The affecting, quietly intense first feature by Spanish director Antonio Méndez Esparza, who studied film at Columbia in New York, won top prize at the Critics’ Week at Cannes and a host of awards elsewhere on the festival circuit. A gorgeous, low-key gem, made with a non-pro cast, it tells, in subtle, sensitive, and strikingly poetic fashion, the tale of Pedro, a man returning to his village in Guerrero, Mexico, after years working in the U.S. Pedro’s reunion with his wife and two daughters has some awkwardness, while his dreams of staying in Mexico with his family and starting a band on the side may be unrealistic. “In the vein of Ozu or even Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the film is composed of sublime little fragments of life passing by ... This is the best film yet to screen at Cannes' Critics' Week, confidently made without a single wasted scene ... In a time when cinematic images are often frantic and hysterical, Aquí y Allá stands out — much like Cannes competition entries from Abbas Kiarostami (Like Someone in Love) and Michael Haneke (Amour) — for being so calm and pensive. Peaceful, almost biblical and completely absorbing, this film is a masterpiece” (Ryan Lattanzio, indiewire). “A most remarkable debut; rarely, if ever, has a film about U.S./Mexican border experience felt so fresh or authentic” (Film Society of Lincoln Center). Colour, HDCAM, in Spanish and Nahuatl with English subtitles. 110 mins.
“Delicate ... Beautifully observant ... A quietly devastating exploration of the cruel paradox that, in order to feed their loved ones, emigrants have to leave them behind.”Variety | full review
“Detailed, intimate ... The film is as simple, straightforward, and elegant as its title, which translates as ‘Here and There.'”Village Voice | full review