Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Ana de la Reguera in "Así del Precipicio" [2006 Mexico]

María Teresa Suarez Maceiras wrote and made her directorial feature film debut (as Teresa Suarez) in the Mexican drama, "Así del Precipicio" [Eng. Title: At the Edge of the Abyss]. For a debut, it was certainly a bold film, considering it was addressing an audience a world apart from her film's subject - one that's probably better suited to a Madrid than a Mexico City. It concerns a tiny percentage of the upper class who make up the young and beautiful - the über-cool metrosexuals who have choices in life but don't know what to do with them.

It's about three young women, friends - the beautiful Lucía who works in advertising as an art director, a devil-may-care Carmen, an artist without commissions and who fancies a guy she can't have because he's gay, and Hanna, recently separated from her wealthy but mollycoddled husband. Together they share an apartment and we follow their fortunes as each one of them go through a crisis of sorts in trying to get to grips with their world. Lucía is hopelessly in love with two-timer Mathías, and vents her frustrations through drugs and alcohol which only lands her in further trouble. Carmen comes in possession of a stash of cocaine which will make her life more complicated than it already is. Hanna fares better than the rest - in fact her 'crisis' if anything relates to discovering her sexual orientation as she gets increasingly drawn towards a wealthy female customer at the jewellery store where she works. The other two, Lucía and Carmen, reach the edge of their own abyss, and the film explores how they deal with it.

When I watched this for the first time several years ago, I wasn't particularly impressed as it pretty much resembled a mushy TV melodrama. Even now I feel the screenplay could have been better, and things were perhaps dumbed down to reach a hitherto new audience. But despite its defects, at least we're saved a sermon - it is merely observing a people who at least in Mexico are rarely seen or heard. Some found the scenes of sex and liberal use of recreational drugs shocking, but I think there have been far more shocking films from Mexico itself, both in terms of sex scenes and drug abuse than this one. In fact one of the problems with this film is that it hasn't delved into the issues deep enough to make us understand the protagonists' plight fully, and possibly root for them. We're never really shown the 'precipice', merely expected to imagine it by protagonists' reactions.

This is nevertheless a sincere effort from Ms. Suarez as director - one can see she has some interesting ideas, and one hopes they'll be better realised in forthcoming projects. She even coaxed two of the most beautiful and promising of actresses from Mexico to star in the film - Ana de la Reguera and the more sparingly used Martha Higareda. Ms. Reguera allegedly regrets working in the film, but I don't really see any logical reason for it, unless there were creative differences or disputes of some kind. As for the acting, some give a pretty good account of themselves, notably Ms. Reguera who plays Lucía, and Gabriela Platas who plays Carmen. Technically however, I felt that the editing, direction, and the performances were always playing catch-up to overcome shortcomings of the screenplay, never always succeeding. But there are far worse films even from established directors than this one, and with an unforgettable scene that kick-starts the film, it is definitely worth the price of a ticket, or DVD. Recommended Viewing!

Amazon DVD Link
(Great value for money)

About the Lionsgate DVD:
While I dearly wish it was an anamorphic transfer - this is letterboxed-widescreen - it isn't altogether as bad as in some other editions. This was in fact my second purchase, the previous one wasn't any better, but at least this edition includes an interesting short film made earlier by Ms. Suarez called "Tú Mataste a Tarantino" [Eng. Trans: You Killed Tarantino]. And therefore a better value purchase.

Main Compilation: Ana de la Reguera
The DVD quality may only be average, but the opening scene in this film is anything but! That's why I decided to enhance it as much as I could.
Here's a snapshot from the original DVD (left), and my enhanced version (right):

It took me well over a day to fiddle around and put them together - admittedly nothing can be enhanced beyond a particular point, and while mine isn't quite the 'ideal' quality, it may yet be among the better ones out there. Let us know what you think anyway. :)

Ana de la Reguera from Asi del Precipicio

Scene Guide:
  • Teresa Suarez does a Bigas Luna here by juxtaposing an infant with an all grown-up Lucía. For Lucía, it is the matador Mathías who's now her reward - her craving. In this sensational nude scene - the reason why it occupies pride of place in my Latin American tribute, we see an unusual bedroom 'Pasodoble' performed by Lucía and Mathías - only Lucía prefers being the bull rather than the matador's cape. Lucía is played by the gorgeous Ana de la Reguera and Mathías by a handsome Alejandro Nones. We can tell that the director particularly loves the body of Ms. Reguera, in an artistic sense of course!
  • He leaves her wanting more - Lucía lets him know the consequences.
  • Lucía lands in big trouble the following day after too much drugs and alcohol - she decides to quit the habit, taking a leaf from a magazine, as it were.
  • But she couldn't forget Mathías, and 'melts' every time she meets up with him.
  • This is supposed to be of Lucía hitting a new low - when she wakes up half-naked next to a stranger. (Did I miss something? :-( )
  • Later in the bath...

Compilation 2: Anna Ciocchetti and Ingrid Martz
This one hasn't been enhanced.

Anna Ciocchetti and Ingrid Martz in Asi del Precipicio

Scene Guide:
  • Hanna fantasises about an older customer Sandra from work. Hanna is played by Ingrid Mortz and the wealthy customer Sandra is Anna Ciocchetti.
  • It appears the feeling is mutual and Hanna and Sandra end up becoming a couple.

Bonus Compilation: Patricia Llaca
From the short, "Tú Mataste a Tarantino" [Eng. Trans: You Killed Tarantino]. Tarantino by the way is the name of the cute little mutt who kicks the bucket after chewing a pouch containing cocaine, while his master was busy with his mistress Cicilia. Wife Diana returns from one of her female empowerment yoga-like sessions to see her favourite pet missing...
While I hope Ms. Suarez finds male actors who can also act apart from looking good, her female actresses do a decent enough job here, notably the dusky Mexican beauty Patricia Llaca (La Habitación Azul) who plays Cecilia.

Patricia Llaca in Tu Mataste a Tarantino


No comments:

Post a Comment