Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Moie Review: Alamar

Alamar ** ½
Directed by:
Pedro González-Rubio.
Written By: Pedro González-Rubio.
Starring: Jorge Machado, Natan Machado Palombini, Nestór Marín, Roberta Palombini.

Alamar is without a doubt one of the most beautiful films of the year. Almost the entire film takes place along the ocean in Mexico, where a local fisherman takes his son to work with him and his grandfather out into the deserted waters in the weeks leading up to when the boys mother takes him back to her home country of Italy following their divorce. The actors are essentially playing a version of themselves - this is certainly an echo of the neo-realist movement - yet it is the locations - the beautiful island hideaway where they live, the gorgeous, clear water they make their living on and in - that stands out the most.

Taken as a purely visual experience then, it must be said that Alamar is satisfying. Writer-director Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio simply sits back and observes the routines of these men on the water - the fishing, the cleaning, the selling, and the downtime that comes from life as a fisherman. These men are Mayan descendents, and they are part of a way of life that goes back countless generations, but is a way of life that modernism is slowly seeping in, and will eventually end it. This is personified by the relationship between father and son here - which is rather sweet and loving throughout. But for the first time in this family the generation after is not going to take over the family business as it were.

And yet, to me, Alamar, while being a very interesting film, is not quite successful. I’m not sure there is truly enough here to support a feature film - a short for sure, but even at only at 80 minutes long, Alamar feels stretched beyond its natural breaking point. As gorgeous as the film is, and as loving as the father-son relationship here is, it never really feels like this is a feature film with all that much to say.

I admire Alamar more than I actually liked it. I admired the beautiful photography but never really thought the movie really came together. If you admire neo-realist films, and want to know about fisherman in this area, than perhaps you will like the film more than I did. But the whole thing felt so slight to me that it never really felt like a necessary film to make.

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