Written & Directed by Michel Franco
Produced by Daniel Birman Ripstein
Released by Strand Releasing
Spanish with English subtitles. Mexico. 90 min. Not Rated
With Darío Yazbek Bernal, Marimar Vega, José María Torre, Luis Miguel Lombana & Montserrat Ontiveros
[Article originally appeared: http://film-forward.com/danielana.html]
After seeing “Daniel & Ana”, a first feature by Mexican director Michel Franco, one ponders why he made the film in the first place. As explained in the opening disclaimer, it’s based on true events—no facts have been changed except the names of the victims—of the kidnapping of a brother and sister and the appalling act that took place during their ordeal and its aftermath. The abduction, in broad daylight on the streets of Mexico City, is anything but startling. The action is swift, and the two siblings—Ana (Marimar Vega), who’s somewhat older then Daniel (Darío Yazbek Bernal), a high school senior—barely seem to register the danger they are in. Blindfolded and taken to a nearly-vacant house, their kidnappers do not brutalize them. In fact, other than some strong threatening language, they barely interact directly with their victims. Within hours the two are liberated, but the damage has been done.
This is not a ransom story. In fact, the siblings never utter a word to their parents. Nor does Ana mention the kidnapping to her fiancé, Rafa (José María Torre), a sensitive young man who is only too willing to refuse a promotion that would take him to Spain and her away from her family. His devotion to Ana is obvious. For great patches of this otherwise economical film, the brother and sister lay in their beds, depressed, and withdrawn. Their parents, a wealthy couple who think nothing of buying a sports car for their graduating son, clearly choose not to see that something profound has happened to both of their offspring. Even when Ana calls off her wedding, they treat the situation as though she has cold feet. As for Daniel, he starts skipping classes, prompting them to threaten to take his car privileges away. Read more