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Mexico, 2012, 110 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Drama, Latino, Social Issues
Programs: Contemporary World Cinema, New Directors ShowcaseLanguage: Spanish English Subtitles
DIRECTOR: Antonio Méndez Esparza
Producer: Ori Dov Gratch, Tim Hobbs, Pedro Hernández SantosEditor: Filippo ConzScreenwriter: Antonio Méndez EsparzaCinematographer: Barbu BalasoiuPrincipal Cast: Teresa Ramírez Aguirre, Pedro de los Santos Juárez, Lorena Guadalupe Pantaleón Vázquez, Heidi Laura Solano Espinoza
Director Antonio Méndez Esparza’s feature-length debut, Aquí y Allá, garnered the Critic’s Week Prize at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Pedro returns to his village in Mexico after years of working in the U.S. to reunite with the family he left behind. His daughters have grown up without him, and while he re-establishes himself as father and husband, he tries to realize his dream of starting a band—his own version of the ‘”American Dream.” He struggles to balance the life he had “there” and the life he returns to. From the get-go, we are intimate observers of the imminent and painful collapse of the situation.
Pedro’s wife, Teresa, is skeptical yet impassive; his younger daughter, Heidi, adoring; and moody older daughter Lorena is bored and rebellious. Meanwhile, Pedro mentors a young dropout faced with a dismal future who wants to try his luck at a life across the border. When Teresa becomes pregnant and suffers complications, she lands in the hospital. Soon, Pedro’s economic struggles force him to make a difficult decision: stay and be the man of the family, or return to the U.S. to be a better provider, albeit from afar.
The location of Tlapa, Guerrero, provides a slice of typical Mexican life. Slow-moving and subtle but richly layered, Aquí y Allá is a delicate character and cultural study. As it piles on the emotional drama, it highlights the stresses of emigration on family and examines the endless cycle of movement between the U.S. and its neighbor to the south.
- REBECCA CARO
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