Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001) – UR “And Your Mama Too”

A common theme of films is a young person “coming of age” through their early sexual experiences. This web site has already reviewed 3 films dealing with this subject. Many of the films are quite erotic. Y Tu Mama Tambien staring Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal and most importantly Maribel Verdu is another coming of age film, but it is also so much more.

So why is this subject so interesting and erotic? For most of us, the late teens and 20’s were not erotic times. I personally struggled with guilt well into my 30’s as I tried to reconcile religion and sex. My best, most erotic sex is happening now and certainly was not happening when I was young. I believe my experience is common. So then, why is there such a focus in film on the teens and early 20’s?

In Y Tu Mama Tambien, we witness the ranging hormones of two teenage boys. The boys’ ultimate sexual fantasy will be experienced. An older, beautiful, attractive married woman will spend a holiday with them on a deserted Mexican beach teaching them the ways of lovemaking. One of her most memorable instructions to the boys was “you have to treat the clit as your friend.” The film has a very erotic three-some scene with an unanticipated ending. The boys become men sexually but are gifted with much more experiences along the way. The experiences lead the now men to make choices. We are taught throughout this film by a narrative, that life’s experiences lead to choices that lead to our character. So, maybe here is the answer to my question. We are drawn to coming of age erotic stories because they are a metaphor for how we continue to choose our character. Our choice in sex parallels our choices in life…. Or, maybe it’s only for the young bodies.

Y Tu Mama Tambien is an excellent, much talked about film, which was nominated for Best Foreign Film in 2001. Apart from the erotic story, the film’s cinematography captures the paradox of the beautiful yet impoverished Mexican coast. I strongly recommend this film. However, it is important to see the “UR” version rather than the “R” version. The erotic scenes cut from the “UR” are key to understanding the boys’ later life decisions. The “R” rated film not only cuts the erotic scenes but also some of the most explicate dialogue of sexual instruction.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Therese and Isabelle (1968)- UR

For me, the recent film “My Summer of Love” was a disappointment. Films of young girls coming of age through a love affair carry a classic erotic story yet often turn out to be poor in story line or erotic content. The nearly 40 year-old film, “Therese and Isabelle” is an exception. This black and white film is very erotic in truly a unique way.

The story is about a woman who returns to her boarding school for a visit. The school is on semester break and therefore she wanders the castle-like facility alone remembering her adolescents. Her memories are of her lover, Isabelle. What makes this film so erotic is not the brief nudity or pictures of their lovemaking. It is rather the narrative. At the point where she remembers an erotic encounter with Isabelle the film shifts to a third person narrative that is part poetry, part sonnet, but fully explicit and very beautifully erotic. This erotic narrative plus gorgeous back and white cinematography makes this classic film well worth seeing.