Reviews written by registered user
|4 reviews in total|
Others have already mentioned the film's beauty, elegance, attention to
period detail, acting etc. All amazing. As a gay man "of a certain age"
I felt deep gratitude for the gift given by the artists who created
this film. The direction is so subtle and effective, using the all the
tools of film making to communicate information, meaning, and emotion.
Like Brokeback Mountain, this film turns cliché on its head and transcends the particulars of the protagonists' lives by illuminating more universal themes. It is a period/genre film that acts to balance well established tropes of its genre, a powerful corrective to SO MANY previous films that repeated the same old false, stereotypical, and often tragic images of gay lives. Beyond merely telling some real truth, Carol has so much to say about strength, resilience, and the possibility of finding joy in difficult circumstances. As such, it was deeply satisfying to this viewer.
This moving and compelling documentary paints a vivid picture of the
tragic situation involving the cartels, police, military, government,
and citizens of Mexico. This story is too little known north of the
border, and that's why this documentary is important and should be
seen. The director's bravery in obtaining some amazing footage is to be
However, in my opinion the filmmaker has made a serious and even offensive misstep in trying to create a parallel between the vigilantes of the Autodefensas and the vigilantes of the Arizona Border Recon. Quoting from the doc's website, the premise is that these groups "vie to bring their own brand of justice to a society where institutions have failed."
It's abundantly clear that in Mexico, to put it as neutrally as possible, institutions (government, police, military) have failed to protect citizens from cartel- sponsored violence. The tragic consequences of this failure are made disturbingly real in the film.
However, the idea that U.S. government, police, and military have failed to protect the citizens of Arizona from cartel-sponsored violence is just absurd. Worse, by comparing a flawed Mexican leader who is apparently sincerely trying to address a horrific situation to a flawed American "leader" who is off on some crackpot right-wing conspiracy theory where the danger is mostly in his head, the film ends up insulting the actual pain and suffering experienced by the people of Mexico. However much the Arizona guy wants to say he's really focusing on the cartel's activity in the Arizona desert (how does that work, again?), his true motive is to stop people from crossing the border because he has an anti-immigration ax to grind. However you feel about immigration, U.S.-based anti- immigrant vigilantism is not analogous to the motives or efforts of the Autodefensas. Comparing the two insults the Mexican people's suffering and the Autodefensas courage, however flawed their leaders and unsuccessful their efforts may be.
If the filmmaker wanted to bring in important information from the U.S. side of the border, he might have tried providing some information about how our government's "War on Drugs" has paralleled the cartel's rise (coincidence?), or the blood that's on our hands because we're the ones buying the drugs.
Instead, he makes a false parallel with a group of anti-immigrant wingnuts. If you want to make a documentary to show that anti- immigrant wingnuts are people too, go ahead, but don't try to compare the Arizona Border Recon to the Autodefensas. That's not an intellectually fascinating parallel, as the filmmaker apparently believes. It's just pretentious and, really, disgusting.
This movie gave me one of those very rare and difficult to describe experiences, where I was completely riveted during the film, then literally ecstatic afterward thanks to the artistic brilliance on display here. I saw it at the San Francisco Frameline film festival 6/07. Maybe my experience was personal, and maybe I just enjoyed the movie more than anyone in the audience that night, I really can't say. But wow! I wanted to jump for joy when it was over. So unique, inventive, fascinating, unexpected, beautifully acted (beautiful in all senses of the word), and with direction so insanely brilliant it was a gift to this movie lover. There are some great films coming out of S. Korea; this is one. See it if you can.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of Brokeback Mt., but I saw a screening of this film at the SF Gay and Lesbian Film Festival tonight and loved it as much as BBM and in some ways appreciated it more. At the Q & A after the screening the producer mentioned that the production company exec who green-lighted the project said he wanted to make "the anti-Brokeback," and in this I think they have succeeded magnificently. This is a genuine, heartfelt story about gay love minus all the tragedy and shattered lives. Which isn't to say there's no drama... Let's just say that some characters in the story have some problems, but mostly they're not a direct result of the love story at the film's core. For my money the acting (with avowed heterosexuals playing the gay roles, as in BBM) was more convincing, the kissing more natural, the sex scenes extremely sexy and moving; another milestone in the realistic portrayal of gay love and sex. The family setting provided a context that allowed one man's coming out story to be just one among many changes all families go through together while simultaneously putting some evil homophobic stereotypes to bed, you should pardon the expression, rather than dwelling on them as in BBM. Bravo to the filmmakers and excellent cast, and I hope you get a chance to see it soon if you weren't lucky enough to be among the 1400 people at the Castro theater tonight. Oh, and the lead actors are drop dead gorgeous and playing surfers. Enough said.