Gueros (A J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
December 14, 2015 by Dennis Amith
“Gueros” was a film that captivated me from beginning to end and of the many Mexican films that I have watched in my lifetime, “Gueros” was no doubt one of the best. Highly recommended!
FILM RELEASE: 2014
DURATION: 111 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:33:1 Original Aspect Ratio, Black and White, Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Optional English Subtitles
COMPANY: Kino Lorber
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Directed by Alonso Rulzpalacios
Screenplay by Alonso Rulzpalacious, Gibran Portela
Produced by Ramiro Ruiz
Executive Producer: Alonso Rulzpalacios
Co-Producer: Coria Corial, Jose Felipe
Associate Producer: Gael Garcia Bernal
Assistant Producer: Xochiti Enriquez Mendoza
Line Producer: Claudia Valdez
Music by Tomas Barreiro
Cinematography by Damian Garcia
Edited by Yibran Asuad, Ana Garcia
Casting by Alejandro Caballero
Production Design by Sandra Cabriada
Costume Design by Ingrid Sac
Tenoch Huerta as Sombra
Sebastian Aguirre as Tomas
Ilse Salas as Ana
Leonardo Ortizgris as SAntos
Raul Briones as Furia
Laura Almela as Isabel
Adrian Ladron as Moco
Camila Lora as Aurora
Alfonso Charpener as Epigmenio
Marcelo Tobar as Film Director
The winner of five Ariels (the Mexican Academy Awards), including Best Picture and Best Director, Gueros is one of the most striking debut features in recent memory.
Ever since the National University strike broke out, Sombra (Tenoch Huerta) and Santos (Leonardo Ortizgris) have been living in angst-ridden limbo. Education-less, motionless, purposeless, and unsure of what the strike will bring, they begin to look for strange ways to kill time. But their idiosyncratic routine is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Tomas (Sebastian Aguirre), Sombra’s kid brother. Unable to fit in amongst these older slackers, Tomas discovers that unsung Mexican folk-rock hero Epigmenio Cruz (Alfonso Charpener) has been hospitalized somewhere in the city. Toma s convinces Sombra and Santos that they must track him down in order to pay their final respects. But what they thought would be a simple trip to find their childhood idol soon becomes a voy-age of self-discovery across Mexico City’s invisible frontiers.
Guero – A person of fair complexion or with blond or red hair.
“Gueros” happens to be the title of the award winning 2014 Mexican film by filmmaker Alonso Ruizpalacios (“Cafe paraiso”, “La revista”, “XY”). And is a film that was inspired by the 1999 strike at the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), which was caused by the tuition hike from 0.02 dollars to $150 a semester. Leading students to declare a strike and block the main campus and would last for 292 days.
The film won five Ariels including “Best Picture” and “Best Director” and now it was released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Kino Lorber.
“Gueros” is co-written by Alonso and Gibran Portela and stars Tenoch Huerta, Sebastian Aguirre, Ilse Salas, Leonardo Ortizgris, Raul Briones and Alfonso Charpener.
The film begins with a young woman frantic to run away with her baby. As she tries to run away from her building, Tomas (portrayed by Sebastian Aguirre) and a friend drop water balloons from the top of their building and accidentally hit the baby.
Unfortunately for Tomas, his troubles have led his mother to send him away to live with his older brother Sombra (portrayed by Tenoch Huerta).
Sombra is a student at National University and lives with his friend Santos (portrayed by Leonardo Ortizgris), but due to a strike at the university, the two are unsure about their future as students.
Now Sombra and Santos are nervous, frustrated, education-less and not sure what they will do with their lives without the proper education. In order to pass time, they try to get a mentally disabled girl to send up an extension cord to the men in order to power up their apartment.
And now with Tomas living with them, it complicates matters because they have no means of taking care of him.
But when Tomas finds out that his folk-rock music hero Epigmenio Cruz (portrayed by Alfonso Charpener) has been hospitalized, he gets Sombra and Santos to take him to get an autograph.
But the three find out through their trip that the quest to find Epigmenio is full of danger but also surprises and also giving them a time for self-reflection as their adventures take them across Mexico City.
“Gueros” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:33:1 aspect ratio). Shot in black and white, the film features wonderful sharpness. Black levels and are nice and deep, grays and white are well contrast and closeups show amazing detail. I didn’t notice any major artifacts or issues while watching the film.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Gueros” is presented in Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD MA and features crystal clear dialogue and music. The film showcases crowd ambiance and natural sounds that utilizes the surround channels, but the film is primarily center and front channel driven.
The film is presented with optional English subtitles.
“Gueros” comes with the following special features:
- Deleted Scenes – (12:05) Featuring six deleted scenes.
- Interview with the Director – (14:04) Filmmaker Alonzio Ruizpalacios discusses how the Students Strike of 1999 influenced the film.
- Short Films – Featuring two of Alonzio Ruizpalacios short films “Cafe paraiso” (10:32) and “el ultimo canto del pajaro cu” (14:52.
- Trailer – Theatrical trailer for “Gueros”.
Featuring an 8-page booklet with an essay by Godfrey Cheshire.
I have to admit that I feel it’s been awhile since I have been captivated by a Mexican film, but filmmaker Alonso Ruizpalacios has managed to craft a film, paying homage to films from the French New Wave but creating something so magical, entertaining and a film I would probably watch several times. That’s a testament of how much I enjoyed this film.
From its characters, the adventures undertaken by each of these characters, the music and the cinematography, “Gueros” is a cinematic masterpiece.
In some ways, after watching the film and reflecting on the various adventures that Tomas, Sombra and Santos go through, I couldn’t help but think of the fascinating adventures of Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel character which began with the “The 400 Blows”.
Antoine was no doubt a troublemaker and a person who’s curiosity got the best of him at times, but as Tomas is the troublemaker, the film becomes less about Tomas’ troubles but giving us a perspective of how students were in 1999 after finding out that the the college tuition was going from 0.02 cents to $150 a semester. A lot of these individuals crave education, are smart but come from poverty and their hopes and dreams of their family was to make money after graduating from college.
Unfortunately, many were forced to go without school for nearly a year and we get to see how Sombra and Santos are not sure what to do with their lives and for the most part, have become slackers. And for young Tomas, by seeing Sombra in a funk, he is not too pleased that he must live with them.
But he does give the two purpose when he finds out that the Mexican Folk-Rock hero of his father and his family, Epigmenio Cruz has been hospitalized and he wants Sombra to take him to get his tape cassette signed.
But through their trip to find Epigmenio, the group are taken on an adventure, some being fun, some being risky and scary and some situations giving them the time to reflect on their current lives and making a decision of whether to fight for their college education or just stay home and do nothing and live within their depressing paradigm.
Nevertheless, “Gueros” is a film that pays homage to French Nouvelle Vague, from its cinematography to its storyline that will no doubt entertain audiences. I absolute enjoyed this film!
As for the Blu-ray, The Blu-ray looks and sounds good in HD. You also get an featurette with an interview with director Alonso Ruizpalacios, two short films and deleted scenes.
Overall, “Gueros” was a film that captivated me from beginning to end and of the many Mexican films that I have watched in my lifetime, “Gueros” was no doubt one of the best.
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