7.9/10
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The Beginning and the End (1993)

Principio y fin (original title)
The film tells the story of the Boteros, a middle-class Mexican family struggling against poverty after their father's death. Ignacia (Egurrola) is the Boteros mother, a desperate woman who... See full summary »

Director:

Arturo Ripstein

Writers:

Paz Alicia Garciadiego, Najeeb Mahfouz (novel) (as Naguib Mahfouz)
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18 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ernesto Laguardia ... Gabriel Botero
Julieta Egurrola ... Ignacia Botero
Blanca Guerra ... Julia
Verónica Merchant ... Natalia
Bruno Bichir ... Nicolás Botero
Alberto Estrella ... Guama Botero
Alonso Echánove ... Cariñoso
Lucía Muñoz Lucía Muñoz ... Mireya Botero
Luis Felipe Tovar ... César
Julián Pastor Julián Pastor ... Luján
Luisa Huertas Luisa Huertas ... Isabel
Jorge Fegán Jorge Fegán ... Absalón
Ernesto Yáñez Ernesto Yáñez ... Polvorón
Alejandro Parodi Alejandro Parodi ... Rector
Darío T. Pie Darío T. Pie ... Maurer
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Storyline

The film tells the story of the Boteros, a middle-class Mexican family struggling against poverty after their father's death. Ignacia (Egurrola) is the Boteros mother, a desperate woman who chooses to sacrifice the destiny of her three older children, in order to protect Gabriel (Laguardia) the youngest one. She believes Gabriel will climb the social structure and bring back the lost fortune to the family. But destiny has other plans for the Boteros and tragedy will overcome eventually. Based on the novel of Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz. Written by Maximiliano Maza <mmaza@campus.mty.itesm.mx>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

Mexico

Language:

Spanish

Release Date:

9 September 1994 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Początek i koniec See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Version of The Beginning and the End (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mexican Tremendism
16 August 2001 | by EdgarSTSee all my reviews

One can admire Arturo Ripstein's and wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego's screen adaptation of Naguib Mahfouz' novel for its capacity to maintain one's attention for three hours, but there are elements that question its credibility and make the translation to México too broad, schematic and artificial. Most of the time the film is an exercise in tremendism that in the end distances one from the story. Surely an Egyptian story can be adapted to Mexico. This endeavor was made even better by Vicente Leñero a year later in Jorge Fons' "El Callejón de los Milagros". In Leñero's adaptation one felt a true Mexican ambiance, and the structure of the script was richer and more complex; in Garciadiego's case Mexico city is only the sordid décor for a story that is too centered in its characters' psychology to describe the decline of a middle class family into poverty. Even in the psychological realm, the film sometimes delves into suggestions that add to nothing more than a tease. On the other hand, some dialogues must look "poetic" on paper, but they just sound plain silly when spoken –as in the scene where an unwed mother breaks up with a young suitor. Dealing with Garciadiego's dialogues, some actors are able to turn naturalistic performances (Bruno Bichir, the always excellent Blanca Guerra, and Julieta Egurrola and Lucía Muñoz as mother and daughter) but in leading actor Ernesto Laguardia's delivery they sound as lines from a bad soap opera. In some ways "Principio y fin" reminded me of "Rocco e i suoi fratelli", Luchino Visconti's tragic tale of the deterioration of a poor Sicilian family. But Visconti also made it clear that he was making a melodrama. Ripstein narrates the first two hours of the story in a conventional "zero degree" style, with a few arty moments for good measure (the meeting of brothers Bichir and Laguardia in a barber shop, that is too homoerotic to ring true). Then all of a sudden the story turns into a weird tragedy which Ripstein shots with a wild hand-held camera, adds foreign drums to the soundtrack, and the film abruptly ends. There is no doubt that Ripstein and Garciadiego are always interesting, and they have made very good films. "El imperio de la fortuna" was an attractive version of Juan Rulfo's "El gallo de oro" and their version of the "Honeymoon Killers" in "Profundo carmesí" has been universally acclaimed. Though not a bad film, "Principio y fin" belongs to the category of their excesses, as the awful "La reina de la noche" or their ill-advised remake of "La mujer del puerto".


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