(In theaters, July 2002) The real tragedy of American cinema is how emotionally stunted it usually is, refusing to confront any real problem in favor of overblown drama or inconsequential issues. This is usually most visible with movies aimed at teen audiences, most of whom rely on sexual snickering and unrealistic ideals. This is the Mexican film that bitch-slaps American movies where they belong, a raw -almost painful- look at teenage confusion and the choices we make as we grow up. The technique of the film looks amateurish at first, with a series of unpolished long takes in naturalistic settings. But don’t be fooled; the cinematography and -more specifically- the shot composition is too careful for this to be an accident. The proof that the filmmakers know what they’re doing is evident in the first two sequences, long uninterrupted shots of rutting teenagers that immediately serve to show you that no, this isn’t going to be pleasant or easy. In any case, kudos to the actors, who all exhibit impressive confidence during some very difficult takes. The film alternates moments of hilarity with intense drama and the result is certainly not for every audience, but damn if it doesn’t feel honest and adult compared to the immature technical polish of the usual R-rated American teen movie. Do make an effort and seek out this film. You probably won’t find it at the local Blockbuster (it’s unrated, but if it would be it would certainly be an X), but keep digging. It’s unlike anything you’ve seen before.