New to DVD this week:
MY MEXICAN BRETZEL
Rotterdam, New York, Barcelona, Monterrey, Guanajuato, RIDM
Home movies reveal a couple’s life in the 1950.
Ostensibly, Nuria Giménez’s film tells the story of Vivian Barrett and her husband Leon – plus her lover, Leo – through glorious technicolor home movies Leon shot mid-century, largely silent save for the stray sound effect, and accompanied by on-screen text from Vivian’s private diary. It’s only at the end of the film that the viewer sees the curious credits noting that Vivian and Leon were played by Isle G Ringier and Frank A Lorang, and that Lorang actually shot the footage. It turns out that the “documentary” that preceded was constructed, and neither Vivian nor Leon – not to mention Leo, and Vivian’s oft-quoted favorite author/guru, Paravadin Kanvar Kharjappali – existed. The footage was from and featured the director’s grandparents, instead (though this relationship is not explained within the film itself), and the entire film is an exercise in imaginary biography. Giménez’s use of silence and on-screen text force the viewers attention, encouraging easy belief in the lie of the narrative. While the deceit is so subtle and innocuous as to beg the question of ultimate intent, the film is thoughtful and unique enough to justify the viewer’s time.