Ed Koch Movie Reviews: “Daniel and Ana” BY Edward I. Koch

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EDKOCHMOVIEREVIEWS_Daniel and Ana Koch_EdwardIrving-standing Movie Review:

“Daniel and Ana” (+)August 30, 2010         

The film’s script could have been taken from the notes of Havelock Ellis, a psychiatrist whose books dealt with sexual episodes experienced by his patients.  When I was in high school so many years ago in Newark, New Jersey, his books were read by students looking for a sexual thrill.  They were often read in the school library rather than being checked out.  God forbid your teacher should find you reading one of them, or worse, your mother should find one of his books under your bed.  Also, French postcards were regularly exchanged by the male students.           

This story, which takes place in Mexico City, involves a very upper-class family with two teenaged children:  Daniel (Dario Yazbek Bernal) who is 16 years old and Ana (Marimar Vega) a year or two older than her brother.  The siblings are very close and Daniel worries that Ana, who is engaged, will move to Spain after she marries because her fiancé has been offered a job there.  

Daniel and Ana are kidnapped during a drive and taken blindfolded to a house.  One thought they will be held for ransom, but instead they are forced to have sex with one another before a camera.  The kidnappers want to make and sell a porno film, starring the siblings.  It’s hard to believe that Mexico doesn’t’ have a thriving professional porno industry available.            

The story is based on true incident in Mexico City.  The event, of which only the two are aware, creates a horrific trauma that obsesses the teenagers long after they are released.  What is unbelievable is that neither reports the crime to their parents or to the police.  They simply suffer the trauma which begins to destroy their lives.            

The movie, directed by Michel Franco, has a totally clinical approach.  There is nothing salacious about it.  The sexual scenes are never used to stir prurient interests.            

On reading Jeannette Catsoulis’ review of this film in the Times, I thought it would be sold out on opening night.  Instead, there were about a dozen people in the Quad Theater on 13th Street, six of whom were speaking Spanish.  I assume they went to see it especially because it was in their language.  The mystery is how the public knew this picture was not going to be a sleeper, an unpublicized film that turns out to be worth seeing.  The theater itself was clean and attractive.          

 Henry Stern said:  “The movie was not without merit, showing how really rich Mexicans live.  The plot is bizarre; why kidnap people when there are so many porn actors and fluffers looking for work. The problem with incest in films is that it looks just like ordinary sex, the incest is all in your mind.  The silliest part was Daniel trying to cover his genitals.  Why should he bother.  There is no reason given for the siblings’ totally different reaction to the forced sex.  So the picture did not make sense.  The long-haired brother looked and sulked like a matinee idol; the sister looked ordinary but was much more sensible, as women often are.”

Visit the Mayor at the Movies website to view and read Mr Koch's archive chock full of reviewsLet me know your thoughts at eikoch@bryancave.com.

The Honorable Edward Irving Koch served New York City as its 105th Mayor from 1978  to  1989.

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eHeziEd Koch Movie Reviews: “Daniel and Ana” BY Edward I. Koch

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