Cuarón, Alfonso 1961-
CUARÓN, Alfonso 1961-
Born November 28, 1961, in Mexico City, Mexico.; children: one son. Education: Graduated from National Autonomous University of Mexico (filmmaking, philosophy).
Agent—Endeavor Agency, 9701 Wilshire Blvd., 10th Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90212.
Film director, producer, and author of screenplays. Formerly worked as technician for Mexican television industry; assistant director of films, including Romero, 1989; director of films, including (and producer) Sólo con tu pareja (also known as Love in the Time of Hysteria), 1991, Y tu mamá también, 2001, A Little Princess, 1995, Great Expectations, 1998, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 2004; director of television movie Murder Obliquely. Guest director of IFP Los Angeles Film Festival, 2002. Anhelo (production company), owner with Jorge Vergara.
Silver Ariel Award for Best Original Story, 1992, for Sólo con tu pareja; CableAce Award, and Los Angeles Film Critics Association New Generation Award, both 1995, both for A Little Princess; Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival's Jury Award for Best Foreign-Language Film, Havana Film Festival FIPRESCI Award, Sante Fe Film Festival Luminaria Award, and Venice Film Festival Award for Best Screenplay, all 2001, all for Y tu mamá también.
(With brother, Carlos Cuarón) Y tu mamá también, IFC Films, 2001.
(With Terry George) Hart's War, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2001.
(With Carlos Cuarón) Y tu mamá también (with CD ROM), Oceano, 2001.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Screenplay for Tokyo Boogie, with codirectors Pablo Casacuberta and Yukihiko Goto; directing The Children of Men.
Mexican film director Alfonso Cuarón has also coauthored several of the screenplays he has directed, among them the award-winning Y tu mamá también. Born and raised in Mexico City, Cuarón studied both filmmaking and philosophy in college. After graduation, he landed a job as a television technician, which eventually led to a position as assistant director.
Cuarón had great success with his first Hollywood film, an adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic children's novel A Little Princess. While the screenplay slightly altered the original story, critics felt Cuarón retained the story's essence. James M. Wall in Christian Century praised Cuarón for retaining "enough impishness to keep the sweetness in check," and described the film as "a must see for families, especially for those with daughters in the seven-to-ten age bracket." Cuarón's film adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations received more mixed reviews, Entertainment Weekly reviewer Owen Gleiberman describing it as "a fractured folly of extravagant art gestures, a Hollywood-cocktail-party version of literary updating." while Leah Rozen in People found the film "provocative enough that plenty of viewers will be inspired to crack open dusty copies of Expectations to compare and contrast—a worthy achievement in itself for any movie."
Cuarón's Y tu mamá también, which translates as "And Your Mother Too," was coauthored with his brother, Carlos Cuarón. The film sparked a censorship debate when Mexican film censors threatened to stop the film if some sex scenes were not cut. Set in Mexico, the Spanish-language film chronicles the lives of teenage boys Tenoch and Julio, who kiss their girlfriends goodbye as they board a plane for Italy and then plan a summer of reckless fun. At a wedding they meet Luisa, the young wife of Tenoch's obnoxious cousin. The boys invite Luisa on a trip to an imaginary magical beach, and she ultimately agrees, joining Tenoch and Julio on a road trip to paradise. Along the way, Luisa alternates between private sobs and sexual exploits with the two teenagers, who are inexperienced and awkward. Tensions become palpable once the sexual encounters start, and the boys turn against each other, revealing dark and harmful secrets and reevaluating their friendship. When they reach the beach, they let go, drink, and enjoy each other's company until a pivotal moment changes the meaning of their journey. "The key was to keep it honest," explained Cuarón in Cineaste. "We were very careful and we worked very hard to resist the easy joke or the nice cinematic moment or the postcard location…we didn't want to make a teen comedy."
Y tu mamá también was hailed by critics as a success and praised for its realistic perspective. Pat Aufderheide noted in Cineaste that the film "combines broad sexual and grossout humor with savage pokes at the social machinery" and that its "absolute self-confidence" is among its positive qualities. The Cuarón brothers also produced a book to accompany the film that includes the screenplay, information on the film's production, and an introduction by the brothers in which they describe their writing process.
As part of his directing duties, Cuarón was selected to direct the third "Harry Potter" movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, based on the popular book series by J. K. Rowling and scheduled for release in the summer of 2004.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Advocate, April 16, 2002, Jan Stuart, review of Ytu mamá también, p. 65.
Christian Century, July 5, 1995, James M. Wall, review of A Little Princess, p. 667; May 8, 2002, Steve Vineberg, review of Y tu mamá también, p. 37.
Cineaste, winter, 2001, Pat Aufderheide, review of Y Tu Mamá También, pp. 32-34; summer, 2002, A. G. Basoli, "Sexual Awakenings and Stark Social Realities: An Interview with Alfonso Cuarón," pp. 26-30.
Economist, March 16, 2002, "Life Cuts: Mexican Cinema."
Entertainment Weekly, May 26, 1995, Lisa Schwarzbaum, review of A Little Princess, p. 65; January 30, 1998, Owen Gleiberman, review of Great Expectations, pp. 39-41; March 22, 2002, Lisa Schwarzbaum, "Wife on the Road: Three Young People Take a Twisting Journey through Modern Mexico in the Astonishing Y tu mamá también, "p.79.
Film Journal International, November, 2001, Eric Monder, review of Y tu mamá también, p. 89.
Hollywood Reporter, October 23, 2001, Joe Mader, "Road to 'Y tu mamá' Paved with Metaphor: Cuaron Film Follows Two Mexico City Friends on Journey to Adulthood," pp. 19-20.
Maclean's, February 2, 1998, Brian D. Johnson, review of Great Expectations, p. 78.
National Catholic Reporter, July 14, 1995, Joseph Cunneen, review of A Little Princess, p. 14.
People, February 2, 1998, Leah Rozen, review of Great Expectations, p. 19.
School Library Journal, April, 2002, Ed Morales, "And Your Mother as Well," p. 45.
Alfonso Cuarón Web site,http://www.alfonsocuaron.com/ (November 19, 2003).*