Plot-driven Minimalist Film Intrigues
The harsh reality of life meets comedy in Temporada de Patas (Duck Season), the first feature film by screenwriter and director Fernando Eimbcke. Eimbcke’s film was presented on March 20 as a part of the 2006-2007 Latino/a film series. The film takes place over the course of a single Sunday, mostly in a single location, a high-rise apartment in Tlateloco, a neighborhood in Mexico City.
The story concerns two fourteen-year-old boys, Flama (Daniel Miranda) and Moko (Diego Cataño). After Flama’s mother, played by Carolina Politi, leaves for the day, the boys are left to fend for themselves in Flama’s high-rise apartment. Soon afterward, the power goes out and they are left to find more creative ways to amuse themselves.
These diversions include many jabs at other characters like Rita (Danny Perea), a sixteen-year-old girl who comes over to bake a cake, and Ulises (Enrique Arreola), a pizza delivery man with a seasoned past.
The film finds its greatest strength in merging the visual idea of minimalism with the intellectual idea of contemplation. As these characters are forced to sit around and think, they begin to share their lives with each other, and in doing so, begin to grow and change.
That same idea of minimalism serves as a strong commentary on the lives of its characters. Shot in black and white, the film is the very definition of starkness and minimalism. While the screen itself remains unchanging through the use of innumerable static shots, the audience can see in contrast the decaying building and living conditions of the residents of this neighborhood. Through several of the characters, most notably Ulises, the audience can observe the embodiment of this decay through countless unrealized dreams.
Despite these intense existential undertones, the film maintains a comical tone for its entire length. Because of the depth of the piece, the comedy is warranted. Often, the circumstances that the characters find themselves in cushion the blow of many of the film’s hardest issues: those of poverty, despair and loneliness. The comedic tone of the piece makes it much easier to process and digest.
The Latino/a film series will conclude Friday at 8 p.m. in Hallock Auditorium with two short films: Mary Guzman’s film Mind if I Call You Sir? (2004) and Lala Endara’s film Saul Searching (2003).