Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio: A Father, his Son, and the Sea (Alamar)

Jorge Machado, Natan Machado Palombini, Alamar, Film Movement, 2010.

The free form documentary receives a jubilant jolt of vision in experimental documentarian Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio's achingly sumptuous new picture, Alamar. Chronicling an exotic fishing excursion between father and young son (Jorge Machado and Natan Machado Palombini), Gonzalez-Rubio forces us to examine the fine line betwixt truth and fiction, cinema and life.

Filmed unobtrusively, the images wash over us like the cool, clean waters which surround the nurturing, eccentric father and his preciously innocent young son. Nature photography comes alive at our fingertips, enveloped in a personal tale which unfolds in a captivating, naturalistic key. Jorge and Natan's mother, Roberta Palombini, are seen at the outset in old photographs displaying a spring fever love affair which culminated in pregnancy and drifting apart. We enter this world as Jorge comes to take his adorable young son on what will be a cathartic fishing trip, where father and son forge the bonds which will never break, as the terrible beauty of wild Mexico.

The waning calm and tenderness catches us adrift, and the smooth narrative style feels like a triumphant fiction film, even though all we see is real. Gonzalez-Rubio, a gifted documentarian, brings to mind Robert Flaherty and Ernest Hemingway with his radically original yet deceptively simple ode to fathers and sons and the tides of life.

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