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Directed by Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio
Produced in 2009
Main Language - Spanish with English subtitles
Countries & Regions - South American Film
Jorge Machado, Natan Machado Palombini, Nestor Marin, Roberta Palombini
Set in Mexico’s beautiful Banco Chinchorro reef, Alamar is a cinematic message-in-a-bottle. Mike Bartlett dives into the least cynical and most compassionate film of the year.
A cinematic message-in-a-bottle from one of the remotest parts of the planet, Alamar is the most visually arresting film you'll see all year. It's also the least cynical and most compassionate.
Set in the beautiful Banco Chinchorro, Mexico's second largest barrier reef, it's a semi-documentary portrait of Jorge and Natan, real-life father and son, enjoying an extended working holiday with Natan's grandfather, Nestor. Jorge has separated from his Italian wife, so these precious few weeks represent his only chance to bond with his child. They stay in Nestor's palafitte – a wooden hut precariously balanced on stilts poking out of the seawater itself – and help the old man eke out a living as a marine fisherman.
Equally in love with both nature and people, the film's most moving moments come through an attention to bodies and their placement in shot – Jorge holding a protective hand over his son's belly, an arm gripping the side of a speedboat as it races out to sea – and the interaction between Natan and a lost white bird. It's a kind of pure cinema that is wholly unsentimental but completely magical.
Michael Bartlett on 19th January 2011
Author of 26 reviews
The first feature by the London Film School trained Pedro González-Rubio, Alamar has been gathering great critical praise. Part film, part documentary, it is set on the Banco Chinchorro, the second largest coral reef in the world, which lies just off the Mexican coast. There, 5 year-old Natan - the son of an Italian mother and Mexican father who have recently divorced - spends a final summer with his father and grandfather before leaving for a new life in Rome with his mother. As days pass in their simple fisherman's shack where Natan learns the ways of their work, he forms a bond that, despite its simplicity and strength, is inevitably overshadowed by his impending departure.
Publisher: New Wave Films
Length: 73 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 widescreen
Cat No: NW022
Format: DVD Colour