[box cover]

Y Tu Mamá También (unrated version)

So-called "coming-of-age films" are virtually always about one thing — teenage boys having sex. Alfonso Cuarón's Y Tu Mamá También (2001) takes this device and boils it down to its essence, creating a very spare, very smart teen sex film — but no matter how much it may have been tarted up as an indie/art picture upon its release, it's still a movie about boys gettin' some. After giving their girlfriends one last goodbye hump before sending them off to Europe for the summer, Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael García Bernal) find themselves at loose ends. They swim and talk about sex. They shower together and comment on each others' penises and talk about sex. They drive around, fart, smoke pot, and talk about sex. They even masturbate together, urging each other on by suggesting hot women to imagine as they whack off. At a family wedding, the boys meet Luisa (Maribel Verdú), Tenoch's married Spanish cousin, and invite her to go with them on a road trip to the beach. For reasons of her own, the older Luisa accepts, and soon the trio are driving across the Mexican countryside, smoking joints and, of course, talking about sex. Cuarón (who co-wrote the film with his brother, Carlos) uses Luisa as a device with which the boys can work through the homoerotic underpinnings of their relationship — when Julio spies Tenoch and Luisa in an act of passion, Julio's jealous reaction is appropriately confused and hostile. The resulting conflict tests the extent — and nature — of the boys' commitment to each other. What elevates Y Tu Mamá También is the subtle running commentary on Mexico's political climate, which goes unmentioned by the characters — they think nothing of driving through a seemingly endless series of military checkpoints on their way across the country. A voice-over describes the internal workings of Luisa and the boys, but also details incidents like a laborer who's killed because he has no place to cross a highway on his way to work, and a local fisherman who'll soon lose his livelihood because of the construction of a luxury hotel on the beach where he lives. As the trio drive through shanty-towns, past drug-busts, and through police blockades, we see a Mexico whose peasant class suffers, even as the ruling class prospers (this jaundiced view of the Mexican government is rumored to be the reason why the movie wasn't offered up as Mexico's official entry for an Academy Award.) In layering this social commentary beneath a fairly straightforward teen-sex/road-trip movie, Cuarón makes a compelling argument that there are casualties in the "coming-of-age" process, both for teenage boys and for entire nations. MGM and IFC Films present Y Tu Mamá También in crisp, sharp anamorphic transfer (1.85:1), with very clean Spanish audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 (English subtitles are included). A commentary track with Cuarón, Bernal and Luna is in Spanish only. Also on board: "Me La Debes," a funny, sexy short film (11 min.) by Carlos Cuarón; a "making-of" featurette (22 min.), a TV spot, and the theatrical trailer. Keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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