The Homely Affection of The Blue Years

in 32nd Guadalajara Film Festival

by Pablo Staricco Cadenazzi

The debut of Mexican director Sofía Gómez Córdova augurs a remarkable career ahead.

With her debut feature, The Blue Years (Los años azules, 2016), Mexican director Sofía Gómez Córdova stood out amongst a diverse array of filmmakers in the 32nd edition of the Guadalajara International Film Festival, thanks to an intimate and realistic portrait of a heterogeneous group of young people from Mexico’s lower-middle class.

The film was written by Gómez Córdova with Luis Briones. With a house located in the center of Guadalajara as its only location, The Blue Years chronicles the transformation that occurs in the relationships of five young tenants living in the same home following the arrival of a new person to their lives.

Faced with the challenge of constructing a kaleidoscopic story in which each of the tenants must have the time necessary to assemble their own stories, and then of integrating these individual stories into a larger story, Gomez Cordova steps out victorious.

The film is small but exudes ambition in the realms of cinematography and acting both. The main cast, composed of Luis Velázquez, Paloma Domínguez, Juan Carlos Huguenin, Natalia Gómez, Ilse Orozco Aristeo Mora and Alex Rodriguez, is of an enviable nature while conveying the changing dynamics between characters.

Among the most meritorious aspects of the film is its universality. Despite being located in Mexico and spoken in Spanish, the situation is easily translatable to any other country in Latin America or Europe, regions where the protagonists’ mode of youthful coexistence is more common than is believed.

Dealing with professional, academic and fraternal frustrations, each of the tenants in The Blue Years (a title referring to the melancholy that suffuses the passage from adolescence to adulthood) tries to thrive at their own pace and rhythm, which often create conflicts between them.

The house itself can be regarded as protagonist in The Blue Years. It not only provides the scenario where the action will happen; it also functions as a simple physical and spatial analogy of the protagonists’ sentiments. The house is in a state at once destroyed and enticing that could be seen to represent each of its young inhabitants, living as they do without much personal or professional direction.

With its cinematography occasionally taking on a dreamlike quality, perhaps the film’s biggest mistake are its scenes featuring a cat, the protagonist of the film’s graphic campaign and a kind of MacGuffin that really never serves a meaningful purpose.

Above all, The Blue Years is an auspicious debut for its director and team, and one that should not be overlooked. Gómez Cordova has demonstrated a prolific talent, giving the Guadalajara Film Festival audience one of the most memorable films in this year’s edition.

Edited by José Teodoro