THIS IS NOT BERLIN
(Esto no es Berlín, Hari Sama, 2019, Mexico, 112 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
The year is 1986, and World Cup fever has hit Mexico. Carlos (Xabiani Ponce de León) and Gera (José Antonio Toledano) are two best friends from middle-class families who are starting to feel out of place in their sheltered, entitled milieu. But then they discover a liberating, mysterious world of art, drugs, and sex amid the underground clubs of Mexico City.
Hari Sama's electrifying coming-of-age tale doesn't take the traditional route for this type of story. Rather, the film eventually comes to embody the anarchic, hedonistic spirit of experimental post-punk excess—transforming into a kaleidoscopic portrait of avant-garde art, direct-action protest, queer awakening, and the dizzying, dangerous freedom of a world seemingly without rules. It's the age of AIDS, and right-wing conformism, but the film is neither cautionary tale nor nostalgia trip. Anchored by marvelous performances from its young cast, and Sama's assured, inventive sense of style, it's a picture suffused in both historical perspective and a forward-looking sense of the possible.
Tribeca Film Festival
Sunday, April 28, 6:45pm at Village East Cinema 4
Monday, April 29, 9:15pm at Regal Cinemas Battery Park
Thursday, May 2, 9:45pm at Village East Cinema 4