Midaq Alley (film)

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El Callejón de los Milagros
El callejon de los milagros english poster.PNG
El Callejón de los Milagros DVD cover
Directed by Jorge Fons
Produced by Alfredo Ripstein hijo
Written by Vicente Leñero (screenplay)
Naguib Mahfouz (novel)
Starring Ernesto Gómez Cruz
María Rojo
Salma Hayek
Bruno Bichir
Delia Casanova
Margarita Sanz
Claudio Obregón
Music by Lucía Álvarez
Cinematography Carlos Marcovich
Edited by Carlos Savage hijo
Distributed by VIDEOVISA (Mexico) (Spain)
IFC Films (USA) (Australia)
Release dates
  • 5 May 1995 (1995-05-05)
Running time
140 minutes
Country Mexico
Language Spanish

Midaq Alley (Spanish: ''El callejón de los milagros'', also released as The Alley of Miracles) is a 1995 Mexican film adapted from the novel by Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz, written by Vicente Leñero and directed by Jorge Fons. The film deals with complex issues such as gay and lesbian related topics, the lower-middle class of Mexico City, and the lives of many people.

The story is told from three perspectives: Don Ru (Ernesto Gómez Cruz), the owner of a cantina where most of the men in the story gather to drink and play dominoes, Alma (Salma Hayek), the beautiful girl of the neighborhood who dreams of passion, and Susanita (Margarita Sanz who won an Ariel Award for this role), the owner of the apartment complex where Alma and many of the other characters live.

The film was critically acclaimed by international critics. It earned 11 Ariel Awards, including Best Picture and more than 49 international awards and nominations. Pan's Labyrinth and El Callejón de los Milagros were named as the best Mexican films by IMDB.com and Entertainment Weekly. The film was selected as the Mexican entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 68th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[1][2]

Plot[edit]

The lives of the inhabitants of El Callejón de los Milagros, in downtown Mexico City, are as closely knitted as the threads of a rug. Fifty-something Don Ru owns a small "cantina" where all the men spend afternoons playing domino. He's tired of his longtime marriage with Eusebia and has recently discovered new feelings inside his heart. It does not matter if these feelings are not aimed to a young lady but to a young clerk after all, as one of the characters says, "it's platonic love". Don Ru's son Chava does not like what he sees and almost kills his father's lover. Running away from Don Ru's anger, Chava escapes to the USA with his friend Abel who is deeply in love with beautiful Alma, the daughter of Doña Cata, a tarot reader with bad luck in love. Susanita, the ugly landlady looking for love; Guicho, Don Ru's cynical employee, Maru, Don Fidel, Doña Flor, Zacarias and mean Jose Luis complete the cast of characters of this complex portrait of lives.

Structure[edit]

The film is divided into four successive and clearly labeled chapters. The first three are named after key individuals, and the fourth wraps up the story. Each chapter starts at the same time, with the same game of dominoes, and describes the same time period, but from the viewpoints of the named people; the chapters tell each person's story. Each chapter thus provides the viewer with details which help to explain things which happened in the other chapters.

  1. Rutilio deals with Don Ru's dissatisfaction with his marriage and his poorly hidden homosexual love affair with a young man.
  2. Alma deals with Alma's life and her falling in love with Abel. He leaves with Chava for America and Alma "disappears". She has been seduced and ends up in a whorehouse.
  3. Susanita is the landlady with horrible teeth whose feelings and romantic hopes are awakened. She marries Guicho.
  4. The Return describes the return of Abel and Chava, and Abel's search for Alma. Chava is married and has his wife and baby boy with him. Abel finds Alma in the whorehouse and is heartbroken. He tries to attack her pimp and is stabbed several times. He dies in her arms.[3]

Cast[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Ariel Awards[edit]

Won:

  • Best Film
  • Best Direction for Jorge Fons
  • Best Actress for Margarita Sanz
  • Best Supporting Actor for Luis Felipe Tovar
  • Best Costume Design for Jaime Ortiz
  • Best Editing for Carlos Savage hijo
  • Best Make-Up for Elvia Romero
  • Best Original Music Theme or Song for Lucía Álvarez
  • Best Original Score for Lucía Álvarez
  • Best Production Design for Carlos Gutiérrez
  • Best Screenplay for Vicente Leñero

Nominations:

  • Best Actor for Ernesto Gómez Cruz
  • Best Actor in a Minor Role for Óscar Yoldi
  • Best Actress for Salma Hayek
  • Best Actress in a Minor Role for Delia Casanova
  • Best Actress in a Minor Role for María Rojo
  • Best Cinematography for Carlos Marcovich
  • Best Set Design for Carlos Gutiérrez
  • Best Sound for David Baksht
  • Best Supporting Actor for Daniel Giménez Cacho
  • Best Supporting Actor for Esteban Soberanes
  • Best Supporting Actress for Tiaré Scanda

Berlin International Film Festival[edit]

Wins:

  • Special Mention for the exceptional narrative quality[4]

Nominations:

  • Golden Bear for Jorge Fons

Chicago International Film Festival[edit]

Wins:

  • Audience Choice Award"

Goya Award[edit]

Wins:

  • Best Spanish Language Foreign Film

Gramado Film Festival[edit]

Wins:

  • Best Director for Jorge Fons
  • Best Supporting Actress for Margarita Sanz

Nominations:

  • Best Latin Film

Guadalajara Film Festival[edit]

Wins:

  • Audience Award

Havana Film Festival[edit]

Wins:

Mexican Cinema Journalists[edit]

Wins:

  • Best Film

Paraguay Film Festival[edit]

Wins:

  • Best Actress for Margarita Sanz
  • Best Actor for Bruno Bichir

Toulouse Latin America Film Festival[edit]

Wins:

  • Special Mention for the distribution of the film

Valladolid International Film Festival[edit]

Wins:

Nominations:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  2. ^ "41 to Compete for Foreign Language Oscar Nominations". FilmFestivals.com. Archived from the original on 7 April 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
  3. ^ `Midaq Alley' Explores Humanity, August 19, 1998, Deborah Hornblow, Hartford Courant
  4. ^ "Berlinale: 1995 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 

External links[edit]