watching movies and keeping my head down

I usually take a little downtime between books. I'm working, but not at the frantic pace that carries me through the first and second drafts.

I've been watching movies. So far, I've seen Y Tu Mamá También, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, and Amores perros (Love's a Bitch). Amores perros was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, the Mexican director who also made Biutiful, a movie that I simply gushed over for about a month after I saw it. No. I take that back. I'm still gushing over that movie.

One thing I love about Spanish and Mexican films is how the nuanced stories unfold. None of these movies are designed for American attention spans. These films aren't about technique--flash, glamor, and sparkle--they're about solid storytelling. Not a detail is wasted. Ever. Remember that if you decide to watch these films.

Y Tu Mamá También starts out like a teenage road flick. The beginning is campy and fun, but as the story progresses, it takes a wicked turn or two.

Things to watch for: The signs of death that the characters pass along the road.

My favorite part: When Luisa takes control of the young men and dictates her manifesto.

Don't watch it if: You're offended by sex and sexuality.

Amores perros is an exceedingly dark film. Iñárritu is an ambitious storyteller. He takes his time and each scene builds on the next to tell the tale of three sets of people, whose lives are linked by a car accident. Iñárritu handles the multiple stories beautifully. He knows how to reach into the guts of a tale and wring every last bit of emotion from it.

Things to watch for: The dogs. The dogs mirror the events that happen around the human characters.

My favorite part: Octavio at the bus station. Gael García Bernal's portrayal of Octavio was one of the finest cinematic performances that I've seen in a long time.

Don't watch it if: You're offended by dog fights and violence.

And that's what I've been up to. I'm also working on a couple of blog posts and double-checking character arcs in The Garden. Like I said, I'm working, just no longer at a breakneck speed.