Residents of an enclosed neighborhood in the middle of Mexico DF are shocked by a violent crime, and for one resident in particular, young Alejandro, the drama is ratcheted up when he encounters the lone kid who escaped the event and is hiding out within the neighborhood's borders.
Daniel Giménez Cacho,
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Gael García Bernal,
Exemplar of waste , and creates a clear, strong opening premise
A little long and over-dramatic, this film is wasteful of time in a parallel way that religion can waste people's time, but uses that, in a way that captures the bleakness of its setting, and of detachment from reality, with almost no-one, if anyone, relatively well adjusted.
Without guessing at who did what in the production, they at times clearly worked well together, although some shots were familiar only to a particular audience.
With plenty of the previous/and deeply affected characters, it makes some effective transitions along the main character's life, and combines some of them well with the artistic direction's choices of types of cinematic-shots.
We get perspective almost as though going through a museum, the main character's paintings almost a layer of neuronal complexes from the father character, transferred, and being peeled back and pasted against the wall of the church the 'family' settles in, in their ignorances and isolations, not healed by his skill, but increasingly surrounded by it, or in weighty ways, like a Murial of poppies or graffiti-unidentifiable sprayed over in assumption.
Yet within only one, small, 'family', not a huge city with social dynamics going on - its not only society's, its your own, too! etc.
The film goes on, and after the less and less characters the father character has to spread his predicted-doom amongst his 'children' , only our main character is left - metaphising well , the self-destructive potentials, but more commonly, the self-ABUSIVE consequences that can happen from delusiary and taken too-literally religions' teachings...often 2nd-hand, after 2nd-hand, versions of things thought up in intended-metaphor, made ineffective when translated, etc.
When people aren't satisfied with hollow answers, or similarly, lose themselves in obsessions with particular part/s, of. Needing to know the contexts of, or histories of, not just the dogma or recitals, etc
That, it does very well, despite over-dramatic characters.
I would not normally recommend a movie like this because of its emotive-entrapment potentials, especially if someone is sensitive or in transition, i would, for a don't-think-about-it-too-much, portrayal OF WHAT, religion can do to people's CONCEPTUAL CAPACITIES.
Not in a documentary-scientific way, but just from having been a example of what people can end up turning INTO, not to- because of the absurdities of absolution (or similar concepts) and the irresponsibilities it creates, the initial father before our current-character father, hiding behind his 'flock', the initial, truly-evil deed doer, blaming the 'inevitably' mistake-making less-educated/whatever, self-punishing timid, trusting, farmer.
Not a film for too young a audience, but one OK to use to illustrate the limits/risks of things like absolution, or the ease with which the subconscious has a capacity to use flexible blame 'options' of the would-be 'knowers' of fate/divine-purpose into facilitation of further detachment or ongoing, truly pitiful attempted-justifications of behavior based on delusions, stuff like,
"...that was going to happen because God ... so i ...",
in not a setting of a societally-enforced punishment, but one where they have no-one but themselves to ask for fair judgment.
There's POTENTIAL there for religion to be used, but what the movie does well, is portray how religion convolves or cannibalizes, and is another reason why it's unreliable, hence the vanity/selfishness/psychopathics, of those who continue to defend it, and the stubbornness and tragedy of those it can leave behind.
Definitely cinematic, with plenty of good shots of the scale of distance between the open spaces and pop.s they are surviving in-amongst, and with easily tear-jerking (for some) sentimentality within the above-mentioned, INTENT, of the part of the religion, it also has fairly good costumes and props appropriate for the scenario/realisms of availabilities/pride(s), and nor is the camera constantly focused on a crucifix on someone's chest/breast/bosom.
Instead, the subtly wooden, not gold, crucifixes, are in the background, almost confusable with the cactus, outnumbered, with similar landscape-like, not oppressive- , opportune open space, in contrast to what lies in wait for them in the darkness of their own community's buildings.
They would be healing and recovering from the sun everyday, and instead they face something worse when they go back in, this 'desert', presumably - was it a novel, before a movie?
The calling of travel for the two young lovers/comfort-finders, unmistakable despite the bleakness of their environment- awwww.
This is no onto-the-next town western for more drinks, the people really need, to survive.
That, in combination with the imitated behavioural traits and self-researched, conclusions they draw, could be painfully depressing to watch for a Christian, and would be disappointing for people humanitarianly-aligned, in general.
On top of that, there's suicide and self-identification, an overload of psychiatric injuries and failures of attempted-universalities.
*sigh* Not a light movie to watch, any day of the week.
One of the few things there is little of, however, that probably adds to the effect of which kinds of behaviors the characters have towards each other in their opportunity, is the level of violence.
There's not too much, despite set in-amongst a war, excluding the initial scenes.
Other movies will be more currently-poignant, this one is by comparison, desolate, with nothing else to use, a no-options portrayal.
For that reason one can while having a healthy disrespect for religion, contextualize without having to pay much attention to any politics or know a particular history, the pressures upon the characters, especially the 'father'.
Also a good portrayal of some of the dynamics of gender in this context, but poison, if wanting to portray ONGOING, how-gender-works relativities of or examples of.
This is definitely a movie for the history bin, but one with pretty effective scene-setting, sound, and storyboarding/photography/direction.
Everything was so dusty! Aaah , if only all those freshly-washed-by-somebody-else 'tumble-dry' westerns had been more dusty.
Dust sandwich , anyone ? mmmmm...nutritious.
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