Y tu Mamá También (2002): May Blind Spot

I seem to be drawn to Spanish and Latin American cinema more than any other. Y tu Mamá También or “And Your Mother Too” is a Mexican film directed by Alfonso Cuáron of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) fame. But more recently, he is known for being the director of Gravity (2013). One thing I can tell you about this director: an auteur, this guy is not.

The first time I was introduced to Spanish cinema was when I studied film for A Level and watched Pedro Almodóvar’s Talk to Her (2002). I adored that film. I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to pull apart it’s layers and understand the themes going on underneath. Almodóvar’s films had a maternal and female focus. They dealt with a plethora of sexual fantasies and desires such as the body as a scientific and infinitive being. He brought all of this into a real world, but in a way that would seem melodramatic or crass in British film. They are generally politically themed and they are bright and joyous beings. An auteur, Almodóvar definitely is.

Y Tu Mama Tambien (2002) was my choice for May Blind Spot and it's, hands down, one of the best films I've ever seen | almostginger.com
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Put some nice saturations over Y tu Mamá También and a few more light hearted moments and you’d be forgiven if you thought the film was an Almodóvar. Despite the fact Mexico and Spain are two very different countries and I won’t forget it. The opening scene displays two teenagers butt-naked rolling around on a bed whilst the girl promises the guy she won’t cheat on him with men from various different nationalities. Immediately, a small part of the narrative, the political themes and the exploration of sexual desire are evident.

The male in question is is Tenoch and the female is his girlfriend Ana. Ana and her friend Ceci (who’s boyfriend Julio also happens to be BFFs with Tenoch) are going travelling for the summer. They are leaving their promiscuous boyfriends back in Mexico to smoke weed, go to parties, get drunk and all sorts of other “extra-curricular activities” that alludes to the kind of friendship the boys have developed.

Tenoch’s father is a Politician so he has never been without. Julio lives with his single working-class mother and political activist sister. Mexico is currently dealing with an array protests and revolutions rampant. A revolution that would end the one-party system Mexico had been Governed by for 71 years.

Y Tu Mama Tambien (2002) was my choice for May Blind Spot and it's, hands down, one of the best films I've ever seen | almostginger.com
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

It’s at a wedding where some relation of Tenoch’s is getting married where he and Julio meet Luisa. Recognising that she is attractive and fancying themselves as 17 year old Gods-gifts-to-women (hah), they invite Luisa on a road trip to some amazing (also completely made-up) beach in Mexico. Naturally, as a married woman with responsibilities and the assumption she probably doesn’t want to spend a few days in a car with some teenage boys, she says no.

Cut to the next day where Luisa receives “test results”. The final push she needs to leave her cheating husband and go on the road trip with the young boys. This seems to make total sense. On the road trip, the boys learn more about their sexuality and women and the realities of wider world in this one road trip than they ever did in the years leading up to it.

It frustrates me because I can never quite describe exactly what it is that I love about Spanish and Latin American cinema. And this film is absolutely no different. It’s a coming of age film in a time when Mexico itself was coming of age. And subsequently, Mexico sure does have a lot to learn and a lot of adjusting to do.

The film ends on a solemn note that, I guess, isn’t that bad but it sure as hell isn’t great. It’s like those American movies where they’ve just graduated high school and they’re having one last blow out because they all know that College is going to change everything. But they say they’ll still be BFFs, even though they secretly know that’s not going to happen. Y tu Mamá También resonates that in me: things never stop changing and it ain’t always good.

Y Tu Mama Tambien (2002) was my choice for May Blind Spot and it's, hands down, one of the best films I've ever seen | almostginger.com
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

I’m not too up on the Mexican school system but I do think the boys are about 17, and Luisa’s probably in her late 20s or at least she looks good enough to be in her late 20s. I’m in the middle of those ages right now. I’ve finished University and the ‘growing up and trying new things’ part of my life, supposedly. But I’m most certainly no where near marriage and a potential divorce. I’m somewhere in the middle. And I can tell you which category I’d rather be in.

Living in the same city I went to University in still gives me these great pangs of emotion and nostalgia for a time when it was perfectly okay to make mistakes. But I have to grow up and Mexico had to grow up. Julio and Tenoch had to go to College. Luisa had to meet her fate. It was all a bit shit, and Y tu Mamá También doesn’t leave me with the greatest of feelings and much hope for the future. However, we have to do things we don’t want to do, and we have to meet our fate. From thousands of miles away in Mexico it really hits home the realities of our beings and I couldn’t have asked for anything more from this small but truly special film.

Have you ever seen Y tu Mama Tambien? Did you love it as much as I did?

This feature is part of a series of posts run by The Matinee. If you want to find out what’s coming up in my Blind Spot series, click here. If you want to read last month’s post, click here.

Want MORE?

The Origin of an Auteur Blogathon: Pedro Almodovar

¡Viva! Presents New Mexican Cinema: En el último trago (2014) and the Mexican Road Movie

¡Viva! Presents New Mexican Cinema: Paraíso (2013) and Güeros (2014)

In-Flight Movies to… Spain

Rebecca

I’m the human and hair behind Almost Ginger. I’m a cinephile travel obsessive vegetarian currently residing in Manchester.

9 thoughts on “Y tu Mamá También (2002): May Blind Spot

  • May 10, 2015 at 3:16 pm
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    I love this movie, my favorite of 2002. It’s just an amazing coming-of-age film, for both the boys and Mexico. I’m also a fan of Cuaron and Almodovar. I’d argue that they’re both auteurs, just different types.

    Reply
    • May 10, 2015 at 4:47 pm
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      Oh it is I was coming enthralled by it! That’s really interesting, I’d love for you to go into details about Cuaron being an auteur? Because I was writing a piece on Charing last month and I initially wanted to write a post along the lines of “5 reasons why Cuaron is an auteur” or something like that, and I planned to watch a bunch of his movies and come to some kind of conclusion… I was completely stumped! I essentially just gave up and did one on Prisoner of Azkaban instead… So I really do need some enlightening on this topic! 😀

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      • May 10, 2015 at 6:12 pm
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        To be honest, I’ve only seen three of the movies he’s directed: Children of Men and Gravity being the other two. Just within those movies I see themes that he keeps returning to. The biggest one is that he gives us characters that are desperately journeying toward something that gives them hope. Not only that, but hope seems to be what keeps them alive. In Gravity, Bullock’s character is trying not just to get back to Earth, but to her daughter. In Children of Men, Owen is trying to deliver that hope to “tomorrow” both literally and figuratively. Here, there are the juvenile hopes of our main characters, getting laid by this older woman and remaining friends forever. There is also the hope of the nation as it looks toward it’s future. While hope keeping our heroes alive is more literal in the other two movies, it sustains the two boys also by giving their summer a life it never could have had without Luisa. On a larger scale, it gives Mexico a reason to be optimistic. Given that Cuaron is at least a co-writer on of these films (with his brother for Y tu), and that he’s Mexican, suggests that he is indeed putting something personal of himself into the stories he tells. The idea that we must work through all the adversity in service of fixing the bigger picture is clearly important to him. He does so in a much more subtle manner than the relentlessly personal Almodovar, but he’s not merely telling someone else’s stories. Not sure if this helps, but that’s how I see him.

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        • May 11, 2015 at 3:37 pm
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          Thank you, that’s really helped! 😀 I guess the one question I need to ask myself is “Does this filmmaker’s personal voice shine through?” Rather than “Do over 50% of their films have an obvious thematic or stylistic thread?” I’ve always judged auteurism by watching a film and immediately knowing who is behind the work (which I can only do with director-writers, I had a teacher who could guess with cinematographers which I thought was superb!) and I would never in a million years be able to do that with Cuaron, but I could maybe with say, Fincher, despite him being less obvious in style and narrative than your Tarantino’s and your Wes Anderson’s… But I guess that’s why they call it a theory, it’s so interpretive!

          Reply
  • May 12, 2015 at 4:12 am
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    I didn’t read much of your review because this is also part of my blind spot list, and I’m planning to watch it on the latter half of the year. Glad you enjoyed this one, and I’m definitely looking forward to watching this as well.

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    • May 12, 2015 at 8:29 am
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      Oh definitely don’t read it! You’ll love it I’m very excited for you 😀

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  • June 4, 2015 at 2:10 pm
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    Excellent post on an excellent film! I really enjoyed reading your stuff for the first time.

    “Y tu Mamá También resonates a bit of that in me: things never stop changing and it ain’t always good.”

    This line here really gets down to what this movie is. In your last paragraph, though, you mentioned a lack of hope. As someone closer to the Luisa characters’ age, I can offer this advice: there is hope in “things changing” even if “it ain’t always good.” Luisa’s fate was tragic, but she wasn’t unfulfilled.

    Reply
  • June 4, 2015 at 2:29 pm
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    That’s really interesting, and very true. We leave Luisa on her having a good time frolicking in the sea so why should she be unfulfilled? She’s left her husband and is able to live out the rest of her life on her own terms… Which definitely doesn’t lead to no hope! I guess with the boys losing touch and almost ‘lose’ the naivety they had about the realities of their future and their egos about women, I let that feeling cloud over me a bit more because that’s the scene the film decided to end on.
    Had the film showed the Cafe scene, and then Luisa happy in the sea with the audience knowing she was soon to meet her fate… I’m not sure I would have felt quite so hopeless!

    And thank you for stopping by!! 😀

    Reply

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