Set in 1930's in Puebla, Mexico, a young woman finds herself in an arranged marriage to a prominent politician (Andres Ascencio). As his career progresses, she finds it more difficult to remain a loyal, loving wife.
Ana Claudia Talancón (Catalina Guzman), Daniel Giménez Cacho (Andres Ascencio), José María de Tavira (Carlos Vives), Mariana Peñalva (Mercedes), Irene Azuela (Bárbara), Jake Koenig (Mike Heiss), María Aura (Pepa), Danna Paola (Lilia Ascencio - Age 12), Metztli Adamina (Eufemia), Alain (Marcos), Jorge Almada (Gral. Aguilar), Andrea Arámburo (Adriana), Marta Aura (Josefina), Carmen Beato (Doña Elena), Fernando Becerril (Don Marcos), Julio Bracho (Cienfuegos), Iván Bronstein (Redactor en jefe), Delia Casanova (Julia), Joaquín Cosio (Juan), Marcia Coutiño (Otra señora concierto), Rubén Cristiany (Notario), Rafael Cuervo (Leandro), Vicky de Fuentes (Lucina), Abundino Díaz Alcantara (Campesino mitín), Camila Fuentes (Pía)...
Period pieces in Mexico have been well done almost always, but productions of period pieces had been only made for soap operas, never before had a movie production been so well done.
Although I never read the novel by Angeles Mastretta, I knew it was somehow accurate, since I hear she is a direct descendant from the story's protagonist Catalina -names are changed in the novel and film. This is shown by the richness of dialogs and curious anecdotes which constantly make you wonder which parts were completely true and which sprung from the author's vivid imagination.
Apart from the richness from the story and how the storytelling evolves smoothly throughout the film, the production design makes you feel completely Mexico in the 1930s. The costumes are great also.
The direction is almost perfect. Roberto Sneider takes you by surprise first at about minute 20, then slowly and smoothly hypnotizes you and never lets go.
Much credit goes to the lead Ana Claudia Talancon whose good looks and very well developed character arc make you fall at first for her beauty and innocence, and later for her humanity, courage and cleverness.
Daniel Gimenez Chaco's performance deserves praise also. He captures the Mexican Macho Persona perfectly, his cynical viewpoint of things and comments, bring humor to a character who would be otherwise despicable.
Second characters like de Tavira's and others feel a bit underdeveloped, but in the end all actors do great jobs with their little screen time and their contribution suffice.
The drama never falls for the temptation to go overly melodramatic and dialogs are kept smart enough - even ironic at times - to make this movie a fresh and satisfying take on the Mexican way of life. It actually feels so accurate that deep thoughts of "nothing has ever changed really" do spring a few times.
The music and editing are very well done also.
Congratulations to everybody involved!
Catalina Guzman: [narrating] Many things happened in the country that year. Among other things, I met Andres at a cafe under the arches. Where else could it be? Everything happens in Puebla. From courtships to murders. As if no other place existed.
Andres Ascencio: They're a bunch of pricks.
Catalina Guzman: Who is?
Andres Ascencio: Just say yes. I can see in your eyes that you agree.
Catalina Guzman: Okay, but who are you talking about?
Andres Ascencio: All of them. Who else?
Catalina Guzman: [narrating again] Of course I agree. To me, "all of them" were the people from Puebla who acted as if they owned the city. Not us, children of a farmer who stopped milking cows because he'd learned to make cheese. Not him, Andres Ascencio, who became a general out of luck and every trick other than having been born in a military family.
Based partially in the life of General Maximiano Avila Camacho, brother of the Mexican president Manuel Avila Camacho. He was governor of Puebla from 1937 to 1941 and served as secretary of public works in his brother's Cabinet. He was infamous for being ruthless, arrogant and violent with his political enemies.
Arráncame la vida ((original title); Spain) • Arranca-me a Vida (Brazil) • Mata-me! (Portugal) • Возроди во мне жизнь (Russia) • Tear This Heart Out (World-wide (English title))
mexico, wedding, lover, unhappy marriage, dysfunctional marriage, chauvinist, sexist, older man younger woman relationship, general, loss of virginity, sex scene, man removes his clothes, female frontal nudity, undressing, teenage girl, pregnancy, kissing while having sex, kiss, lust, buttocks, bare chested male, breasts, military, infidelity, based on novel
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