Mexican Spitfires

Director Alfonso Cuarón takes a candid look at teen sex

y tu mamá También directed by Alfonso Cuarn, written by Alfonso Cuarn and Carlos Cuarn, produced by Jorge Vergara and Alfonso Cuarn, with Maribel Verdú, Gael Garca Bernal and Diego Luna. 106 minutes. An Odeon Films release. Opens Friday (April 19). For venues, times and review, see First-Run Movies, page 74. Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN

y tu mamá también (and your Mother Too) rips the world of teenage sexuality wide open while telling a poignant tale of growing up, loss and class conflict.It stars gorgeous actors Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna as Julio and Tenoch, teenage best friends who take a road trip with Luisa (Maribel Verdú), an older woman whom the boys hope to seduce. But along the way she seduces them, causing a rift in their friendship. The film’s sex scenes, which are ripe, raw and realistic, have caused a stir in Mexico and will surely have Canadian audiences squirming in their seats.

“We approached the sex scenes the same way we approached scenes in, say, a supermarket,” says Mexican writer/director Alfonso Cuarón (A Little Princess and Great Expectations) during a chat at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

“We tried not to hide anything or show anything in particular. Actually, the sex in the film is pretty bad — short and rapid, which is the point.”

It certainly is. After all, we’re talking about teenage boys.

The film’s most evocative scenes are those in which the boys strut about like roosters crowing about their sexual prowess and are then shot down by Luisa, who sets them straight on the dos and don’ts of good sex. It’s refreshing to see the boys let their guard down to learn something useful. This kind of candid stuff just doesn’t come out of Hollywood teen movies.

“My son was 16 when I was writing the film with my brother Carlos,” remembers Cuarón. “I got angry as my son watched all these teen comedies. They are hypocritical, exploitative and so moralistic.

“Teen movies don’t respect their characters. We love our characters, and the actors love the characters. I just let the actors be, and when you let teens be they are really funny and charming.”

It takes 30 minutes to get used to the boys’ hyperactive energy. You almost wish you could give them both a dose of Ritalin.

“They are really annoying for the first part of the film,” laughs Cuarón. “You think you’ll never be able to sit through the movie. Then they start showing their vulnerability and you see that their bravado is just a cover for their insecurities.

“You know, as a teen you think life is only about the things that are happening to you and you have control. The boys discover they don’t have control over life.”

His son saw the film with friends and liked it.

“After seeing it he decided to go on a road trip to the beach with his girlfriend.

“This film reminds me of the saying, “When the innocence of the son ends, the innocence of the father begins,'” laughs Cuarón. “It’s true, you see only what you want to.”

See video clips with the film’s two stars.

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