Alamar (To the Sea)
Pedro González-Rubio
2009, Mantarraya/Xkalakarma
73 minutes (Spanish and Italian)

LATAMROB rating: ****

SIMPLE and touching, Alamar has generated favourable reviews for being a charming antidote to the complex, hard urban (and borderland) dramas that characterise so much Mexican cinema and for depicting another, positive aspect of fatherhood (see Abel, for example). It tells the story of a fishing trip by Jorge (Machado), a very outdoor Mexican proud of his Mayan heritage, with his five-year-old son, Natan (Machado Palombini), before the lad returns to Rome with his Italian mother Roberta (Palombini). Jorge has the child’s best interests, physically and culturally at heart, although the boy is initially uncomfortable. Beautifully but sparsely shot by González-Rubio in Quintana Roo, the film observes the construction of a relationship in a picturesque and delicate style that is effective mainly for stripping away many of the complicated layers that characterise movies today. Magically, it avoids sentimentalism and paints a mature and, ultimately, realistic picture of the responsibilities of parenthood. The pair’s epic journey into the sea conjures up the triumphal fulfillment in a natural mission of classic literature. – EC

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