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Movie review: ‘Aquí y Allá’

Posted 2:28pm on Thursday, May. 09, 2013

Unrated; 110 min.

The Spanish film Aquí y Allá ( Here and There) is nothing if not timely.

Set in a village in the Mexican state of Guerrero, the slow, thoughtful and absorbing portrait of a working-class family whose father has just returned from being an undocumented worker in New York, Aquí y Allá puts a face — or, rather, a series of faces — on the immigration debate. Yet the film keeps things intensely personal and never gets explicitly political.

Pedro de los Santos is Pedro, the worker who comes home hoping to resume his life with pregnant wife Teresa (Teresa Ramirez Aguirre), his two daughters, and the cumbia and bachata band with which he plays keyboards. But things don’t turn out as planned. His wife’s pregnancy is complicated, his oldest daughter (Lorena Guadalupe Pantaleón Vásquez) is far more interested in boys than school, he can’t get steady work, and it’s difficult to keep the band together.

Director Antonio Méndez Esparza likes long, uninterrupted shots, often giving the film the sensibility of a documentary. Add to that a cast that has little or no acting experience, and the result feels like watching the daily life of what thousands of Mexican families must be going through. Aquí y Allá, which won the Lone Star Film Festival’s best film honors in Fort Worth last year, deserves to be seen by audiences both here and there.

In Spanish with English subtitles.

Exclusive: Cinema Latino, Fort Worth

— Cary Darling

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