Year of the Nail

16 Mar

Recently finishing its run at SXSW, Jonás Cuarón’s Año uña continues to round the festival circuit, showing this week at 12e Festivalissímo, Montréal’s Ibero-Latinoamerican film festival. Festivalissímo synopsis:

Año uña is the impossible romance between Molly, a 21-year-old American, and Diego, a Mexican in the throes of puberty. Molly travels to Mexico, where she rents a room in Diego’s house, hitting it off immediately with the boy. Diego, who had previously been consumed by desire for his cousin, Emilia, redirects his obsession towards Molly, who enjoys Diego’s flirtations, finding the attention and respect missing from her relations with other boyfriends. The relationship continues to grow until Molly returns to New York. Diego decides to win Molly’s heart.”

Jonás was born to Alfonso Cuarón and Mariana Elizondo in 1981 in Mexico City. This is his first feature length film and was a family affair, starring his girlfriend Eireann Harper as Molly, his brother Diego Cataño as Diego, and Elizondo as Mom. Año uña (Year of the Nail) screens at Cinéma du Parc in Montréal 17 and 21 March 2008.

At South by Southwest, Jonás Cuarón participated in a panel “New Trends in Latino Cinema,” moderated by University of Texas at Austin professor Charles Ramirez Berg, reports The Brownsville Herald’s Laura Tillman. Questioning the term Latino Cinema, Cuarón said, “I think talking in general about Latin American cinema becomes restrictive. I have Mexican cinema influences, but I also love Iranian and European cinema.” This was a sentiment echoed by his fellow panelists, indicating the diverse artistic communities across Latin America. “Cuaron’s film… is an often comedic, experimental collection of photographs documenting an actual year of the filmmaker’s life. Cuaron then set a fictional narrative over the photographs, offering an un-stereotypical look at an American tourist’s experience in Mexico City.”


Jonás Cuarón speaking to Red Radio, Universidad de Guadalajara

The first press for Año uña appeared in the Mexican press one year ago when El Universal introduced the 25 year old filmmaker and previewed the film’s worldwide premiere at the XXII Guadalajara international film festival. Building his film on a year’s worth of photographs of his family and girlfriend (ie. a film first shot, then written), “He wanted to return, despite the [technologies available], to the essence of the script which required no more than paper and pencil, but made into a film. That analogy only needed a camera and his family to serve as itself in a natural, everyday way. So they took pictures, uploaded on his computer for editing and recording spot dialogues.” Speaking to César Huerta, he revealed that Año uña was very much his own project and Alfonso Cuarón was unaware of it until he had already finished its first treatment (although he indicated that he has learned much from him and admires him very much).

Since Guadalajara, Año uña has screened to favourable reviews at a number of festivals, including:

  • Venice Film Festival
  • Donostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival
  • Helsinki International Film Festival
  • Thessaloniki International Film Festival (awarded for Special Artistic Achievement)
  • Morelia International Film Festival
  • Portland International Film Festival
  • Stockholm Film Festival
  • SXSW South by Southwest Film Festival, Austin TX
  • Festivalissímo, Montréal’s Ibero-Latinoamerican film festival
  • Viva Spanish and Latin American Film Festival, Manchester
  • Campo Viejo Spanish Film Festival, Dublin


Jonás Cuarón and Eireann Harper at El 5º Festival Internacional
de Cine de Morelia, 13 October 2007 (rodando CINE)

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One Response to “Year of the Nail”

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  1. Can I show you my teeth? « Prologue to history - 8 August 2008

    […] and explore this incredibly luscious library. In the other room, I bump into teenage versions of Jonás Cuarón and Eireann Harper. I say something along the lines of ooer and we chat, and then I wake […]

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