Alamar review

Posted: February 13, 2013 in Film Review
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Coral_Reef“Alamar” (“To the Sea”) revolves around a father and his son, who (together with grandpa), go on a seafaring expedition to the Banco Chinchorro, the largest coral reed in Mexico. Jorge (Jorge Machado), the father, teaches his son Natan (Natan Machado Palombini) to reel in fish, snorkel, name various sea creatures and plants, and to stay away from crocodiles. What makes this different than a multitude of other father/son relationships is that Jorge is divorcing Natan’s mother, and the mother is moving and taking the boy with her – far, far away. This trip will be perhaps their last extended time together, at least while the boy is a youngster. This is a great premise, no doubt, but the execution left me highly disappointed.
This film reminds me a lot of a slow homemade vacation movie (as may have been the plan – but I wouldn’t know why…) It is entirely hand-held shaky cam (and many of these on a boat, no less…) Is this an attempt at cinema-verite? Perhaps, but it only made me seasick. The kid is cute, the father is adequate, and I did enjoy the character of grandpa, Matraca (played by Nestor Marin). He was the most enjoyable part of the film for me. And the scenery is nice, too.
If you think “Fellini’s Roma” is a masterpiece, you may enjoy “Alamar.” It won several film festival awards, so others see the merit in the film, but they are lost on me. It would perhaps be a good film for Father’s Day, but all in all, I have to give it 2 out of 5 stars, and I cannot recommend it. This is a recent “Film Movement” DVD release. “Alamar” is in Spanish with subtitles.

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