The Mexican film, Leap Year (2010), is a gritty alternative to romantic comedy. Although it is about a young woman’s love life, it is no chick flick.
Leap Year (2010) defines the notion of a low budget film. Originally titled, Ano bisiesto, this Mexican film takes place in Mexico City. One of the reasons I watched it was because I wanted to see the location shooting in Mexico City. However, the scenes are almost entirely limited to the apartment of our young character and the street or alleyway outside. Despite this, this little film engages and grows into a powerful statement as it builds to its ultimate conclusion. This is a surprisingly gritty and powerful movie.
Our star, Monica Del Carmen, is rather a plain Juanita, or in this case, Laura. She is a working journalist, struggling along in the sprawling city. A number of things have gone wrong for Laura on the job front and on the family front. She is going through a tough time. The scenes in her apartment are filmed from many different angles and places so it really never gets too old being trapped in there. But it may be getting old for Laura and you get the feeling she has of being trapped in her life, if not just her apartment.
Laura is lacking for male attention, so she takes matters into her own hands and literally waits by the windows. She hails down guys passing in the street or alleyway below by waving and throwing things at them. Yep, there are tomcats out there and Laura lets them inside. If anything, you will learn that Laura is not shy.
After going through a couple of candidates, she finally settles on a Mr. Wrong and things spiral downward and almost out of control. It seems Laura has some rather desperate feelings and strange desires. Even this Mr. Wrong won’t go as far as she wants to push things.
Ultimately, will Laura, and her Mr. Wrong, pull out of this tailspin or just auger straight-in to a massive life-shattering crash?
This gritty film is not for the faint of heart and is certainly not anywhere near the romantic comedy, chick flick category. It is a powerful film of destructive tendencies. The film is unrated in the United States and I would hazard a guess that is because it would have checked in well north of an R rating in the United States. Interestingly, both France and Spain deemed this suitable for the tender sensibilities of those sweet sixteens. Did you know that times have really changed? In any event, if you are willing to take the plunge, you will see that suitable, or not, it all fits and is integral to the story without being overly gratuitous.
Among the film’s awards and nominations, Leap Year director, Michael Rowe, won the 2010 Cannes Film Festival Golden Camera award and Ms. Del Carmen won the 2011 Ariel Awards, of Mexico, Silver Ariel as Best Actress.
Please note that there is another 2010 movie called Leap Year, a Hollywood affair starring Amy Adams which is no doubt a rom-com, chick flick. If that is the one your are after, please do not wander into the wrong theater, so to speak, or you will get the shock of your life, pobrecito.
There were a couple of interesting things in and about the credits. One was that the credits themselves were very well done in an arty and creative manner that fit with the visceral theme of the movie. The other was some information about purchasing the distribution rights to the film. I was left wondering just how much that would cost amid the dreams of my own little Bijou.
Just remember my admonition. This is not a rom-com or chick flick. Unless you and your date are a serial killer couple, you will not find this to be light entertainment. It is possible that this compelling little work may best be viewed alone, in the dark, and in a mood. Like us, and as we know from the daily news, our friends south of the border are not always picking daisies in the sunshine.
Editor’s Note: Below is the United States trailer for this film. Because the propriety police are always prudishly preparing to pounce, it is buried here. They can take solace in the fact that I did not use the United Kingdom trailer. What libertines, those Brits! Aghast! So, you ask, should I or should I not watch this trailer and/or the movie? Here is your handy-dandy question and answer guide to this perplexing mystery of world import. Do your tastes run the way of, say, Last Tango in Paris? If your answer is yes, then this trailer and movie is safe for you. If your answer is no, then stick to The Sound of Music. See? It’s easy and so much fun. As always, I remain your steadfast and loyal servant.