Critic: The Beginning of Time

Critic: The Beginning of Time

Dir. Bernardo Arellano

Official Selection Feature Mexico

tiempo2The Richter Scale says: Who can one count on? Whenever you need something, who is the person that’s always there to help? Can you count on family? We would like to think so, but eventually family members make their own lives and you’re never sure you can count on them forever. Can you trust the government? Anyone who lives in Mexico nowadays will tell you the answer to that is a big negative. Just ask Toño and Bertha, an elderly couple who are victims of the latest government shenanigans and they need to suspend pensions in order to solve them. Toño and Bertha are old and counted on those pensions to keep on living. Without them, what will they do? How will they get food and medicines?

They try selling tamales and anything they can sell from their house (which, given that most of their possessions are old, most people don’t want them) until one day, by chance, a man and his adult son stop to ask for directions and it turns out to be Jonás, Toño and Bertha’s long-gone son, along with their grandson Paco, who had never met them. Jonás and Paco move in with the elderly couple and take care of them. Now they have a chance to get to know their grandson. It’s a peculiar structure for a movie, since the main conflict is resolved quickly and once it is, it becomes the story of a family reunion and it’s a bit of a shame to think what more could have been done with the initial premise.

TiempoStill, within the movie we end up with, the chemistry between our characters is just right and even though it abandons the conflict among these characters, it’s still a critique of government and how little it cares about people. In the end it’s about making a connection with the people who need you the most and, as is common with stories about the elderly, it’s about growing old, seeing time pass, seeing how things have changed and enjoying the wisdom one has as an advantage over younger people. It celebrates what the elderly can offer and how much love can last, even toward someone who hadn’t net you.

This film screens at 4:00 pm at the Auditorium of the University of Guanajuato.

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