Under a Spell (Un embrujo)
|Release Date:||January 22, 1999|
|Running time:||132 minutes|
|Cast:||Blanca Guerra, Mario Zaragoza, Daniel Acuna, Luisa Huertas, Gerardo Campbell|
|Producer:||Bertha Navarro, Guillermo del Toro|
|Writer:||Carlos Carrera, Martin Salinas|
Description: The emergence of a new generation of Mexican film directors in the 1990s is an event that even sophisticated film viewers may not have had the opportunity to appreciate. With the exception of sometime-expatriates Alfonso Arau, Guillermo del Toro, and Alfonso Cuaron, who have worked in the United States, the crisis in distribution of foreign-language films in this country has often not allowed American audiences the chance to view these exceptional Mexican films. Emblematic of these achievements, Under a Spell is a beautifully accomplished work that combines the magic of cinematic style with superb performances in a period piece full of sexuality, class struggle, and mystery. On one level a not-so-simple coming-of-age story, Under a Spell focuses on the thirteen-year-old Eliseo, son of a longshoreman/union organizer, whose dreams of a world away from the docks lead him to a series of liaisons, beginning with his sexy teacher, Felipa (Blanca Guerra), a woman whose intense desires and worldliness end with her ostracism and banishment. Director Carlos Carrera interweaves elements of politics, superstition and mysticism, melodrama, and realism in fashioning a thoroughly enrapturing, quasi-supernatural tale. The lush settings and intense, almost-physical force of the film's visuals create a truly transforming experience. Indeed the magic of the film's color, music, and denouement grants us access to a complicated culture that combines history and imagination. Carrera has demonstrated the abilities that mark the development of a remarkable cineaste.
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