There’s an embarrassment of riches on offer in Alonso Ruizpalacios’ staggeringly accomplished debut feature, Güeros, a Loony Tunes-level irreverent sightseeing tour of Mexico City whose apparent overtures towards a certain type of arty, indie cinema are delivered with tongue lodged in cheek.
All of this might be off-puttingly studenty and self-conscious, were it not for a supple, inventive surrounding narrative and a quartet of lead performances that buzz with sincerity and energy. Güeros plays narrative tricks – not least with a dynamic opening that gestures towards a different sort of film entirely, only to be abandoned wholesale when the real protagonist happens along – but still feels sensitive and intelligent rather than self-satisfied.
October 30, 2015
Right off the bat, Alonso Ruizpalacios’ “Güeros” captures three superlatives from this reviewer: Best debut feature I’ve seen in the last year, best Mexican film in recent memory, and best (black and white) cinematography since Pawel Pawlikowski’s equally stunning but very different "Ida.
Replete with a New Wavy swing, to say that Güeros is mere looks means to dismiss photography’s savvy to deliver a mundane-rooted fable so fast and consummately, it baffles verbatim articulation – Cartier-Bresson's & street photographers’ “decisive moment”, the never-repeated split of a second & alert, roving readiness to fish the rare out of the hic et nunc. Seen holding this in mind, the film plot is a story arc for
Great B&W cinematography & drawn out directing that perfectly accentuates the dreariness and the mundane of existence in the vain of early Jim Jarmusch- in a good way(humor too). This film exists somewheres between the stillness of the fleeting moments of the present & the constant unyielding tide of the passage of time thats passing us by. Whether or not we chose to do anything inbetween the two is entirely up to us
Tenoch Huerta's performance was hypnotizing. For the first 10 to 15 minutes, it looked more like a parody of indie filmmaking 101, but then all of a sudden it geared up to be a flawed but still fascinating surreal landscape of Mexico City. I'm generally not a fan of digging up Nouvelle Vague from its grave, but Alonso Ruiz managed to do it right. Anyways, this is just my kind of weird.
Embedded with a sense of nostalgia, but never fully leaving reality, Gueros covers a variety of topics and emotions like love, existentialism, relationships, and depression. The cinematography is great, with some debt to the 60s new waves, and although very stylized, Gueros never loses its sense of genuineness, presenting the story with great tenderness and affection.
Nothing but straight up love for this film! "Like it says in the Koran, 'A man without hope is like a beast.' Forgive me for wanting to cry, but I have experienced that...." -- Immigrant street person to Tomas.
Starting slow, hyper-stylish, and relatively devoid of dialogue, I feared no substance, a meandering Mexican Napoleon Dynamite in black-and-white, or a hermetic sensorium about addiction. But like La Haine, once it gets revving, it doesn't stop, and pieces hinted at resurface and accumulate in different contexts. The youthful pursuit of the present/absent artist, student riots, and Mexico City owe much to Bolaño.