Y Tu Mama Tambien
(And Your Mother Too)

Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too)
Made in: Mexico
Language: Spanish
Director: Alfonson Cuarón
Starring: Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal, Maribel Verdu
Year: 2001

Synopsis: Tenoch Iturbide (Diego Luna) and his best friend Julio Zapata (Gael Garcia Bernal) are two youths in Mexico City whose respective girlfriends have gone away for the summer. Spending their free time partying, drinking, smoking pot, and fantasizing about sex, Tenoch and Julio seem content in their world of middle-class decadence.

At a wedding one day, they meet Luisa (Maribel Verdu), the attractive Spanish wife of Tenoch's cousin. On a whim, the two boys invite Luisa on a road trip to Boca del Cielo (Heaven's Mouth, a beach town that neither one of them is certain actually exists. To their surprise, Luisa actually accepts after learning that her husband has been sleeping around.

As the three journey away from Mexico City and and deep into the countryside, the trip becomes an emotionally and sexually charged drama that neither Tenoch or Julio could have anticipated.

Remarks: Y Tu Mama Tambien is definitely not a movie for everyone. Full of graphic sex, drug references, and drug use, this film from Alfonso Cuarón will no doubt be a shocker. Those studying Spanish will be introduced to an overwhelming number of swear words and vulgar expressions that will get you kicked out of class.

Made in Mexico, the film is meant to be a complex commentary on the historical instability of that country, which has dire psychological effects throughout all social classes. The protagonists, played by real-life childhood pals Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal (who are both excellent actors), represent the sexually-obsessed youth that is said to be pervasive among many young people in Mexico.

Although their excursion and resulting trysts with Luisa seem to be nothing more than an adolescent sexual fantasy, its occurrence in the countryside against the stark background of rampant poverty is symbolic of the temporary escape from the overwhelming troubles that many Mexicans yearn for.

As substantive as Cuarón attempts to make this film, Y Tu Mama Tambien will no doubt be difficult for many American viewers to accept. Much of this is, I believe, is due to cultural differences. Compared to Mexico, the United States is a much more stable country and our societal issues are, for the most part, tamer than that of our southern neighbors.

And as you will figure out from the first scene, Mexicans are presumably, for better or worse, much more open and uninhibited about sex than we are.

Many of the political/social commentaries may be lost on US audiences, but it won't be hard to figure out that the powerful imagery and dialog is meant to be important. Although we might not be familiar with the specifics of Mexican economics, you don't need a PhD to realize that the issue of class division plays a big part in the story as the friendship between Tenoch and Julio evolves.

Who would like this movie: Y Tu Mama Tambien is for you if you're familiar with the troubles plaguing Mexican society, especially those caused by political corruption, drugs, and the economic divide between upper and lower classes.

The raw, nearly pornographic-looking sex scenes and full-frontal nudity will no doubt be offensive to many so stay away if you're just in the mood for some relaxing entertainment. Seek this out only if you're making a concerted effort to explore the controversial, edgier side of international films.

Review written by: Joe Yang

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