Y Tu Mamá También

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This article is about the Mexican film. For the song by Asesino, see Cristo Satánico.
Y Tu Mamá También
Theatrical release poster showing the film's title on the upper half and the film's three main characters swimming in water on the bottom half. From left to right the characters are Diego Luna, Maribel Verdú and Gael García Bernal.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Produced by Alfonso Cuarón
Jorge Vergara
Written by Carlos Cuarón
Alfonso Cuarón
Starring Maribel Verdú
Gael García Bernal
Diego Luna
Narrated by Daniel Giménez Cacho
Music by Natalie Imbruglia
Frank Zappa
Miho Hatori
Cinematography Emmanuel Lubezki
Edited by Alex Rodríguez
Alfonso Cuarón
Distributed by 20th Century Fox (Mexico)
IFC Films (USA)
Good Machine (USA)
Release dates
  • June 8, 2001 (2001-06-08)
Running time
106 minutes
Country Mexico
Language Spanish
Budget $5 million
Box office $33,616,692[1]

Y Tu Mamá También (English: And Your Mother Too) is a 2001 Mexican drama film directed by Alfonso Cuarón and co-written by Cuarón and his brother Carlos. The film tells a coming-of-age story about two teenage boys who take a road trip with a woman in her late twenties. It stars Mexican actors Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal and Spanish actress Maribel Verdú in the leading roles. The film is part of the road movie genre, set in 1999 against the backdrop of the political and economic realities of present-day Mexico, specifically at the end of the uninterrupted 71-year line of Mexican presidents from the Institutional Revolutionary Party and the rise of the opposition led by Vicente Fox.

The film is recognized for its explicit depiction of sex and drug use, which caused complications in the film's rating certificate in various countries. In 2002, the film was released in English-speaking markets under its original Spanish title and opened in limited release within the United States. In Mexico, the film earned $2.2 million its first weekend in June 2001, making it the highest box office opening in Mexican cinema history.[2] In 2003, the film was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards as well as Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globe Awards in 2002.

Plot[edit]

The film uses an omniscient narrator to provide information on the characters and their personal life, historical Mexican events, and the settings depicted in the film. These "footnotes" also reveal the economic and political issues in Mexico, particularly the impoverished lifestyle of people living in rural areas across the country.

The story itself begins at the threshold of the protagonists' adulthood. Julio (Gael García Bernal) comes from a leftist middle-class family and Tenoch's (Diego Luna) father is a high-ranking political official. The film opens with a scene of each boy having sex with their girlfriend one last time before the girls leave on a trip to Italy. Without their girlfriends around, the boys take the opportunity to live as bachelors. At a wedding, they meet an older woman named Luisa (Maribel Verdú) who is married to Tenoch’s cousin Jano, and attempt to impress her with talk of an invented, secluded beach called Boca del Cielo ("Heaven's Mouth"). She initially declines their invitation to accompany them to the beach. Later, Jano tearfully confesses, over the phone, that he's been cheating on her, in the process calling himself over and over a "piece of shit" ("mierda"). The next day, Luisa calls Tenoch and asks if the offer to accompany them to the beach is still open.

Though Julio and Tenoch have no idea where to find the promised beach, the three set off for it, driving through rural Mexico. They talk about their relationships and sexual experiences to pass the time: the boys boast about the amount of women they have slept with while Luisa speaks of Jano and wistfully recalls her first love who died in a motorcycle accident. During an overnight stop, Luisa leaves a tearful message on Jano’s answering machine explaining that she has left him. Tenoch enters her motel room in search of shampoo, but finds her crying. Luisa seduces him, and he awkwardly but enthusiastically has sex with her. Julio sees this from the open doorway and angrily tells Tenoch that he's had sex with Tenoch's girlfriend. The next day, Luisa notices the boys are quiet to each other, so she sleeps with Julio to be fair. Tenoch then reveals he had sex with Julio's girlfriend. The boys begin to fight, until Luisa threatens to leave them.

By chance they find an isolated beach. They begin to relax and enjoy the ocean along with the company of a local family. In the nearby village, Luisa makes a final phone call to Jano, bidding him an affectionate but final farewell. That evening, the three drink excessively and joke recklessly about their sexual transgressions, revealing that each boy has frequently had sex with the other's girlfriend. Julio says "Y tu mamá también," (meaning that he's had sex with Tenoch's mother)—an opportunistic joke Julio told in light of their shocking confessions. The three dance together sensually, then retire to their room. They begin to undress and grope drunkenly. As Luisa kneels and stimulates them both, the boys grasp and kiss each other passionately.

The next morning, the boys wake up together, naked. Luisa has risen early. When Tenoch and Julio find themselves in the same bed, they immediately turn away and are eager to return home. The narrator explains that their journey back was quiet and uneventful and that Luisa stayed behind to explore the nearby coves. The narrator further discloses that Tenoch and Julio began relationships with other girls and stopped spending time with one another.

The final scene follows a chance encounter a year later—in 2000 when the Institutional Revolutionary Party lost the first election in 71 years. Tenoch and Julio are having a cup of coffee, awkwardly catching up on each other's lives and news of their friends. Tenoch informs Julio that Luisa died of cancer a month after their trip and that she was aware of her illness during the time they spent together. Tenoch excuses himself because his girlfriend is waiting for him. Julio is left in the coffee shop. The narrator reveals that they will never see each other again.

Cast[edit]

Cuarón did not want to cast Diego Luna for the role of Tenoch because he was a teen idol and soap opera star.[3] Bernal convinced Cuarón to hire Luna, knowing their strong existing friendship would make the performance of their characters’ friendship much easier.[3] Cuarón ultimately hired Luna because he became convinced their bond would produce a natural and honest performance.[3]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

After working on Great Expectations and A Little Princess, Alfonso Cuarón envisioned a film that was not influenced by production techniques used in Hollywood cinema.[2] Cuarón wanted to reject commercial production techniques he had used in his previous films, like dollies, close ups, and dissolves.[2] Instead he embraced a documentary-realist style of filmmaking for Y Tu Mamá También.[2] Before making the film, Cuarón had worked for some time in Hollywood, prompting him to return to his roots in Mexican Cinema.[4] In an interview, Cuarón said: “I wanted to make the film I was going to make before I went to film school, and that was always going to be a film in Spanish, and a road movie involving a journey to the beach.”[4]

Road movie[edit]

In Y Tu Mamá También, Alfonso Cuarón reimagined the American road movie genre to depict Mexico’s geography, politics, people, and culture.[2] Cuarón wanted to use the road-film genre to challenge mid-20th century Latin-American Cinema movements that rejected the pleasure and entertainment typical of Hollywood commercial cinema created by using fictional characters and story.[5] Cuarón aimed to only borrow the pleasure and entertainment of Hollywood cinema to synthesize with political and cultural exploration of Mexico.[5] Using fictional characters and a story within the documentary-realist style, Cuarón was able to explore Mexico’s geographical, cultural, and political landscapes.[5]

Filming and production[edit]

The director and screenwriter were not afraid of developing Y Tu Mamá También during the production process.[4] Carlos Cuarón’s script was minimal and unelaborate so the actors could contribute to its development during the rehearsal process.[4] Throughout the film the actors improvised.[5] Instead of using high-tech equipment, the entire film was shot with a handheld camera to create a documentary-realist look that mimicked candid footage.[4] In an interview, Cuarón said “This all goes back to our original idea of 15 years ago, in which we would do a low-budget road movie that would allow us to go with some young actors and semi-improvise scenes and have a bare storyline but not be afraid of adding things as we went.”[4]

Locations[edit]

The beach scenes in the film were shot near the resort Bahías de Huatulco, in Oaxaca.[6]

Soundtrack[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Artist Length
1. "Here Comes the Mayo"   Barry Ashworth, Francisco "Paco" Ayala, Randy Ebright, Ismael Fuentes, Miguel Huidobro, Jason O'Bryan Molotov and Dub Pistols 4:06
2. "La Sirenita"   Ignacio Jaime Plastilina Mosh 3:55
3. "To Love Somebody"   Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb Eagle Eye Cherry 3:55
4. "Showroom Dummies"   Ralf Hütter Señor Coconut 5:29
5. "Insomnio"   Rubén Isaac Albarrán Ortega, Emmanuel del Real Díaz, Aleja Flores, Enrique Rangel Arroyo, José Alfredo Rangel Arroyo Café Tacuba 2:59
6. "Cold Air"   Corner, Coverdale-Howe, Natalie Imbruglia, Pickering Natalie Imbruglia 5:01
7. "Go Shopping"   Bran Van 3000 Bran Van 3000 2:52
8. "La Tumba Será el Final"   Felipe Valdés Leal Flaco Jiménez 2:44
9. "Afila el Colmillo"   E. Acevedo, Jay de la Cueva, J. B. Lede, María Rodríguez, Florentino Ruiz Carmona Titán, La Mala Rodríguez 2:52
10. "Ocean in Your Eyes"   Miho Hatori, Smokey Hormel Miho Hatori, Smokey Hormel 4:02
11. "Nasty Sex"   Fancisco Javier del Campo, Muriel Rojas Rodríguez, Óscar Rojas Rodríguez La Revolución de Emiliano Zapata 4:02
12. "By This River"   Brian Eno, Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius Brian Eno 3:03
13. "Si No Te Hubieras Ido"   Marco Antonio Solís Marco Antonio Solís 4:47
14. "Watermelon in Easter Hay"   Frank Zappa Frank Zappa 9:05
15. "Y tu mama tambien"   Upsurt ft. Beloslava Upsurt ft. Beloslava 3:55

Distribution and finance[edit]

Original poster from Mexico's marketing campaign

Y Tu Mamá También was produced by Anhelo Producciones, a company co-founded by Cuarón and Jorge Vergara, a well-known Mexican businessman and the film’s producer.[2] The company provided sufficient funding to make the film and launch an impressive marketing campaign.[2] The $5 million film budget was substantial by Mexican film standards.[2] Advertisement and publicity appeared across Mexico.[2] The investment paid off and the film earned $2.2 million in the first week, breaking Mexico’s box office records for domestic films.[2] Along with the help of Anhelo Producciones, the ratings board controversy gave the film a lot of free publicity in Mexico.[2]

The film became a global success after its distribution by major U.S. independent companies Good Machine and IFC Films.[2] The film was bought in the U.K. by the independent company Icon and in Mexico by major transnational corporation 20th Century Fox.[2] Overall, it made $13.62 million in profits within the Unites States and was distributed to forty countries.[2]

Reception[edit]

Y Tu Mamá También was well received by critics upon its original release. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 92% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based upon a sample of 130.[7] On Metacritic, which assigns a numbered rating out of 100 based on reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 88 based on 35 reviews.[8] Roger Ebert gave the film four stars out of four, and referred to it as "One of those movies where 'after that summer, nothing would ever be the same again.' Yes, but it redefines 'nothing.'"[9]

Y Tu Mamá También won the Best Screenplay Award at the Venice Film Festival. It was also a runner-up at the National Society of Film Critics Awards for Best Picture and Best Director and earned a nomination for Best Original Screenplay at the 2003 Academy Awards. The film made its U.S. premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival.[10]

It was released without a rating in the U.S. because a market-limiting NC-17 was unavoidable.[11] The MPAA's presumed treatment of this film based on the graphic depiction of sex and drug use – in comparison to its much more accepting standards regarding violence – prompted critic Roger Ebert to question why movie industry professionals were not outraged: "Why do serious film people not rise up in rage and tear down the rating system that infantilizes their work?"[12]

Censorship controversy[edit]

In 2001, Alfonso and Carlos Cuarón sued the Mexican Directorate of Radio, Television, and Cinema (RTC) for the film’s 18-and-over rating, which they considered illegal political censorship.[4] They took legal action to expose the government-controlled ratings board, prompting its transformation into an autonomous organization free of government involvement and political influence.[4] The brothers sought a 12-and-over rating with encouraged parental guidance because the film was aimed toward a teenage audience.[4] The 18+ rating was administered due to the film’s strong sexual content involving teens, drug use, and explicit language.[4] They claimed the ratings board was operating illegally by denying parents the responsibility to choose what their child can watch, violating fundamental legal rights in Mexico.[4]

Awards[edit]

Wins
Nominations

Accolades[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Y Tu Mamá También at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Shaw, Deborah. The Three Amigos. Manchester, United Kingdom: Manchester University Press, 2013. Print.
  3. ^ a b c "Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna on Y Tu Mamá También." [1] The Criterion Collection. N.p., 13 Aug. 2014. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Wood, Jason. The Faber Book of Mexican Cinema. London, United Kingdom: Faber and Faber Limited, 2006. Print
  5. ^ a b c d Julian Smith, Paul. Mexican Screen Fiction. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Polity Press, 2014. Print.
  6. ^ From the film credits
  7. ^ "Y Tu Mamá También – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
  8. ^ "Y Tu Mamá También (2002): Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (5 April 2002). "Y tu mama tambien; Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 8 October 2009. 
  10. ^ Tsai, Michael (30 March 2005). "The 25th Hawaii International Film Festival". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  11. ^ [2] The movie business book By Jason E. Squire
  12. ^ Roger Ebert (2002-04-05). "Y Tu Mama Tambien". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2007-06-09. 
  13. ^ "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema | 20. Y Tu Mamá También". Empire. 
  14. ^ "Films of the Decade". Los Angeles Film Critics Association. 
  15. ^ "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made". The New York Times. 2003-04-29. 
  16. ^ "25 Sexiest Movies Ever!". Entertainment Weekly. 2008-11-25. 

External links[edit]