Just went to the last showing of Año uña at Cinéma du Parc for Festivalissímo. I thought it was sweet. I arrived half an hour early hoping it wouldn’t be sold out but it turns out the box office doesn’t even open until fifteen minutes before the film starts, so it was all right. I think there was a decently-sized audience (not that I really know what that is) and the murmured response I heard from eavesdropping generally referred to the photographic-style of the movie and how it was interesting, et cetera.
The first English-language review (can’t read Spanish unfortunately, thus can’t access all the Spanish-language google results) I read from the SXSW coverage I read indicated apprehension about sitting through eighty plus minutes of what is effectively a narrated slideshow but I was similarly surprised/impressed (although I’d been looking forward to the film since I heard about it). I used to be a lazier film-watcher and I’m not sure if I can say that I’m not now, but I feel like this photographic delivery (rather than a “movie” in the old sense of the word) maybe did require more work from the audience. But it didn’t feel like it. Maybe we were just able to access different parts of the “movie” that we usually don’t when things are delivered to us. I wasn’t actively trying to fill in the gaps between frames with my imagination, I think the voice-overs were sufficient. Maybe I paid better attention to the actors this way, even though they weren’t quite acting. The film was introduced with real characters and real places, just a fictional plot. Hmm…
Also, it’s cool going through the cast list and seeing all of the family members named. It feels wholesome or something. But it’s interesting to note that the film was produced by Esperanto Films which was Alfonso Cuarón’s film company under Producciones Anhelo. I don’t know what that says about Esperanto though, regarding creative roles and whatnot, because the early interviews I google-translated indicated it was a very independent project on the part of Jonás Cuarón. Having read about how the film was made – a series of photographs taken over the course of a year – there was a very personal/familiar feeling about the photographs, in the way that maybe reflects the way the movie was made… intimate maybe? Anyways, I’d recommend it, not just because I enjoyed it and I discovered it in a route of all good discoveries, but because it was really interesting and different to sit through and watch.
From the Montreal Mirror: “Ano uña (Year of the Nail) is a new film by Jonás Cuarón, son of the more famous Alfonso (betcha didn’t even know he had one). Taking a page from La Jetée, the movie is told entirely through still images, and it’s the story of a young Mexican boy who falls in love with an older, American woman—kind of like Y Tu Mama Tambien, tambien.” I didn’t feel that it was much like Y tu mamá también although I have to say that it’s a catchy way to pitch it.
I planned to go to the festival last year to see Sólo con tu pareja (Alfonso Cuarón’s first feature and collab with Emmanuel Lubezki) but unfortunately both showings (English and French subtitles) were during (somewhat ironically) the film class I was taking at the time. Fortunately, the Criterion DVD came out not long after, although it would’ve been nice to see it on the big screen (I still haven’t gotten around to purchasing it, but I will soon, especially since it includes early short films by Alfonso and Carlos Cuarón).