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Temporada de patos

Set in gritty Mexico City, this is a kinder, gentler version of Ferris Bueller's Day Off without any car chases. This slice-of-youth black-and-white intimate film should get young writer/director Fernando Eimbcke noticed.


Two adolescent buddies, Flama (Daniel Miranda) and Moko (Diego Catano), are given incessant instructions by Flama's mom before she heads off to work. Don't go out, don't let anyone in, turn off the stove. When they're finally alone, they jump on couch, turn on their favorite video game and shoot bad guys. They order a pizza, have a huge bottle of Coke and seem set for the day. That is, until their 16-year-old neighbor Rita (Danny Perea) asks to use the stove to bake herself a birthday cake. Then, their pizza guy Ulises (Enrique Arreola) refuses to leave after the guys refuse to pay. And, the power goes out. By arguing, debating and confessing, this odd foursome discovers a lot about each other and themselves throughout the strange day.


Incredible as it may seem, the two boys have had no acting experience. They seem natural and content as we witness their private day, talking through the subtext of their concerns and coming face-to-face with issues they've buried. Flama's parents are splitting up and fighting over a painting of duck hunting hanging over the TV. He's also moving, and Moko is trying to deal with his intense feelings for his best friend. Meanwhile, the girl next door is showing Moko how to kiss with tongues while she bakes her cake. And, the pizza guy turns from an adversary to a confidante who spills a lot of baggage of his own. Arreola looks a bit like a creepy Roberto Benigni, and that's perhaps his role, but the kids are brilliant.


Eimbcke shot this in black and white and that's part of the artistry of the movie. The audience doesn't know Flama has shocking red hair until they discuss it. And, although most of the film takes place in the apartment, there are scenes of the city, and a heart-wrenching flashback of the local dog pound (footage from the director's award-winning short.) Like any languid day, the movie has slow moments, but it's fascinating to watch this foursome fight off the banality of their day-to-day lives by dealing with each other. Duck Season swept Mexico's version of the Oscars but wasn't selected as the country's foreign language entry, so for now, it will have to get noticed some other way.

Bottom Line rated this film 3 stars.