Y Tu Mama Tambien 2: Prisoner of Azkaban

Jun 09, 2009

Posted by: abandonedboyjon | Comments

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When Brokeback Mountain first graced the big screen, I read a review of the movie that described the initial attraction between Ennis and Jack as inevitable. Two young attractive men, alone for the season on a secluded mountain? Yeah, I’d believe it inevitable. So what about two young teen wizards holed up in boarding school for six years? Well, I can see that too. And, apparently, so can a lot of other people. It’s Frodo and Sam all over again. The duo was even the topic of a spoof video on The Soup in 2005.

Initially, I myself scoffed at this pairing for its non-canon-ness. The Harry/Hermione thing I can give leeway to. I admit there are questionable moments. But as far as I can remember, unlike Hermione, Ron never ran his fingers through Harry’s hair or held his hand, like, ever, but the fact of the matter is, any well-told story involving teenagers will feature a certain amount of inevitability in terms of sexuality. Someone who understood this is Prisoner of Azkaban director, Alfonso Cuarón. J.K. Rowling said herself, it was apparent from Y Tu Mama Tambien, that Cuarón was the perfect choice for PoA because he understands the mentality of teenaged boys so well and she was right, as there is definitely a similarity in tone between the two films. Cuarón, realizing the kids were now 13, amped up the tension between Ron and Hermione and began the film with a thinly-veiled masturbation reference (as Harry practices in the middle of the night with his “wand.”) Cuarón certainly depicts the discovery of their sexuality as a confusing, misdirected thunderstorm of a time.

Misdirection. That’s what I took away from Y Tu Mama. In case you are unfamiliar, this is the story of two teenage boys who go on a road trip with a terminally-ill woman about 15 years their senior. With their girlfriends away on a trip, Julio and Tenoch become sexually frustrated fast; they even have a very casual poolside mutual masturbation session. Then they meet Luisa. She’s beautiful, having trouble with her boyfriend, and looking for adventure. The boys immediately fight for her attention and eventually they are individually successful in their attempts to have sex with her. The film beautifully builds a slow and steady tension between the boys as they become confused by the power of their desires and the feeling of claim over Luisa that those desires create. Frustrated by their immaturity over the matter, Luisa calls the boys out, saying that they are only fighting because of their attraction to each other. However, before long, Luisa devises a solution to the problem when she decides she wants both of them at the same time. As things get heated in the bedroom, Luisa encourages the boys to kiss each other, which they do, and we fade to black.

Strictly speaking, this is not a storyline that can be lifted straight from the pages of the third Harry Potter book, but in every two-boys-and-a-girl story, this tension exists, from tale of the King Arthur to Monster House. In the Prisoner of Azkaban film, as the trio looks on at Buckbeak’s supposed execution, Hermione reaches for Ron and then Harry reaches for the two of them, still embracing. This suggests to me some misdirected feelings of Harry’s about lonliness and alienation within this close-knit group. It’s even an emotion Harry comments on in the books. In Half-Blood Prince, he wonders what would happen if Ron and Hermione got together and then split up and whether that would ruin the friendship between all of them. Later, in Deathly Hallows, Harry wakes in Grimmauld Place to find that Ron and Hermione are sleeping with their hands just inches apart. He wonders if they fell asleep holding hands and remarks that the thought makes him lonely. Similarly, in Y Tu Mama, I was left with the feeling that the fear of the morning after, and the loneliness they believe would surely follow, was very tangible, a suspicion confirmed when the two can barely meet each others’ eyes after the fact. It’s an interesting emotion Cuarón presents in both these works and certainly works within the framework of the Harry Potter series as a whole. Harry’s battle with loneliness is something I’ve seen as a real motif in the books. He begins the series essentially alone, but for the three following years he makes friends easily and discovers a surrogate parent in Sirius. That is a connection he clings to throughout the fourth and fifth books until finally he loses his godfather. Then of course he loses Dumbledore, is forced to leave Ginny, and ends up spending the next several months with Ron and Hermione, alone in a tent in the middle of nowhere. And when Ron leaves them, and Harry and Hermione only have each other, that is when Harry bothers to comment about things like Hermione touching his hair. JKR has described these little moments between them as charged and has also admitted that because of Ron’s departure and what happened at Godric’s Hollow, that it “could have gone that way.” There are moments when these possibilities hang so perceptibly in the air that it’s enough that you can say, given the right situation, change a few circumstances and these pairings, and that goes for every permutation of the trio, could become more than possible. They could become inevitable.

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