Movie : Gratification
Director : Andrés Hernández Covarrubias
“One of the main reasons that we lose our enthusiasm in life is because we become ungrateful..we let what was once a miracle become common to us. We get so accustomed to his goodness it becomes a routine..” ~Joel Osteen
The title is specially significant in the movie for two specific reasons. The first indicates a sense of fullness and satisfaction, the second being more of a question, an indication of absence and the urgency to gratify someone close, someone special who appears to be slipping away. A seemingly tired Alfonso Alvarez appears to have very little time to look at his book of stamps as he is excessively occupied with work in his office. Later he receives a phone call from the school of his son reminding him that he must pick his son up from school. It is evident by the grimace on his son’s face that he has been late before yet for some reason the son believes his father when he promises his son that he wouldn’t be late again (something he appears to have promised his son countless times before). Matias (Alfonso’s son ) lives with his mother Diana. It is evident that Alfonso and Diana have parted ways. Matias wants his father to visit them for his birthday. Alfonso plans to buy the latest model of Commando for his son. The movie proceeds from this point. Quite evidently Alfonso appears to be losing proximity with his son and his passion for collecting stamps because of work. He desperately wants to stop this from happening. The external, rancid responsibilities are bogging him down. When he sees an advertisement of the latest toy in town, he wishes to be the person who would surprise his son with it as it appears special. There is almost a desperate urge to be special and authentic. His wish shatters because of a couple of occurrences. He overcomes the first hindrance. However, it becomes impossible for him to avoid the second. He experiences an epiphany that is almost Joycean. His desire to be authentic suffers a fatal blow In fact the movie reminds us of a short story by James Joyce titled ‘Araby’. Certain segments in the movie would also remind one of ‘Bicycle Thieves’.
Towards the end of the movie, it is the stamp book that brings Alfonso and Matias together.
The little stamp book (his passion) ties Alfonso’s son (someone he wants to hold onto dearly) and him together. Something which is inexpensive yet authentic. The message the director wants to convey gyrates around finding hope around hackneyed existence.
The protagonist appears to be troubled by the lethargy of life, the necessity of being regular has pinned him to the floor. Alfonso is incapable of competing against time like most of us. Yet towards the end, he rediscovers the fire that was burning within him for one last time, this time perhaps he also finds the comforting reassurance of his son being there for him. The director must given credit for making an impeccable movie with crisp dialogues and the most realistic portrayal of life. The performance of Jorge Lan as Alfonso Alvarez deserves a special mention.
The Cinematography also appears on point with refrained brightness and restrained use of bright colours acting as an indicator of the preponderance of tedium in one’s life adding to the infinite misery already present in a person’s life.