Deficit review

:. Director: Gael García Bernal
:. Starring: Gael García Bernal, Kyzza Terrazas
:. Running Time: 1:40
:. Year: 2007
:. Country: Mexico

In Deficit Gael García Bernal directs, produces and stars in a film that seeks to uncover the ever-widening class chasm in Mexico City under the guise of two rich siblings throwing a barbecue at their parents' weekend house in Tepoztlán, a small town south of Mexico City.

Spoiled rich kid Cristobal (Bernal) heads south with a group of his elite friends to Tepoztlán to relax & party. His hippie sister (Camila Sodi) has already invaded the place with her druggie friends hailing from Mexico, Brazil & Japan. The two groups seem disparate but it's nothing that can't be resolved through sharing alcohol & pot, the great social unifiers. Already at the house is a family who work as the groundskeepers and Adan (Tenoch Huerta Mejia) also a twenty-something who has grown up with them but works for them, creating an uncomfortable atmosphere as Cristobal barks out orders quickly and efficiently.

Bernal wastes no time in exposing the cracks of the surface. A dirty pool and a toilet that won't flush lead him to reproach the staff; they respond by saying his father hasn't sent them money for repairs, or their wages for that matter. We also find out through murmurings that their father is en Europe trying to settle finances and avoid corruption charges.

The superiority and jealousy that Cristobal feels for Adan is palpable as they vie for the attention of an Argentine girl at the party, whose family has also escaped Argentina due to financial problems. Class differences come into play over and over again and while it's immediately obvious the point Bernal is trying to make, it doesn't have the emotional impact that Y Tu Mamá Tambien had a few years before (nor is it as succinct. It's too light and it wasn't a surprise when Diego Luna (producer in the project) shared that it was made for TV).

From a leisurely day poolside to a nighttime rave all culminating in a near overdose for one partygoer (a rather boring arc), we slowly lose any sympathy Cristobal may have garnered. But what have Bernal & Co. created? A portrayal of someone who lies to his girlfriend, cheats, fights, is not that smart (daddy couldn't get him into Harvard, his alma mater, while even the servant Adan is off to study in the States) and in the end he's not that interesting. He's part of that vapid worldwide class of idiots tied to their IPods, daddy's checkbook and the luck that the revolution hasn't yet knocked on their doors. Yet.

  Anji Milanovic

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