Alamar (Review)

Film Movement, 2010, Not Rated

Jan 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio’s verite-styled familial drama is an aspirational observance of three generations of males living at one with nature in the Caribbean’s coastal solitude of Banco Chinchorro, Mexico’s largest coral reef.

Mexican Jorge, a primal man turned husband dad, is divorcing from his Italian wife Roberta, who would rather enjoy the spoils of urban life in Rome, while Jorge feels an urge to return to his native life in the Caribbean. With no hard feelings between them, Jorge takes their 5-year-old son Natan to his native home of Banco Chinchorro for a summer of fishing, swimming and eating meals with Natan’s grandfather Matraca on their small stilt-home that sits as a tiny island in the crystal blue shallow sea.

Gonzalez-Rubio’s beautifully filmed underwater images and concentrated patience for capturing organic expression and movement from his actors elevates the minimalist material to a poetic distillation of humanitarian and ecological meaning. Alamar is a fantasy vision of a utopic way of life that is immediately knowable. The layers of subtext float like so many species of fish swimming freely in the warm waters that provide all the trio need to exist and thrive.

If Jorge seems like a cross between Tarzan and Peter Pan, then so much the better to imagine how free his son is destined to remain. Grade: A