Top Twenty of the Decade #1

Luisa: Life is like the surf, so give yourself away like the sea.

1. Y Tu Mama Tambien (2002) – Dir. Alfonso Cuaron

This film begins with people fucking. They aren’t making love, they’re fucking… fucking hard. It’s not pornographic or sensual, but it is striking and frank. Much like the rest of this beautiful and layered movie.

Cuaron tops my list and makes his second appearance on it (See #15).  It is a film I have always had a hard time explaining to people why they should watch, unless they have, and then they understand. People ask, “Well, what is it about?” Saying it’s a teen-sex-road-trip-comedy does it no justice. And the fact that it’s in Spanish does it no favors, but I’ve tried to convince as many as would listen.

You know you’re in for something special during those unsavory opening moments, when the sound cuts out as if there’s a technical error. I was about to get out of my chair to tell someone to fix the audio when instead the movie’s god-like narrator starts talking. The narration runs throughout the film and always tells you something no one should know. Something about this character or this stranger walking by or this town or a pig. Their background or their fate is divulged, seemingly at random, but by credits end you feel the potency of this device. It’s wonderful information, highlighting the things the movie is really about.

Mexico, class warfare, loss, friendship, sex and your mother too. The title is kind of a joke, but at the same time the movie does contain great visual and thematic scenes about growing up and away from the womb (or your mother). There are a number of scenes involving water, for example, and the main female character acts as a sort of guiding force toward adulthood.

Blah, blah, blah, right? The point is, this is more than just a film with lots of nudity and teen sex jokes. It is personal filmmaking at its finest, because it takes an entertaining premise and fortifies it with powerful and relatable themes.

I never had an awesome three-way with my best friend, but I can understand outgrowing childish things, how that is a good thing and a sad thing at the same time, and why life and death are no different.

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One response to “Top Twenty of the Decade #1

  1. Pingback: 2012 Fall Preview: 25 Films I Can’t Wait to See #25-21 | Shooting the Script

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