Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mecanica Nacional

Wow. This movie really gives me mixed feelings. On the one hand I don’t like how it’s very chaotic and incoherent at some parts, on the other it might just be reflecting what Mexico City was really like at that time. It is chaotic since there were so many people and cars involved. The background noises sometimes made it difficult to hear what the main characters were saying.

First of all, I was rather bothered by the scene of traffic congestion at the beginning of the movie where everyone shouted at each other. The atmosphere was hostile and unpleasant; made me wonder why they would want to have this kind of “fiesta” often, as part of their life. Secondly, some of the scenes didn’t quite make sense to me; for example, the scene with a couple wearing white who ate from morning to night and from night to morning. I didn’t understand why it was there nor how to make logic sense out of it. I mean, how could that pot of paella lasted so long? Haha. Lastly, there was a scene with the wife running down a hill. When she began to run, the sky was dark, however when she got to the bottom of the hill, it was bright again.

However, despite the little pieces here and there, I thought the whole film gave a strong impression on the Mexican cultural of how the people were very tight and close to each other. They were also very open about the events/incidents that happened in their own families. I was somewhat shocked to find people discussing the death of the grandmother so casually like that. For me, it would have been a lot more private and personal. I think it is interesting that the personal space needed in Canadian culture and Mexican culture is so drastically different.

Moreover, the film reflected machismo vividly and realistically. When I was in Spain, the problem with machismo was also frequently discussed and debated. The film demonstrated how the society accepted such machismo and violence towards women.
I like the realistic takes on Mexican society and its values.


  1. I felt the same way about the congestion scene in the beginning. Everyone seemed excited about the race and the party, why the hostility?

    I hadn't realized it explicitly while watching the movie, but you bring up a good point when you say that the people are very open to the evens within their families. It's contrary to what I'm used to, and shows a strong community (nationalism??)

  2. I felt that the purpose of the noise and the traffic was to make us uncomfortable. I think that the director wanted to show how easily a public event could become chaotic in city without proper logistics and infrastructure.

    I think that Eusebio was not ashamed of showing the flaws of his family to the public and therefore he was openly discussing his daughters and wife's behavior in from of everybody. I think that the lack of private space is an aspect about Mexican and Latin-American culture.

  3. This difference that you mention of Mexican and Canadian beliefs on rivate space are very real. While North American people, for whatever reason, are particular to keep their physical and emotional space pure, Latin people are mostly only concrened for their private space.
    I think that if you think abotu the scene of the traffic, and the anger and frustration that you say was so evident, and juxtapose it to the scene in which they talk about the passing of the grandmother, you would see what I mean.
    I think that it is interesting to note how this openess in talking abotu the grandmother and closure in the traffic jam are both born out of the emergence of the city and the intermixing of each neighbourhood's and person's space. In seeing the specific reactions by the characters of the movie to different moments in essentially an invasion of their private space, one sees their differences of cultures and beliefs. And so, in using this method of spatiality, the filmmaker is able to depict Mexican culture and identity as separate from other urban or Latin American settings.

  4. I agree with what you pointed out about people needing more space in response to the death of a loved one, or even just in general in Canada and the US. Mexican culture, at least in my experiences, I've found tends to be more warm, more vibrant, more affectionate, with a completely different sense of family and community. Canada's culture is more polite on the surface than the US, whereas Americans warm up to one another quite quickly once boundaries have been somewhat established.

  5. I don't think anyone can generalize about Americans and Canadians. I have met Canadians that hug you and kiss you in the cheek the first time you meet them while others that are very reserved about their space, the same as Americans. Of course, in general, latin people are more open and don't care as much about boundaries, but that is not better or worse. In the film the Americans are seen are pseudo hippies or something of the sort, and not really a part of the culture, they never incorporate themselves, even with the Mexican hippies. This is interesting because it tells us that ethnic boundaries are always respected.