MPI is opening Mathieu Demy‘s Americano in New York on 6.15. That tells you it’s something modest, but Peter Debruge‘s Variety review plus the cast (Demy, Salma Hayek, Geraldine Chaplin, Chiara Mastroianni, Carlos Bardem) makes me want to catch it at least, and it pains me not to have that shot until I return to the States later this month.
“To look at French actor Mathieu Demy is to see a synthesis of his parents, directors Agnes Varda and Jacques Demy,” Debruge wrote. “The same could be said of his directorial debut, Americano, which blends his mother’s unpretentious almost-verite style with a certain forlorn romanticism likely inherited from his father.
“Working on both sides of the camera, Demy plays a Parisian real estate agent who returns to Los Angeles after his mom’s death to sort out her affairs. Among the loose ends are, eventually, a Mexican stripper played by Salma Hayek, whose sultry presence is the pic’s best shot at American distribution.
“With the exception of the incredibly sexy striptease that introduces Hayek’s character rather late in the story, Americano avoids the kind of sensationalism that would make it an obvious fest or arthouse item. Shot on grainy Super 16 in neighborhoods that haven’t changed in decades, Demy’s film echoes an earlier era, like a bottle sent out to sea in the ’70s that’s only just now washing ashore.
“Though Demy’s approach breaks no new ground, directorially speaking, Martin’s personal journey finds a fresh angle on a universal piece of wisdom. Every mother’s son believes he’s the star of his own life; “Americano” captures that humbling moment where one realizes perhaps he has only been a bit player in his parents’ story, not the star, as initially believed.”