Film Society to show ‘Y Tu Mamá También’

From left, Maribel Verdú, Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal in “Y Tu Mamá También.” (2001). (IMDB.com)

NEW ULM — The New Ulm Film Society’s coming-of-age film series reaches maturity with a screening of “Y Tu Mamá También.”

The screening starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 14 in the New Ulm Public Library basement.

“Y Tu Mamá También” is a 2001 Mexican film directed by Alfonso Cuarón. In the film, teenagers Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) embark on a road trip with an older woman named Luisa (MaribelVerdú) against the backdrop of changing the political climate in Mexico.

“Y Tu Mamá También” is difficult to classify in a single genre. The film is often labeled as a coming-of-age film or a road movie, but this is misleading. Film critic Roger Ebert said calling the movie a“teen drama” was technically true, but sidesteps the reason to see the film.

It is a story about two young men maturing into adults, but it’s also story about the two different worlds of modern Mexico. The two main characters are from different levels of Mexican society. Julio is from a middle-class family and Tenoch’s father is a high-ranking political official. Their friendship is being tested in this film, both by their actions and the politics of Mexico.

The film is set in 1999 and comments on the politics of the country at that time. Mexico was at the end of 71 years of uninterrupted presidents from a single political party. For the first time in over seven decades, Mexico elected a president from the opposition party.

Upon initial release, the film received high praise from critics and even received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. The film received high praise for its intimate portrayal of the characters and the country of Mexico, but it was a hard sell for American audiences.

As the title suggests, “Y Tu Mamá También” is a Spanish language film, which limited it’s accessibility in non-Spanish speaking countries. The subject matter was further alienating to audiences expecting a traditional Hollywood film.

Cuarón intentionally went against commercial wisdom of the time. He had previously worked on larger budget Hollywood film but wanted to root this story in Mexican cinema. The film was produced in Mexico to avoid Hollywood influence. His aim was for a documentary style. Handheld cameras were used to shoot the film. The script has minimal direction to allow the actors to contribute and improvise. The most shocking aspect of “Y Tu MamáTambién” is its frank depiction of sex.

“Y Tu Mamá También” is often remembered for its explicit content. The film was released in the United States without a Motion Picture Association of America rating. An unrated film is unusual, but the filmmakers anticipated an NC-17 rating for the explicit depiction of sex and drug use.

The title translates to “And Your Mother Too.” Depending on an audience point of view, the title is harmless or it is an offensive insult. How an audience responds to the title is an indicator of how they will respond to the film.

The New Ulm Film Society will screen the film at 6 p.m.Tuesday, May 14. The Film Society will facilitate discussion before and after the film.

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