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Morelia Film Festival: Too Many Mexican Movies Day, plus John Sayles' 'Go For Sisters'

Thompson on Hollywood By Meredith Brody | Thompson on Hollywood October 23, 2013 at 2:16PM

"Go For Sisters," the new movie from John Sayles, boasts a cast that includes Edward James Olmos, who's here in Morelia and popular with the crowd, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Yolonda Ross, Harold Perrineau, Isaiah Washington, and Hector Elizondo. Hamilton is a parole officer who gets her old friend and new client Ross to accompany her and disgraced police officer Olmos down into dangerous Mexico to rescue Hamilton's son from Mexican drug lords who are holding him for ransom. It feels like an oddly commercial story from Sayles, whose movies usually are message pictures: I could see Olmos' character, world-weary Freddy Suarez, becoming the star of his own TV series.
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But I'm lucky to snag a seat in "La vida despues," being shown in Cinepolis' largest theater, reserved for the new Mexican movies and big foreign films of the festival.  It's a poignant story of the road trip that the teenaged sons of a loving but depressive mother undertake to find her after she disappears from their house. It's extremely well-acted, even by the young incarnations of the two boys.  Afterwards all five of the main actors appear for a q-and-a with Pablos; the youngest of the boys amuses himself by making shadow puppets while his elders converse.

I stay in the same big room for "Go For Sisters," the new movie from John Sayles, with a cast that includes Edward James Olmos, who's here and popular with the crowd, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Yolonda Ross, Harold Perrineau, Isaiah Washington, and Hector Elizondo.  Hamilton is a parole officer who gets her old friend and new client Ross to accompany her and disgraced police officer Olmos down into dangerous Mexico to rescue Hamilton's son from Mexican drug lords who are holding him for ransom. It feels like an oddly commercial story from Sayles, whose movies usually are message pictures: I could see Olmos' character, world-weary Freddy Suarez, becoming the star of his own TV series. I'm very taken with the strong and beautiful Yolonda Ross, who has 36 credits on imdb.com, but with whom I'm unfamiliar. "Go For Sisters" has two endings: the denouement is abrupt and unconvincing, followed by a low-key reunion of the two women. 

It's after ten, and I've had a long day: three short documentaries and five full movies, plus half-an-hour of a sixth.  But the memory of the music from the nightclub just above my room, and the sounds wafting up from the outdoor screening on the plaza right across the street, keep me in the Cinepolis.  I stick around for "For Those in Peril," a first feature from Paul Wright, part of the program from Cannes' Semaine de la Critique, which has brought seven films to Morelia. Charles Tesson, the Semaine's General Delegate, introduces it as an interesting combination of realism and fable.  Aaron (well-played by George McKay) suffers a nervous breakdown after being the soul survivor of a fishing accident that claimed the lives of all the five other occupants of the boat, including his older brother. I vacillate while watching between admiration and discomfort, but it's certainly a movie I never saw before. I'm happy I stuck around, especially when I return to a blessedly quiet room.  

This article is related to: Festivals, John Sayles, John Sayles


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