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Review: Vaho (2009)

Directed by: | 116 minutes | | Actors: , , Estuardo, , , , , , , , , , , , Humberto Yááñez Zagada

Vaho means fog in Spanish and so is the ‘Vaho’: all fog. Not literally, of course, but as a viewer it is still difficult to understand at the end of the film what debuting director Alejandro Gerber Bicecci wanted to say. Five people are introduced: Emilia, Efrén, José, Felipe and Andrés. A small corner of the veil of their life is lifted by portraying their daily life. After more than an hour, the story suddenly goes back eight years in time and – compared to the slow pace of before – it quickly explains what happened. And after another half hour we come back into the future time and Felipe gives a kind of confession of guilt, which is then completely ignored. And that was it.

For one person, it is understandable how that event affected his current life: Andrés’s father, who became an alcoholic. Furthermore, any logic is lacking. Felipe admits guilt but is still a vicious little man who likes to manipulate. José used to be a difficult boy and still is at eighteen. And Andrés was and still is too sweet a boy full of dreams who sacrifices himself full of good intentions for others.

For Mexico lovers, ‘Vaho’ is still fun to watch. Just think of how the dead are commemorated with candles and pictures. Typically, a dead woman in the desert is declared “canonized” and could perform miracles to entice people to sacrifice. Or how men carry their burden in the form of a heavy cross over their shoulder in the annual Christ procession. And don’t forget the traditional culture in the form of dances and costumes, and a shaman who purifies people. The more poignant side of Mexico is also not left out: there is a serious shortage of water and when the water truck arrives there is literally fighting. And of course the whores are not missing.

Gerber Bicecci could have better used the almost two hours that ‘Vaho’ lasts to deepen the characters a bit further and make the event from the past a bit more exciting. Or he should have had the guts to cut here and there, because he likes the repetition and that is downright boring. As said: for Mexico fans to do.

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