My Mexican Bretzel – Why We Should Not Trust Our Eyes

REVIEW
by Anastasiia Preizner
08.10.2020
Imagine the simple life of a married couple where the husband got into an accident and because of hearing problems can no longer fly in the plane and the wife found out that she could not have children. After a while they build a business selling medicines, both take lovers and stop understanding each other. Such an uncomplicated plot, isn't it? But the idea is not as simple as it seems to be at first sight.
At the beginning of My Mexican Bretzel (2019) we learn that the film is based on real old videos taken by Leon Barette while traveling with his wife, Vivian. Black-and-white frames are constantly replaced by color ones and the audience has no doubt that this recording was made more than sixty years ago. The video is periodically supplemented with subtitles based on the notes that were taken from Vivian's personal diary which she had kept for several years.
But the strangest thing about this movie is that it has almost no sound. Only for a few seconds does the audience hear the noise of a flying plane, a humming train or cracking ice. But nothing more. Perceiving information without any sound is a difficult experience for the audience which is not used to silence. The reaction to this every time depends on who is watching it. Some of the viewers start laughing to fill the silence, while others sit thoughtfully being afraid to move. This technique is used to show not only the huge difference between Leon and Vivian`s outlooks on life but the difference between what human beings perceive as reality and what reality actually is.
Leon is hard of hearing and passionately likes shooting everything on camera, but Vivian is already sick of it and prefers writing. In the video they both smile and pretend that they are happy together, but, according to Vivian's diary, the couple has not been able to find a common language for a long time. The main character's personal thoughts remain only on paper, not voiced by any actor, because they are somewhere deep inside her. They kill Vivian while the woman is wearing a mask pretending to be cheerful. The only thing that helps the heroine cope with the problems is an old book by some Indian philosopher who Vivian quotes in her diary all the time.
At the very end of the film there are subtitles that say that Vivian and Leon have already died and the Indian writer, who may never have existed, was only a plagiarist. This fact, which seems insignificant at first glance, tells us that everything in this film was a lie. If the thoughts of the philosopher that were repeated for an hour and a half during the whole movie were plagiarism, then the characters themselves cannot be real. But viewers naively trusted the old footage and thought that the story of Leon and Vivian really happened. Director Nuria Jimenez, who took old videos of her grandfather, came up with a story for them and wrote subtitles, twice showed how everything that we used to consider to be reality can be deceptive. At first – the behavior of a "happy" married couple, and then – non-existence of this very couple.
So, the question is if we all do the same - trying to pretend and doing something just for the show. But what is the reality then? As a nonexistent Indian philosopher said, "Lie is the best way to show the truth".
 
Waiting For The Barbarians – Anxiety, Cruelty, and Injustice

REVIEW
by Anastasiia Preizner
08.10.2020
Imagine the simple life of a married couple where the husband got into an accident and because of hearing problems can no longer fly in the plane and the wife found out that she could not have children. After a while they build a business selling medicines, both take lovers and stop understanding each other. Such an uncomplicated plot, isn't it? But the idea is not as simple as it seems to be at first sight.
At the beginning of My Mexican Bretzel (2019) we learn that the film is based on real old videos taken by Leon Barette while traveling with his wife, Vivian. Black-and-white frames are constantly replaced by color ones and the audience has no doubt that this recording was made more than sixty years ago. The video is periodically supplemented with subtitles based on the notes that were taken from Vivian's personal diary which she had kept for several years.

But the strangest thing about this movie is that it has almost no sound. Only for a few seconds does the audience hear the noise of a flying plane, a humming train or cracking ice. But nothing more. Perceiving information without any sound is a difficult experience for the audience which is not used to silence. The reaction to this every time depends on who is watching it. Some of the viewers start laughing to fill the silence, while others sit thoughtfully being afraid to move. This technique is used to show not only the huge difference between Leon and Vivian`s outlooks on life but the difference between what human beings perceive as reality and what reality actually is.
Leon is hard of hearing and passionately likes shooting everything on camera, but Vivian is already sick of it and prefers writing. In the video they both smile and pretend that they are happy together, but, according to Vivian's diary, the couple has not been able to find a common language for a long time. The main character's personal thoughts remain only on paper, not voiced by any actor, because they are somewhere deep inside her. They kill Vivian while the woman is wearing a mask pretending to be cheerful. The only thing that helps the heroine cope with the problems is an old book by some Indian philosopher who Vivian quotes in her diary all the time.
At the very end of the film there are subtitles that say that Vivian and Leon have already died and the Indian writer, who may never have existed, was only a plagiarist. This fact, which seems insignificant at first glance, tells us that everything in this film was a lie. If the thoughts of the philosopher that were repeated for an hour and a half during the whole movie were plagiarism, then the characters themselves cannot be real. But viewers naively trusted the old footage and thought that the story of Leon and Vivian really happened. Director Nuria Jimenez, who took old videos of her grandfather, came up with a story for them and wrote subtitles, twice showed how everything that we used to consider to be reality can be deceptive. At first – the behavior of a "happy" married couple, and then – non-existence of this very couple.
So, the question is if we all do the same - trying to pretend and doing something just for the show. But what is the reality then? As a nonexistent Indian philosopher said, "Lie is the best way to show the truth".
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