Americano (2011)

Director: Mathieu Demy
Writer: Mathieu Demy
Cast: Mathieu Demy, Salma Hayek, Geraldine Chaplin, Carlos Bardem, Chiara Mastroianni
Part of: Viennale

Martin’s (Mathieu Demy) estranged mother just died, so he travels from France to the USA, where she’s emigrated to years before, to take care of her affairs. Once there, his mother’s friend Linda (Geraldime Chaplin) tries to help him with getting everything in order. But Martin finds out about a Mexican immigrant his mother was close friends with and who she liked a lot. Generally lost in his life, he decides to travel to Mexico to find the (in the meantime deported) Lola (Salma Hayek) to tell her that his mother is dead.

The movie might have worked if it wasn’t for the idiotic script, the clichéd story, the annoying main character… basically, if all of it was Geraldine Chaplin being awesome. Unfortunately that isn’t the case and so the movie ends up being pretty boring.

Demy is the son of Agnès Varda (and Jacques Demy). I only mention this because Demy uses one of her short films from the 80s in which he acted as a kid as the  Martin’s memories of growing up with his mom. And the glimpses we get of this short film are frankly wonderful. It is sad that the best part of the movie are when we see another film, but I really would like to check out more stuff by Varda now.

I think my main problem with the film was Martin. I just really did not like the guy. He oscillates between being an asshole, an idiot and Creepydude McCreeperson. The way he starts stalking Lola and his obsession with saving her is quite frankly pathological. And when you have a protagonist like that who you’re supposed to be sympathetic with, any movie is doomed to fail.

In the talk with the audience after the movie, Demy said that the movie is a hommage to Road Movies, and I guess if you want to call a series of clichés a hommage, he succeeded. But the dialogues are so bad, I just wanted to cry. At one point, Martin seriously said, “You deserve better than this. You’re so beautiful.” As if beauty is any kind of achievement that makes people deserving of a good life.

At least, on some level Demy seems to have noticed what a complete jackass Martin is and has him slapped a few times. And I savored every moment of those slaps.

Summarising: skip it.

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