Alamar (To the Sea) (2010)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
A young boy and his father learn about living in harmony with nature in this languid drama from filmmaker Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio. A man from Mexico (Jorge Machado) travels to Italy and falls in love with a beautiful local woman (Roberta Palombini). Their feelings for one another are strong, but they prove to be short lived, and when they decide to beak up after the birth of their son Natan, he returns to Mexico while she stays in Italy and takes primary custody of the child. However, the father strives to remain a presence in his son's life, and the boy visits his father at least once a year. As the five-year-old Natan travels to Mexico, his father has joined the family' fishing operation near the coral reefs of Banco Chinchorro. Living in an elevated cottage near the shore, Natan and his family devote their summer to an idyllic existence, spending their days catching the plentiful fish and observing the wildlife, and their nights sitting by the fire and admiring the stars. To the father, this simple life teaches an important lesson of existing in peace with the natural world, and Natan comes to see himself as being as much a part of this environment as the fish, the waterfowl and the seaweed. Alamar (aka To The Sea) was the first solo directorial credit for cinematographer Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio. … More
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Critic Reviews for Alamar (To the Sea)
So little is said on any subject that we're free to make our own conclusions about the world Natan inhabits.
"Alamar" takes a lyrical approach to a story about father-son bonding in the tropics. It's as sketchy as it is beautiful.
It is to González-Rubio's credit that he can celebrate nature so joyously, yet suggest neither the preferred lifestyle of either parent is superior to the other.
As much home movie as neorealist non-narrative, Alamar provides a nearly hypnotic immersion in the brilliantly aqua, impossibly tranquil Caribbean -- a Paradise Regained not just for Natan but for everyone.
Moving but never sentimental, ambient but rigorously focused, this is an assured, refreshingly simple film where the dramas and responsibilities of parenthood exist inside a bubble of blissed-out tropicalia.
Audience Reviews for Alamar (To the Sea)
"Alamar" is a sweet, gentle and beautifully filmed movie. Once upon a time, Jorge(Jorge Machado) and Roberta(Roberta Palombini) fell passionately in love and had a child but then reality set in. It soon became clear they had distinct needs in life, being from very different places, and separated.(Cue the opening credits from "Green Acres.") At the start of the movie, Roberta, who lives in the urban paradise of Rome, is sending their son Natan(Natan Machado Palombini) to spend time with his father and other relatives at the aquatic paradise of Banco Chinchorro in Mexico. It is there in a sort of men's club(the only sign of women are the pin-ups adorning the huts) that Natan is shown how to explore underwater and fish by his father and grandfather(Nestor Marin) which his family has been doing for generations. This resonated with me, reminding me of fishing as a boy in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, although we never caught fish anywhere near that large. In fact, the fish are so large and plentiful in the movie that even the crocodile does well for himself, just sitting around.
Sweet film that makes you wonder how much of this is a documentary and how much of it was scripted. Something to while away a Sunday afternoon with. Nice length however. I think any more sweetness, I would begin to find it grating.
I don't know how to classify this film. It comes off as a documentary. It looks like one and feels like one. Yet, the end credits say there is a cast. There are some shots that had to have been pre-arranged unless they had about three or four cameras and invisible cameramen. So perhaps it is both. It is a true tale that is aided by some filmmaking tricks. I am still convinced that what I saw was real. That the relationship between a little boy, his father, and his grandfather was unscripted and raw.
The story is that of little Natan, who is the son of a mother who lives in Rome and the son of a father who lives in the reefs of Mexico with his grandfather. Natan has been back and forth and it appears to be a rough life for the kid. His down trodden look in the beginning of the film tells the whole tale. So the parents have decided his father will take him for a while one last time, then he will live with his mother in Rome permanently. So we are whisked away to beautiful Mexico and the fishing village and lifestyle of Jorge and Nestor. They fish a little, talk a little and sleep a little. It appears to be a laid back lifestyle that includes diving to fish for both money and food. They live in a shack on stilts out in the shallow of the ocean. They sleep in hammocks hanging from the ceiling. They have just a short time left with little Natan.
This film is ultra simple. There is little dialogue and simply depicts the goings on between a son and his father. Some will find the proceedings dull and boring but I was captivated by the relationship between the father, Jorge, and his son Natan. The film is short and so is the time Jorge has left with his son before he goes back to Rome. He doesn't force his way with the kid, he encourages him and allows his imagination and curiosity to blossom. It is a beautiful thing. The film is full of little things that just made me smile, made me happy.
The film was beautiful both in the emotion and story it captured as well as the way it captured it. It was shot on handheld digital cameras start to finish and featured no CGI or flashy camera tricks, yet it captured the beauty of the ocean and of humanity. It was the simplest shots that created the most unique and fantastic perspective on the world. It is films like this that can reveal to the viewer something different, something they have never seen before. With this type of storytelling and this type of cinematography I can see the simplicity of the beauty of the world. The best films do this. Alamar may be a foreign film. It may be obscure, but it is the type of film that makes me love cinema.
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