In his first feature film, Raul Fuentes dares to explore the psyche of a woman caught in a vicious self-sabotaging cycle that incapacitates her ability to love. EVERYBODY’S GOT SOMEBODY BUT ME details the story of Alejandra, a condescending intellectual with many emotional problems, who lacks the capacity to connect with anyone around her. When Alejandra meets Maria, an evolving and curious private school teen, the two start a passionate love affair that makes their generation gap seem trivial. Before long, the couple realizes their differences when Alejandra obsessively tries control Maria’s activities, interests, and decisions. Alejandra’s oppression becomes worse than a parent’s and Maria must decide whether or not she wants this intense relationship with such an apprehensive person to continue. Shot in black and white, Raul Fuentes’ innovative filmmaking approach and his unconventional narrative unquestionably marks him as a new and exciting voice in contemporary Mexican cinema.
Alejandra è una messicana sofisticata, una editor affermata, una quarantenne intellettuale. E una donna annoiata che sta affogando nell’oceano senza fondo del proprio cinismo. E poi il caso (esiste qualcosa di più casuale di un incontro in un bowling di Città del Messico?) le mette davanti Maria: giovanissima ed incosciente del fascino della sua giovinezza, scuote Alejandra dal torpore del suo disincanto. Inizia il gioco della seduzione e segue l’inevitabile: la passione, il sesso, le incomprensioni, l’intimità, il rapporto tra due donne molto distanti che si misurano l’una con i limiti dell’altra. Al suo primo lungometraggio, il trentacinquenne regista Raúl Fuentes riesce a realizzare una commedia senza privarci del lesbo drama, ad essere pop con un’eleganza infinita, ad insinuarci il dubbio che Nabokov fosse una lesbica messicana un tantino snob, il tutto dando prova di un’evidente cura formale in grado di non intaccare mai la freschezza della narrazione.
Todo mundo tiene a alguien menos yo, prodotto dall’Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografia, deve la sua forza estetica a una meticolosa scelta delle location e alla fotografia di Rodriguez Garcìa, già premiata al Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara, un pastoso bianco e nero, morbido e sinuoso, di una bellezza straziante. (Gender Bender)
Everybody’s Got Somebody… Not Me focuses primarily on Alejandra, instead of casting an equal amount of time between the two that I was expecting. Because of this, the problems behind the couple’s relationship are readily made apparent instead of being presented in a more ambiguous manner. Because of this, Alejandra’s cast into the protagonist role, yet by the end of the film, you wonder whether or not she’s actually the “good guy.”
About halfway through, the film shifts from a linear narrative into this confusing process where I wasn’t sure the events were current or took place in the past. Perhaps it was a mix of both? It’s during this shift that Alejandra becomes full center and you discover her quirks and personality. Like I said before, the film’s focused on her, but it would have been nice to see more of Maria’s intentions. I’m not complaining about the decision, as Alejandra’s a more interesting character anyways, but it would have helped balance the film better.
The film is shot in black and white, which aids the overall theme of casting Alejandra and Maria as total opposites. In a predictable decision, this is made obvious in their physical differences with Alejandra sticking to dark colors and Maria wearing brights. In fact, the cinematography’s a strong point of the film. I’m a sucker for black and white just as much as I’m a fan of wide angle shots, and Everybody’s Got Somebody… Not Me is full of both. Portal is able to balance her character’s pretentiousness with vulnerability, two character traits that are both at adds and symbiotic with one another. (flixist.com)
“We never love someone. We just love the idea we have of someone.” Those words from poet Fernando Pessoa are surely ones that Alejandra (Andrea Portal) is familiar with, though she might be loath to admit their truth. Everybody’s Got Somebody…Not Me, the debut feature from Mexican writer-director Raúl Fuentes, follows Alejandra’s turbulent affair with high schooler María (Naian Daeva), whose schoolgirl-in-sunglasses vibe hints at the shades of Lolita undergirding the story. For her part, Alejandra is in that vein of Nabokovian intellectual, a highly cultured literary editor and an aesthete who contemplates María as one would a roughly hewn art object: full of life and energy, but waiting to be refined. Their relationship is defined by its contrasts: Alejandra busts out her portable CD player in a Wendy’s to listen to the Cure and still uses a paper address book when she has a perfectly workable cell phone. María is, of course, a teenager.
The film gingerly navigates its display of sexuality. One of the earliest moments is of the pair groping and pawing at each other in the front seat of a car, the camera lingering and voyeuristic. But once it’s past that overture, the film plays with subtler evocations of the erotic. There’s an electric scene with the two of them putting on makeup, their looks to each other captured by intense alternating close-ups, their discussion of color playing counterpoint to the gorgeous black-and-white cinematography. That aesthetic choice gives greater weight to the film’s precise, rectilinear compositions, its arrangement of shapes and lines and forms, and it also aligns us closer to Alejandra’s perception. Wouldn’t this be the way that she sees the world?
It’s important that the sensuality of those scenes is also framed by Alejandra’s didacticism. She’s teaching María how to put on makeup—giving what she believes to be life lessons. The film never gets so freewheeling as to abandon awareness of the uneasy, imbalanced nature of Alejandra and María’s relationship. “You talk like you’re my mom and you’re not,” María intones at one point, though Alejandra’s persona is less maternal and more professorial. She’s an endless font of critical judgments, references, and quotations that invade the film through intertitles, and a scene in which the lovers meet cute via definitional dithering over the meaning of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave would make a film theorist swoon. That whole framework is accompanied by a soundtrack with a precision to match the visuals, dense with songs that seem curated to bolster Alejandra’s—and the film’s—intellectual-cultural cachet… (Oscar Moralde, slantmagazine.com)