Y tu mamá también
This smash road comedy from Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón is that rare movie to combine raunchy subject matter and emotional warmth. Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna shot to international stardom as a pair of horny Mexico City teenagers from different classes who, after their girlfriends jet off to Italy for the summer, are bewitched by a gorgeous older Spanish woman (Maribel Verdú) they meet at a wedding. When she agrees to accompany them on a trip to a faraway beach, the three form an increasingly intense and sensual alliance that ultimately strips them both physically and emotionally bare. Shot with elegance and dexterity by the great Emmanuel Lubezki, Y tu mamá también is a funny and moving look at human desire.
Alfonso Cuarón’s Y tu mamá también gets a lovely new 1080p/24hz high-definition transfer from a new 4k restoration. The high-definition version is presented on a dual-layer Blu-ray disc while a standard-definition version is found on the first dual-layer DVD included in this set. The latter has been enhanced for widescreen televisions.
It’s an impressive looking transfer, rich and vibrant with gorgeously rendered colours and deep blacks. Exterior shots along the beach during the final act of the film look absolutely exquisite and vivid, with superb rendering of fine details delivering excellent depth. The image remains crisp and sharp throughout and never looks soft, and most importantly the image looks like a film. Grain is very fine but there, leaving every intricate detail in every shot.
Digitally I couldn’t find anything to fault it for, and the DVD’s presentation, despite more obvious compression and less detail in comparison, also looks very sharp upscaled. My previous experience with the film was a rather mediocre DVD from Alliance so this new transfer was something of a revelation to me. This film looks nothing short of spectacular.
The release also features a wonderfully rich and immersive 5.1 surround track, delivered in DTS-HD MA on the Blu-ray and Dolby Digital on the DVD. Various ambient effects move nicely through the speakers, such as city noises, the ocean sequences during the film’s final act, and other various external effects. Dialogue sounds crisp and clear as does the music that pops up, nicely enveloping the viewer. Range is superb and overall quality is sharp with no distortion or damage.
Held in one’s hands this set looks rather massive and fairly impressive. The three discs are housed in a fairly sturdy digi-pak and are accompanied by a rather thick booklet, making it a hefty looking edition. Unfortunately this will cause many to feel underwhelmed once they actually go through everything. There’s some new material but most of it appears to have been recycled from previous editions.
A section called On Y tu mamá también presents two making-of documentaries, one presenting footage from the time of filming under the heading of Then, and then a new one filmed by Criterion under the heading of Now. The “Then” segment runs about 11-minutes and features brothers Alfonso and Carlos Cuaron, actors Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal and Maribel Verdu, and director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki. It has some interesting elements to it about the construction of the story and the film’s style. The story was actually developed, at least partially, before Solo con tu pareja but sort of sat on the back burner for years. They also watched a various number of films, particularly ones by Godard, for techniques.
”Now” runs 41-minutes and gathers together more recent interviews, simply expanding on the previous feature. There’s more information about the development of the story and what films influenced the Cuarons: Masculin feminine, for example, influenced the film’s narration. There’s also quite a bit about the development of the characters, the representation of classes, and the political climate at the time and trying to capture it. There’s a good section about the heavy use of Mexican slang throughout the film, which Verdu didn’t understand at all, and the last chunk of it focuses heavily on that final bar scene and the subsequent hotel sequence. It’s a far more interesting and engaging making-of in comparison to the “Then” segment, and one of the stronger features to be found here.
Following this is a 2001 Making-of, which runs about 22-minutes. It feels more promotional in nature, but has a few interviews and offers some behind-the-scenes footage. Of course after the previous set of interviews, which were far more open and forthcoming, this making-of feels slight and somewhat superficial. There is also a set of 3 deleted scenes running almost 4-minutes total. On their own they’re fine, particularly a montage of the three getting stoned on the road, but in each case the film would have more than likely come to a stand-still of sorts.
Following this is a new feature, an interview with philosopher Slavoj Žižek, who presents his case on how the film is a “political film about the political crisis in Mexico” despite the fact this is rarely in the foreground, and almost, in fact, entirely ignores it. His argument (which he gets to after brutally butchering a joke) is fine enough once it starts to come together, and all of this is fairly obvious in the film, whether it be through the demonstration sequence or the military checkpoints scattered about throughout. Unfortunately it’s the only “scholarly” addition found in the disc supplements and I didn’t find it to be the most terribly insightful piece.
Following this Criterion then includes a TV spot and a theatrical trailer. They also include Carlos Cauron’s You Owe Me One, an amusing 12-minute short film about a family and the various infidelities going on within it.
The disc supplements overall are a disappointment, but much better is the rather thick 72-page booklet first featuring an essay by Charles Taylor on the film and its standing in Cuaron’s filmography. Following this, though, is what may be the release’s best addition: the biographies written up for all characters, providing backstories and fleshing out some of the things only hinted at or briefly mentioned in the film. There’s also a great short one about the station wagon.
Considering the long wait for this edition the supplements feel very underwhelming, most appearing to be recycled from previous editions.
An edition long in the making the end product ultimately feels a little lackluster in the supplements department; it really feels there should be more here. But all of this is just about made up for with the superb presentation. The film looks and sounds great!