Y Tu Mama Tambiene – Alfonso Cuarón (Criterion Collection Blu-Ray Review)

tumblr_n5n4nxYAR41qa6obyo1_1280Y Tu Mama Tambiene Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, now known as the director of the 2013 sci-fi film Gravity, is the tale of two horny teenagers (Julio and Tenoch)  and a sultry Spanish woman (Luisa) in her late 20’s  who take a road trip to a fictitious beach named Boca del Cielo. Julio and Tenoch are liberated once their girlfriends leave to Italy for the summer; racing pool laps and hanging with friends but soon get bored while they stay home while getting high.  While at a weeding they meet Luisa, the wife of Tenoch cousin,  where in attempt to flirt they come up with Boca del Cielo which Luisa declines their offer. Luisa later accepts their invitation as she received a phone call from her husband confessing that he has cheated. The road trip leads to a journey of growth and a turning point for the lives of Kulio and Tenoch.

Y  Tu Mama Tambien has been one of those films that I have seen many times where each viewing leads to something new. From my young desperately horny teenage years who only wanted to view this film for the many titillating scenes and male fantasies of being intimated with an older women to now. Looking back on it many of the feelings and stories told by Julio and Tenoch I have heard before coming from either myself or friends in order to impress peers, seem adult, or out of pure machismo.  It accurately captures the thoughts, feelings, and the journey of young males into adulthood. 

There is a political commentary running in background of the film that can be missed at first glance. Julio and Tenoch come from two extremely different families and backgrounds. Julio Zapata comes from a lower middle class family who lives with a divorced mother in a small cluttered apartment. Tenoch Iturbide comes from a wealthy family with a high ranking political figure as a father who is able to bring the Mexican President to a wedding.  The struggles of these two classes are sprinkled throughout Y Tu Mama Tambien, in its locations and representation of the Mexican people such as the home of Julio and the real Mexico that is outside of the walls of the wealthy. Alfonso Cuarón shows Mexico as it is; run down but full of life, unity, and family. At every corner of the frame the unity of Mexico is seen whether it be for a political rally or a quinceanera. These contrast the places where the wealthy frequent such as empty country clubs, massive wedding where the guest list is more important, and huge empty lifeless homes. Throughout the road trip there are constant roadblocks and police extortions that remind us of the problems that are still rampant across Mexico and issues that the government may not be addressing.

Y Tu Mama Tambiene is also a film about sex and love. At one point in my life I was more interested in watching the beautiful Luisa, played by Maribel Verdu, show off her body but its more than that. Luisa’s character teaches both Julio and Tenoch what is to love as teenagers Julio and Tenoch are only interested in how many positions, how many times, and how long they can last having sex. Luisa leads Julio and Tenoch into a sexual awaking where they experience uncompassionate love. This culmination, leads to an ending that leaves many viewers confused as it shows a shared experience of the true love between Julio and Tenoch.

After many years of teasing the Criterion Collection finally released Y Tu Mama Tambien in fantastic 2K transfer supervised and approved by Alfonso Cuarón and the director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki. This is the treatment that every fan of Y Tu Mama Tambien could have asked for. It is without saying that the Criterion Collection has once again released a perfect transfer for Y Tu Mama Tambien. There are no signs of digital manipulation or scratches seen on the transfer, almost as if they have actually put in the film negative on disc. The sound is also remarkable and pitch perfect, while the not a reference disc as the film is mostly composed of dialogue. The special features are as follows:

  • Two new pieces on the making of the film, featuring interviews, recorded at the time of production and in 2014, with actors Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Maribel Verdú; Alfonso Cuarón; cowriter Carlos Cuarón; and Lubezki
  • New interview with philosopher Slavoj Žižek about the film’s social and political aspects
  • On-set documentary from 2001
  • Deleted scenes
  • You Owe Me One (2002), a short film by Carlos Cuarón
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Charles Taylor and reprinted character biographies by Carlos Cuarón and Alfonso Cuarón

If I have not gushed enough about Y Tu Mama Tambien and how wonderful this film is I’ll simply say to please pick this film up from the Criterion Collection and watch it multiple times to fully enjoy and explore what Y Tu Mama Tambien is all about. Y Tu Mama Tambien is a must.

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