By Andrea K. Hammer
Alamar (To the Sea), a film by Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio, is an exquisitely natural movie about a father and son forging a special bond while fishing along the coral reefs of Mexico.
The film begins with a home-movie quality, revealing a couple’s initial attraction on the beach. Viewers discover the mystical force uniting them and leading to the birth of their son, Natan. When the couple eventually decides to separate, the same powerful energy from nature shapes the father’s brief time with his now 5-year-old son before the child goes to live with his mother (Roberta Palombini) in Rome.
The father, Jorge Machado, is central to the transcendent feeling of this film. His instinctive understanding of the Chinchorro reef, desire to show Natan how to live in harmony with the sea and commitment to teaching Natan about their Mayan heritage quietly guide their time spent fishing on his father’s boat. Jorge Machado‘s easy, acrobatic movements hoisting and carrying his son while handling other tasks is a marvel to watch as the pair connects while fishing, feeding the birds and discovering unusual shells along the coral reefs of Mexico.
Unlike many overly action-packed and sensory overloaded movies, a sense of peacefulness imbues Alamar. As a refreshing change in a frenetic world filled with overstimulation, this film by Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio allows the natural world along the Chinchorro reef to speak volumes and create calm in extended and often wordless scenes.
Conveying deep yet unspoken wisdom, Alamar is a unique film experience and well-deserving recipient of multiple film festival awards. As film 7 in year 8 of the Film Movement Series, this movie and DVD-of-the-month club for award-winning independent and foreign films are welcome discoveries.