DANIEL & ANA, the Cannes' Directors Fortnight selection now making its theatrical debut. Written and directed by Michel Franco (shown below: a Mexican movie-maker whose first full-length film this is) this short work (only 90 minutes including rather lengthy end credits) is disturbing, all right. How could it not be, given the central event, which is, we are told, based on a true story in which only the names have been changed?
TrustMovies apologizes for giving away more of the plot than he usually profers. All of the above, in any case, is on view within the first 20 minutes. And while the signal event of the film is certainly vital, how the characters react to it -- and why -- is key to our coming to terms with the movie. It's here that Franco stumbles rather severely.
Marimar Vega (shown above, with Chema Torre, who plays her soon-to-be husband) exhibits poise and the necessary maturity to handle not only the event itself, but its terrible follow-up, while Darío Yazbek Bernal (shown below, who is Gabriel Garcia's half-brother), bearing more than a passing resemblance to a younger James Franco, is a basket case of depession and fear as the younger participant who cannot get out from under his guilt. (Does he realize that what happened might be, on some level, exactly what he wanted?)
Strand Releasing, opens Friday, August 27, at New York City's Quad Cinema.