Cuaron and the film’s director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki. It looks great with lots of detail and preserving the filmic qualities.

There is T.V. spot and trailer for the film.

“On Y Tu Mama Tambien” includes a 10-minute featurette made during the production with interviews with director Cuaron, co-writer Carlos Cuaron, director of photography Lubezki and actors Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and Maribel Verdu. They take us through its inception to filming with the actors talking about what drew them to the project. Also included is a 40-minute featurette from 2014 that has all the aforementioned participants look back at the film. They recount all kinds of filming anecdotes and it is interesting to hear their thoughts on Y Tu Mama Tambien after all this time.

“The Making of the Film” is a 22-minute featurette from 2001 that offers all kinds of behind-the-scenes footage during principal photography and sheds light on how Cuaron works. We also see the dynamic between him and his cast and crew.

Also included are three deleted scenes that are entertaining in their own right, but were justly cut from the film.

Philosopher Slavoj Zizek talks about the socio-political context of Y Tu Mama Tambien. He examines how Cuaron sheds light on Mexican politics in the background of certain scenes.

Finally, “You Owe Me” is a 2002 short film that Carlos Cuaron wrote and directed about family secrets that are kept submerged by the characters.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance

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Rating: 95%

Website: http://www.criterion.com/films/28005-y-tu-mama-tambien

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