Alfonso Cuarón’s first arthouse smash, about a pair of randy buddies on a road trip, is a joyfully sexy comedy/drama that helped spark the Mexican Cinema Renaissance of the new millennium. Best friends Tenoch and Julio (Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal), the former a wealthy aristocrat’s son and the latter from a working class background, take off on a free-wheeling road trip through Mexico.
“Raunchy, smart, ebullient, melancholy, insightful, surprising, funny, frank and sexy as all get-out.” – Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune
With their respective girlfriends away in Europe, the dynamic duo is looking forward to a summer filled with drinks, drugs and cheap, meaningless sex. While on the road, they meet and befriend a seductive and mysterious older woman named Luisa (Maribel Verdu), who helps the young men learn some valuable things about themselves, while also guarding a few secrets of her own. As each of the young men’s affection for Luisa grows, their simmering jealousies inevitably (and explosively) boil over into savage arguments, threatening to completely destroy their relationship with one another. With its intoxicating combination of hilariously playful intensity and provocative insights into life, love and friendship, Cuarón’s rollicking road movie (propelled by sensuous cinematography from Emmanuel Lubezki) went on to become one of the highest-grossing films in Mexico’s history, despite sparking controversy for its frank depiction of drug use and sexual exploration, and garnered Cuarón an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. (Dir. by Alfonso Cuarón, 2001, Mexico, in Spanish with English subtitles, 106 mins., Rated R)