One simple rule in making movies is that if you are going to make a three-hour film, you better have a good reason and, especially, an outstanding story to keep the audience sitting in the theatre all that time. Mexican director and protagonist of this film, Carlos Reygadas has neither. “Our Time” (“Nuestro tiempo”) starts with scenes of kids and adolescents separately enjoying what seems to be their last days of vacations in the country. Those scenes last for almost half hour and then we never see them again, except for a few of them who happen to be the children of the ranch owners and who don’t play any significant role in the rest of the movie. In other words, the first twenty or thirty minutes of the film are irrelevant to the development of the plot.
Juan (Carlos Reygadas) and Esther (Natalia López), live in a ranch where they raise fighting bulls, Juan is also a renowned poet. The underlying elements of the story, however, are far from the mundane concerns of bulls and horses: Phil (Phil Burgers), an American horse-breaker, is Esther’s lover, but Juan also knows of the relationship and moreover, because of his voyeuristic tendencies, he even tries ways to look at her wife making love with her lover. Juan’s initial reaction to his wife’s escapades, however, is marked by contradictory feelings of jealousy, since the couple had at first agreed that theirs was to be an open relationship.
This movie could have benefitted from more careful editing, the almost three-hours-long story could well be told in 100 minutes or less. That if we consider the plot worth telling, which may be open to discussion. Raygadas is known in Mexico for focusing on what he seems to consider deep human feelings. Are those existential questions somehow present in this film or it is just an incomplete portrayal of tormented characters who are simply tired of being what they are and are sinking into a banal life? To answer that you have to go through almost three hours where most of the time you’ll be bored to death. Not recommended.
In Spanish with English or French subtitles at Cinema Moderne (5150 St-Laurent)
Running time: 173 min
Feature image:Juan and Esther raise fighting bulls in their ranch in Mexico
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