Alamar: Father and Son Consider the Cycles of Life

Divorce sucks, especially when there are kids involved. Yet Pedro González-Rubio takes a lyrical view of a father and son's final trip together in Mexico's breathtaking Banco Chinchorro nature preserve. The boy, about 5, is soon to depart to Rome with his mother. This is father Jorge's last chance to show Natan his own origins in a coastal fishing community intimately bound to reef and sea. Jorge's father lives on a stilted shack in a lagoon; from there, the three set out daily to spear fish and catch lobsters to sell, and hunt their evening meal. No TV, no cell phones, and for entertainment they hand-feed a baby egret that stilt-walks into their home. It's a kind of Flipper/Sea Hunt boy's paradise, where no one wears shoes or worries about tracking sand in the house. (Father and son are played by a real father and son, which gives their bond a natural, tactile intimacy.) Alamar is a gorgeous film, more documentary than narrative, as we watch the underwater diving, fish-gutting, and boat-scrubbing. The movie has little need for dialogue; simple images, like the father and son's feet touching on a log, communicate all that needs to be said. A postscript informs us that Banco Chinchorro, located just north of Belize on the Yucatán Peninsula, may be declared a World Heritage Site. It's a proposal that Alamar eloquently supports.

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