Y Tu Mamá También
|Y Tu Mamá También|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alfonso Cuarón|
Gael García Bernal
|Narrated by||Daniel Giménez Cacho|
20th Century Fox (Mexico)|
IFC Films (USA)
Good Machine (USA)
|Box office||$33.6 million|
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. 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.
The film uses an omniscient narrator to provide information on the characters and their personal lives, historical Mexican events, and the settings depicted in the film. These "footnotes" also address economic and political issues in Mexico, particularly the impoverished lifestyle of people living in rural areas of the country.
The story itself begins at the threshold of two friends' 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 his 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 Luisa (Maribel Verdú), an older woman and the wife of Tenoch's cousin, Jano. The boys attempt to impress her with talk of an invented, secluded beach called Boca del Cielo ("Heaven's Mouth"), but she initially declines their invitation to accompany them there. Later, Luisa visits a doctor; after her appointment, she receives a phone call from Jano in which he tearfully confesses that he has been cheating on her. The next day, Luisa calls Tenoch and asks if their offer to accompany them to the beach is still open.
Although Julio and Tenoch have no idea where they will go, 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 number of women with whom they have slept, 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 he walks away and sits down outside by the pool, upset at what he's seen. Tenoch comes down to the pool, and Julio informs him he's had sex with Tenoch's girlfriend. The next day, Luisa notices the tension between the boys, so she has sex with Julio to equalize their perceived status. Tenoch then reveals he had sex with Julio's girlfriend. The boys begin to fight until Luisa threatens to leave them.
Driving along the coastal road that evening, they chance upon an isolated beach that's actually called Boca del Cielo. Making camp there, 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 also says he had sex with Tenoch's mother, but it's unclear if he's joking or not. The three dance together sensually and then retire to their room. They begin to undress and grope each other. As Luisa kneels between them and stimulates them both, the boys embrace and kiss each other passionately.
The next morning, the boys wake up together, naked. Luisa has risen early. Tenoch and Julio immediately turn away from each other 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 each other.
In a chance encounter in Mexico City a year later, Tenoch and Julio have a cup of coffee, awkwardly catching up on each other's lives and news of their mutual friends. Tenoch informs Julio that Luisa died of cancer a month after their trip, and that she had been aware of her prognosis during the time they had spent together. Tenoch excuses himself because his current girlfriend is waiting for him. Before leaving, Tenoch tells Julio he will see him again. The narrator however, reveals they will never see each other again.
- Maribel Verdú as Luisa Cortés
- Gael García Bernal as Julio Zapata
- Diego Luna as Tenoch Iturbide
- Diana Bracho as Silvia Allende de Iturbide
- Andrés Almeida as Diego "Saba" Madero
- Ana López Mercado as Ana Morelos
- Nathan Grinberg as Manuel Huerta
- Verónica Langer as María Eugenia Calles de Huerta
- María Aura as Cecilia Huerta
- Juan Carlos Remolina as Alejandro "Jano" Montes de Oca
- Daniel Giménez Cacho as Narrator
Cuarón did not want to cast Luna for the role of Tenoch because he was a teen idol and soap opera star. Bernal convinced Cuarón to hire Luna because their strong existing friendship would make the performance of their characters' friendship much easier. Cuarón ultimately hired Luna because he became convinced that their bond would produce a natural and honest performance.
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. Cuarón wanted to reject commercial production techniques he had used in his previous films, like dollies, close ups, and dissolves. Instead he embraced a documentary-realist style of filmmaking for Y Tu Mamá También. Before making the film, Cuarón had worked for some time in Hollywood, prompting him to return to his roots in Mexican cinema. 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.”
In Y Tu Mamá También, Alfonso Cuarón reimagined the American road movie genre to depict Mexico’s geography, politics, people, and culture. 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. Cuarón aimed to only borrow the pleasure and entertainment of Hollywood cinema to synthesize with political and cultural exploration of Mexico. Using fictional characters and a story within the documentary-realist style, Cuarón was able to explore Mexico’s geographical, cultural, and political landscapes.
Filming and production
The director and screenwriter were not afraid of developing Y Tu Mamá También during the production process. Cuarón's script was minimal and unelaborate so the actors could contribute to its development during the rehearsal process. Throughout the film the actors improvised. 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. 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."
|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
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. The company provided sufficient funding to make the film and launch an impressive marketing campaign. The $5 million film budget was substantial by Mexican film standards. Advertisement and publicity appeared across Mexico. The investment paid off and the film earned $2.2 million in the first week, breaking Mexico’s box office records for domestic films. Along with the help of Anhelo Producciones, the ratings board controversy gave the film a lot of free publicity in Mexico. On location production support was provided by Alianza Films International.
The film became a global success after its distribution by major U.S. independent companies Good Machine and IFC Films. The film was bought in the U.K. by the independent company Icon and in Mexico by major transnational corporation 20th Century Fox. Overall, it made $13.62 million in profits within the United States and was distributed to forty countries.
Y Tu Mamá También was highly praised 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 143. 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 36 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". Roger Ebert gave the film four stars out of four, saying, "Beneath the carefree road movie that the movie is happy to advertise is a more serious level—and below that, a dead serious level."
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 US premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival.
It was released without a rating in the US because a market-limiting NC-17 was unavoidable. 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?"
In 2001, Alfonso and Carlos Cuarón sued the Mexican Directorate of Radio, Television, and Cinema (RTC) for the film's 18+ rating, which they considered illegal political censorship. 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. The 18+ rating was administered for strong sexual content involving teens, drug use, and explicit language, and prevented audiences under 18 from admittance. 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.
|Academy Awards||Best Original Screenplay||Alfonso Cuarón and Carlos Cuarón||Nominated|
|BAFTA Award||Best Original Screenplay||Alfonso Cuarón and Carlos Cuarón||Nominated|
|Best Film not in the English Language||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Foreign Language Film||Nominated|
|New York Film Critics Circle Awards||Best Foreign Language Film||Won|
|Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards||Best Foreign Language Film||Won|
|Independent Spirit Awards||Best Foreign Film||Won|
|Grammy Awards||Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media||Nominated|
- Ranked No. 20 in Empire magazines "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema"
- Ranked No. 9 in Los Angeles Film Critics Association's "Films of the Decade"
- New York Times's "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made"
- Entertainment Weekly's "25 Sexiest Movies Ever!"
- Y Tu Mamá También at Box Office Mojo
- "AND YOUR MOTHER TOO – Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN – British Board of Film Classification".
- Shaw, Deborah. The Three Amigos. Manchester, United Kingdom: Manchester University Press, 2013. Print.
- "Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna on Y Tu Mamá También."  The Criterion Collection. N.p., 13 Aug. 2014. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.
- Wood, Jason. The Faber Book of Mexican Cinema. London, United Kingdom: Faber and Faber Limited, 2006. Print
- Julian Smith, Paul. Mexican Screen Fiction. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Polity Press, 2014. Print.
- From the film credits
- "Y Tu Mamá También – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved 2010-09-05.
- "Y Tu Mamá También (2002): Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- Ebert, Roger (5 April 2002). "Y tu mama tambien; Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 8 October 2009.
- Tsai, Michael (30 March 2005). "The 25th Hawaii International Film Festival". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
- Squire, Jason E. (29 June 2004). "The Movie Business Book, Third Edition". Simon and Schuster – via Google Books.
- Roger Ebert (2002-04-05). "Y Tu Mama Tambien". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2007-06-09.
- "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema | 20. Y Tu Mamá También". Empire.
- "Films of the Decade". Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
- "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made". The New York Times. 2003-04-29.
- "25 Sexiest Movies Ever!". Entertainment Weekly. 2008-11-25.
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