Back in 2006, a friend had recommended me to watch “y tu mama tambien” which is a movie about two Mexican boys coming of age and discovering life through an older Spanish woman as they take a road trip together. Over the last 9 years, I have made several futile attempts at finding this movie with subtitles, but in vain. Yesterday, I finally chanced upon this movie on Netflix and watched it at one go. The movie has been shot so beautifully with subtle digressions into the socio-political landscapes of Mexico from the late nineties. The narration gives a lot of insight into the context of Mexico during 1999 for the uninitiated. This is of course in clear crisp Spanish that I could understand unlike the dialogues between the two guys who have a strong Mexican accent and pace of speaking.
In the movie, the older woman has recently been cheated on and abandoned by her husband and an invitation to a road trip seems like a perfect way to get away from the miseries of her life. As anyone in her situation, she obviously is enjoying the attention and the gratification of feeling desired gives her the power to set the tone of the trip. She ends up sleeping with one of the two boys and after realising the power imbalance she has unintentionally created in the car among the two boys, she sleeps with the other boy too. While this seems utterly strange, it’s somewhat rational and beautiful. This move helps makes peace eventually and the trip continues. Eventually the woman dies (because she’s been suffering from a terminal disease that’s she’s already aware of) and so does the friendship between the boys which seemed to be held together merely by the grasp of this older woman after the whole coital episodes. The movie leaves you wondering about so many aspects of the movie including the landscape over which the movie has been shot – Mexico from the 1990s.
As with anyone watching a foreign language film, I couldn’t help but wonder if my Mexican friends lived such lives in their teens. It’s true that some of French and Spanish movies tend to be a bit closer to real life than your general Indian movies, but I could feel an underlying element of ficin the story. Else, all we Indians should be dancing to a song every 10 minutes of our lives, right? This picture is supposed to illustrate exaggeration in Indian movies and I cannot seem to disagree with it. So maybe reality of different language movies are similarly displaced to different extents?