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Tuesday, 19 October 2010

ALAMAR - a new breed of film?

Alamar is an amalgamation of many things. It is part documentary, part drama, part environment protection movie, part father/son story, emotional, minimal, melancholy, engaging and incredibly watchable.

It is a Mexican film on the premise of a young boy going on an extended fishing trip with his estranged fisherman father (the back story of the father's relationship with the boys mother is explained in a wonderfully simple, eloquent way by both characters in the opening minuets). What follows a very simplistic depiction of this trip and the relationship that develops between the father and son, and also with the boy and the environment. The coast of the Yucatan in southern Mexico is arguably the main character of the film as is it's depiction on the ocean, the reefs, the wildlife and the way of life of the humans that inhabit the area that are a major driving force of the film.

In this respect Alamar has three major factors to it. The role of nature and the environment, the father/son relationship and also the fine balance between documentary and fiction that film oscillates with in a wonderfully flowing, natural and unique way.

The characters in the film are real and so is the relationships they have with each other, however some of circumstances regarding the actual reasons for trip and the family dynamic are fictionalized. The film never announces itself as either documentary or drama, it merely does what it does, and it does this throughout on its on terms and agenda. And it is this that is the reason for it's artistic and emotional success. The apparent simplicity of narrative and style leads the viewer to draw their own emotions and feelings towards what they are seeing and witnessing. A perfect example of less being more. A cynic could easily call this film boring and pointless. But that would be a truly awful kind of person. Alamar does what so many films fail to do, it lets the viewer think and draw themselves into a story that although is set in a unique place about a unique group of people, it is really a film everyone can relate to and be mesmerized by.

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