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Click Pic to Appreciate Gael
Gael Garcia Bernal

If you haven’t seen the guy then you are missing half of your (woman’)s life. Exaggeration? Nah. This guy has it. He can look fresh even without taking a bath (see Amores Perros and Y Tu Mama Tambien), he can look clean-cut even with his hair disheveled (in Amores, he wears a shaven look in the last 20 minutes of the film, but ruggedly good looking in the first 2 hours). His eyes are just like “the wolf” as his director calls them. His acting is superb and makes you think that those Hollywood actors, twice his age, are amateurs. He is Gael Garcia Bernal, recently turned 24 years old, a native of Mexico, a student of the Central School for Speech and Drama, then of London, until he broke away and started Amores Perros – the rest is now history.

We’d review two (2) of his films, before another one comes out (“The Crime of Father Amaro,”, there is “San Noticias de Dios” with that Spanish actress named Penelope Cruz and another wherein he is due to take the role of Che Guevarra, directed by Walter Salles of Central Station fame).

Ladies, presenting Gael, Guys, he’s our poster boy for the rugged man look. See if you can go without a bath for 3 days and still look this handsome.


Love's A Bitch!
Amores Perros
Directed by: Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu (debut film)
Starring : Vanessa Bauche (Susanna), Goya Toledo, Emilio Echevarria and of course, Gael Garcia Bernal
Available on DVD with English Subtitles
Awards: Best Foreign Language Picture, 2001 British Academy Film Awards; Best Picture, Best Director, Best First Feature, Best Actor (Garcia Bernal), Best Supporting Actor (Parra), Best Photography, Best Editing, Best Makeup, Best Sound, Best Scenery, Best Special Effects, 2001 Ariels (Mexico), Canal+ Award, 2000 Cannes Film Festival; Grand Prix for Best Film, Best Director, 2000 Tokyo International Film Festival; Golden Spur, 2000 Flanders International Film Festival; New Director's Award, 2000 Edinburgh International Film Festival; Gold Hugo (Best Film), Silver Hugo (Best Actors-Emilio Echevarria, Gael Garcia Bernal), 2000 Chicago International Film Festival; Best Foreign Language Film, 2001 National Board of Review

Dogs. Thought to be the central theme of the film. Not. Its Love. It’s fatherhood. It’s family. It’s love among brothers. Love’s A Bitch. Although the film’s most visible character – the dog starts the whole movie – with Cofi, the black dog escaping from the house. (without that scene, there won’t be Amores Perros at all –says Inarritu)

Shot by a hand-held camera, this film is the best example that Hollywood can not dominate the movie kingdom with its big budgeted-films and actors who really can’t act. The 3-part film neatly quilted into one has various emotions for the audience – the visible passion (of a brother-in-law, played greatly by Gael for his own brother’s wife, Susanna), the ambition to succeed (Gael and his dog, Cofi) and prove himself to the family, the feeling of absentee fathers (Chivo as well as the husband of Susanna), the feeling of abandoning a family and feeling remorse. All these emotions are rolled into one film that starts at the center, goes backward, then goes forward – without losing the audience’s attention.

Great, great, great film (that means, take it, take it, take it). Film students will learn a lot in using symbols (looking at pictures, dogs, guns, car chase, amputation of a leg, etc.), and a great play with the camera (see Gael stare at the camera for a good 2 seconds, a no no in any film).

Overall, it deserves all the great ratings and reviews for any debut film. More than that. It allowed the world to see, not for the last time, a great actor in Gael Garcia Bernal.


And Your Mama Too!
Y Tu Mama Tambien
(And Your Mama Too)
Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron (Great Expectations, A Little Princess)
Starring: Maribel Verdu, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal
Available on : DVD with English Subtitles
Seen at the : Makati Film Festival, middle of 2002

Coming of age. Both for the Mexican film industry and for the actors in the film. One, this film, places Mexico (which was shot beautifully by Cuaron in this film) more than ever in the film map (is there one?). It has won for Cuaron several awards to include, the Venice Film Festival for screenplay and for Gael and Diego, the best newcomers.

Coming of age. Was also the central theme. Gael, as Julio, here passed as a 17-year old sexually obsessed tapatio from Mexico City who, with Diego Luna, as Tenoch, have been left by their girlfriends for an Italian summer trip, and for a lot of good time masturbating in springboards (and seeing who comes first – see the great shot of Cuaron), smoking ganja and just making life miserable for their parents.

Coming of age. After a hastily arranged journey to Oaxaca in search of a mysterious beach called Heaven's Mouth, that Julio (Gael) and his best friend, Tenoch (Luna), have invented in a spur-of-the-moment bid to seduce the wife of Tenoch's cousin played by Spanish actress Maribel Verdu, they venture into the best ‘road-trip’ I’ve ever seen, and into conversations of true friendship, false hopes of marriage, the dark side of each other’s secrets and skeletons in all of the characters’ closets. In the end, both Julio and Tenoche get what they want from the start, Verdu, but lost some along the way.

Nudity and sex scenes were vital to the film. Or am I just making an excuse….but don’t miss Gael - young, and already a proven actor with this film. (I can’t imagine Cruise when he was in “Risky Business”, or Hanks when he was in “Bosom Buddies”, or Cage at 24 and this good.)