• Film
  • Comedy
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Returning home to mum Cecilia, teenage sister Selene and younger brother Paul after two mute years in a psychiatric clinic – he couldn’t cope with dad no longer being around – nine-year-old Abel needs to display some semblance of normality or he’ll probably be sent to an institution in Mexico City. Cecilia advises his siblings to be patient…and sure enough, Abel eventually starts speaking again – albeit as if he’s his father…

Mexican actor Diego Luna’s first fiction feature as director confirms the promise of his boxing documentary ‘Chávez’. Though the parallel cutting towards the climax is a little pat, he tells his intriguingly Oedipal story swiftly and clearly, shifts deftly between the comic and dramatic modes and makes the wide ’Scope format eloquent and attractive.

Perhaps unsurprisingly (he began acting professionally in his early teens), Luna also elicits fine performances from his cast, not least from real-life brothers Christopher and Gerardo Ruiz-Esparza as Abel and Paul. The result is a pleasingly unsentimental but affecting study of a kid whose behaviour is both a consequence of and a catalyst for family tensions fuelled by outmoded notions of masculinity. Engrossing, intelligent fare.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday January 7 2011
Duration: 85 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Diego Luna
Cast: Christopher Ruiz-Esparza
Gerardo Ruiz- Esparza
Karina Gidi
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