Modern Treasures: Y Tu Mama Tambien

Several movies over the past decade have brought Mexican cinema repeated international recognition. While popular films like Amores Perros and, most notably, Pan’s Labyrinth are without a doubt great, no film in the last decade has given me as much hope about the possibilities of a Mexican national cinema as Y Tu Mama Tambien (beautifully directed by Alfonso Cuaron).

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Last Minute Oscar Thoughts: Possible Surprises

Another yearly award season will come to an end tonight when trophies for top motion picture honors, the Academy Awards, are handed out in California. As with previous years, the long stretch of endless pre-cursor awards handed out leading up to the Oscars means we pretty much know what to expect tonight. It would perhaps be Oscar’s biggest shock if someone like Mo’nique ended up losing.

Sure, there are people out there who think there’s an actual race for Best Picture between Avatar and The Hurt Locker. The only thing I can say to that is that I don’t get it.  The Hurt Locker might appear microscopic in comparison to Avatar but, apart from the Golden Globe, it has won every award you can think of so far. An Avatar win tonight would flat-out shock  and disappoint me. True, I would have said the same thing about a Brokeback Mountain loss a few years back, but I am not expecting history to repeat itself so soon. So with Picture, in my opinion, pretty much wrapped up, it narrows down the likelihood of any major surprises to a couple of categories. The most likely of these is Best Actress.

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Last Minute Oscar Predictions

What Will/Should Win. Plus What should have been nominated.

Best Picture
Will Win: The Hurt Locker (Alt: Avatar)
Should Win: The Hurt Locker
Should Have Been Nominated: Bright Star

Best Director
Will Win: Kathryn Bigelow (Alt: None)
Should Win: Kathryn Bigelow
Should Have Been Nominated: Jane Campion (Bright Star)

Best Actress

Will Win: Sandra Bullock (Alt: Gabby Sidibe)
Should Win: Gabby Sidibe
Should Have Been Nominated: Catalina Saavedra (The Maid)

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Mexico in Pictures: Huentitan Sequel

As I posted before, my hike to Huentitan canyon last week did not end so well. I had a lot of fun, but we ended up being turned away before I was able to see the river. Rod : Bodies of water :: Moth : Flame. So I had to go back this weekend.

As much as I wanted to be prepared for a donkey attack with gear to step all over them, going for my hike in boots might not have been the best idea. And I was once again unable to reach the river, although I was that much closer. Within meters, in fact. I’m beginning to wonder if this is the Mexican Area 51. I will just have to keep going back until I reach my intended destination, I guess. That might have to wait until the missing layer of skin at the bottom of my feet grows back, though. Until then, I have these photos (and more over at my Flick’r page):

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Valentine’s Day 2010 Movie Pick: Bright Star

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art.

One of my favorite ways to spend Valentine’s Day, were I not so cynical, would be a day with a few of my favorite movies. I might be biased, but it’s romantic, relaxing and relatively effortless.  Judging by a couple of titles out now and aimed at sweethearts all over, a less-cynical version of me would not be alone.

If you choose to spend your Valentine’s Day this way this year, do yourself, your relationship and humanity a favor: stay away from multiplexes and crap like Dear John and Valentine’s Day. I suggest, instead, watching the tragically overlooked 2009 Jane Campion film, Bright Star.

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Mexico in Pictures: Huentitan Canyon

Huentitan Canyon is located in the Guadalajara Metropolitan area.  The Rio Grande de Santiago (Mexico’s second largest river) runs through the bottom of the canyon. Climbing down to the bottom is quite the workout (don’t be fooled by the pictures, they don’t do the hill’s angle any justice). As someone who is a little obsessed with fresh bodies of water, I couldn’t wait to get to the bottom for a close view of the river. Sadly, during our climb down this weekend, we decided to take a bit of detour along the way thinking it’d be faster, and ended up in private property at the bottom of the canyon. Unable to get to the river itself.

Enjoy the (distant) views of the river and canyon.

Huentitan Canyon Sunset

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A New Era in Mexican Cinema: Francisco Vargas

One of the things I most looked forward to when moving to Mexico was exploring Mexican cinema, from its very first silent movies to the current, and very much resurgent, era. Over the last decade, Mexico has witnessed unprecedented international success with Academy-Award nominated films like Amores Perros, The Crime of Father Amaro, Pan’s Labyrinth and Y Tu Mama Tambien. Without taking away anything from those movies (Y Tu Mama Tambien, in particular, is one of my all-time favorites) I wanted to bring attention to four filmmakers whose films didn’t quite receive the attention of the aforementioned titles. These filmmakers, however, could very well represent the birth of a bright, artistic period in the future of Mexican cinema..

First off, Francisco Vargas. Of the four directors I will be covering ,he is the only one to have made no more than one feature-length film over the course of the decade. That film, 2005’s The Violin (El violin), is such a poignant, assured debut that he absolutely had to be included here nonetheless.

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