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Los mejores temas (Greatest Hits)

Los mejores temas (Greatest Hits)

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Nicolás Pereda makes films where fiction, documentary, and experimentalism coexist, often in the same scene, often in the same take. To date, he has mostly worked with that Mexican axiom of cinema, Gabino Rodríguez, and Teresa Sánchez, who play mother and son; reunited in Pereda’s latest, their partnership is expanded with the addition of the third variable of the family unit: the father.

Los mejores temas takes on a theme of parental responsibility that’s typical of Mexican culture; it deals with the ramifications of the father’s return home after having split decades earlier.

But shooting his interiors in cramped widescreen, Pereda has chosen a form for this subject that deals up front with the privileging the processes of representation; he’s interested in spurring on a discussion about reality, and how we as viewers relate to it.

Why are there two fathers? How much of the dialogue consists of the actors speaking as their characters, and how much are the actors talking about themselves? What exactly is going on here? Scenes are repeated, with slight changes—linked by bursts, naturally, of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Rehearsals are filmed, and written “rehearsals” are filmed, to the point that the characters—sometimes playing themselves—reach an emotional rawness.

“Greatest Hits” comes from the CD that Gabino sells, whose endless list of romance songs he repeats throughout the film as an incantation, but it’s also an acknowledgement from Pereda that after this “best of” package, he’s primed for change. (MP)

Mark Peranson

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