Psychological film about the struggle of a tequila farmer

Globalization can easily obscure the fact that a beautiful place with a rich history, hardworking people, and a precious resource is as much a home as someone else’s opportunity. outside.

What Mexican filmmaker Juan Pablo González wants viewers to think after watching his picturesque “Dos Estaciones” is next time you start some shoddy tequila that is famously marketed. of some multinational corporation, there is a local kind – like González’s factory. protagonist – in a deepening frustration at the disappearance of a long cherished culture.

This is González’s first narrative feature after establishing his meditative style in a handful of documentaries (including “Caballerango”), and it combines story, regional experience and personal knowledge. (The director comes from a tequila family.) But while “Dos Estaciones” — set in the tequila center of Jalisco, in the highland town of Atotonilco — may not always tie in. Significant results, it confidently maintains a concentrated atmosphere of pride and mourning as it continually watches over Maria (Teresa Sánchez, “Prayers for the Stolen”), a businesswoman middle-aged is as difficult as the circumstances in which she found her company, which shares the same name as the movie title.

We know right away that a plague will soon threaten the region’s all-important green agave plant, the harvest of which is depicted in a mesmerizing opening scene that hints at intimacy and majesty. in-store from Gerardo Guerra’s beautiful location cinematography. But it is the economic plague that is particularly gnawing at Señora Maria (as she calls it by employee calling) – the growing encroachment of foreign companies in the region is devouring the craft activities. work like hers.

Deep in debt, farmers not calling her back, crops threatened and workers owed wages, the pressure on her to sell is great, but she won’t give in. However, we can tell, from Maria’s eyes – the biggest asset in Sánchez’s quiet performance – and the way she carries herself, whether eating alone or touring the factory or working work at her desk, the family business is weighing heavily on her.

As for the “family” part, it is mainly about her loyalty to the worker and her connection to the community, because otherwise she lives alone and creates a remote solitude suitable for A boss with many thoughts. The movie is a mystery to Maria’s gender beyond shaggy hair and masculine attire, but it’s hard not to attribute part of the attraction to her hiring the young, pretty, young Rafaela (Rafaela Fuentes), new to the city , was recently fired. tequila distillery after they met at one of her employees’ children’s birthday parties.

However, Rafaela was a business asset, soon becoming indispensable for Maria. While making it clear if it’s a flirt or a mentor in Maria’s mind might help with the dramatic dynamics of the film, the boost she gets from Rafaela on the side makes for the sweet moments. The most part of the film deals with Maria’s troubled personality.

Fuentes is, in real life, an actual tequila factory director (at the distillery where González filmed), and she’s one of the few people who first acted in a film to play a version of herself. surname. Another key role is transgender hairdresser Tatin (Tatin Vera), who cuts Maria’s hair and is portrayed as a thriving business owner thanks to Maria’s support and the spillover effects of having a factories operate nearby.

The film’s remarkable realism about gender identity and women-run businesses becomes another prominent element in depicting this type of rural community; Some social changes reflect a kind of progress, especially where a macho culture has long dominated.

With its combination of fictional sensibilities and non-fiction elements, an alchemy is increasingly appealing to filmmakers – especially when it comes to the authenticity of a location – González says. find him as talented as anyone in terms of visual abilities and the rewarding subject matter of this emerging genre. (His co-authors are Ana Isabel Fernández and Ilana Coleman.) Patience is a virtue he believes in. and fragmentary moments (like the scene where a cow wanders on a brush).

The villains are mostly absent, making a brief appearance on the multinational’s truck in town, which elicits a vulgar outburst from Maria. That’s what they reap is palpable here.

In a sense, “Dos Estaciones” creates its own gripping shooter-player mood cycle, the cumulative effect of landscape beauty, gritty news, observed process (machinery). tequila production) and the solemn observance of Sánchez’s turn in command, giving us plenty to digest when the final stretch goes wrong.

“Dos Estaciones” made its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Psychological film about the struggle of a tequila farmer

Curtis Crabtree

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