Dir.: Carlos Reygadas, Cast: Carlos Reygadas, Natalia Lopez, Phil Burgers; Mexico/ France/ Germany/ Denmark/Sweden 2018, 173 min.
Carlos Reygadas is one of the few auteurs who have kept their independence and their unique style, Our Time is the story of a ménage-à-trois set high up in the Mexican mountains, where a Bunūel-like, surreal narrative develops in this fresh and original feature. which Reygadas also stars.
Reygadas stars as Juan living with his wife Ester (Lopez) and their three children on a huge farm, where they breed bulls to fight in the arena. Ester seems very much in charge of the enterprise, whilst Juan is more interested in writing poetry and libretti for operas. Enter horse breeder Phil (Burgers), who falls for Ester and upsets the equilibrium of family and work life. Juan is upset when he finds out about Ester’s liaison: he is not at all the man he pretends to be and Juan reacts with jealousy and temper tantrums, before a visit to a dying friend changes him: he starts to communicate with both Ester and Phil, but also wants to be near them when they make love. He begins to see the affair as a stage play where he takes part but also directs; and while he’s in control the situation is bearable, mitigating the emotional effect of the fallout . The parallels to the actual shooting of the feature eventually become obvious.
Reygadas contrasts the various strands of the narrative: Juan and Esther go to Mexico City to participate in cultural events, where he is feted. The rather long preamble shows the couple’s two younger children hanging out with friends near a lake on their farm. Meanwhile the oldest son gets a taste of first love, not wanting to return to boarding school at the end of the summer. All this is obviously dwarfed by the marriage crisis. Reygadas’ lets his zany sense of sense of humour lose in the way he allows the five-year old daughter to read out a running commentary on the state of her parent’s marriage.
DoP Diego Garcia’s rain-soaked foggy landscape contrast poetically with the urban chaos and glittering nightime panoramas. Reygadas’ inventive narrative snakes its way to a surprising denouement, leaving the interpretation open and showing that he is still in very much in love with filmmaking in a playful way. AS
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