When watching a coming-of-age film set in late 20th century Mexico it’s hard not to draw comparisons with Y Tu Mama Tambien. Hari Sama’s film is like a distant, older and much cooler cousin to Cuaron’s film, that accomplishes, despite all the difference, the same sensual goal: the warmth of young adult male friendship in all its dirty, semen-stained, smoke and vomit-drenched glory. Dealing with queerness, art and belonging, This Is Not Berlin revolves around a very particular and insular moment in Mexican history, juxtaposing the 1986 World Cup in soccer with the world of underground clubs, protest art and queer desire.
A cast of beautiful young men and a young Patti Smith lookalike make the energy of adolescence that emanates from this movie palpable. You know how there are films that give you FOMO of not having been there, when everything was so exciting, fresh and new? This is one of them. I won’t be surprised if it wins in the competition.
This Is Not Berlin (Esto no es Berlín), 2019
Director: Hari Sama
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