I’ve been attending the Sundance Film Festival for over ten years now and one of the reasons that keep me coming back to this film festival is watching the movies of emerging filmmakers and new filmmakers. I love seeing filmmakers who have been on my radar come into their own in terms of style and voice and I love seeing a new vision from a director who had never made a feature film before. Sundance is one of the best festivals for these kinds of discoveries and every year brings a new voice to the cinematic world
After watching the Mexican drama Dos Estaciones, director/co-writer Juan Pablo González immediately became a director I got excited for. Though he’s made a few documentaries, Dos Estaciones marks Gonzalez’s narrative debut and it’s an incredible debut.
Maria Garcia (Teresa Sanchez) runs the Dos Estaciones tequila plant in Jalisco, Mexico. While respected around town, the once prosperous tequila company is struggling to stay afloat. Maria looks to the assistance of Rafaela (Rafaela Fuentes), a bright new woman in town who Maria hopes will add a spark to the struggling company. But when an unexpected flood and a persistent plague cause damage to Maria’s farm and plant, she must do everything she can to keep her family legacy and her town’s main source of economy alive.
González’s documentary experience is at the forefront of Dos Estaciones. The film has a very naturalistic quality to it that makes you feel like you are a fly on the wall following Maria and seeing her deal with all the issues surrounding her tequila company. Gonzalez also uses the camera to capture the beautiful landscapes of Jalisco, Mexico, and takes the time to show us the process of making the tequila, from pulling the agave to the bottling process, in scenes that are hypnotically shot and fascinating. Dos Estaciones is a quiet, slower watch, but Gonzalez’s smart, meticulous filmmaking grabs you and immerses you in the story, the characters, and the setting.
Teresa Sanchez is arresting as Maria. Sanchez’s performance pairs perfectly with the quiet vibe of González’s direction. It is a layered, powerful performance full of nuance. Sanchez portrays the respected tequila owner with a lot boiling under the surface. She must always save face in front of people in her community and co-workers, regardless of what is happening to her tequila company, but you can read Sanchez’s eyes and see that Maria’s brain is running a mile a minute and that the stress is building up. Sanchez is the heart and soul of Dos Estaciones.
Dos Estaciones is an impressive debut and one that shows the promise of a gifted filmmaker in Juan Pablo González, a director who is firmly on my radar. Led by a sublime performance from Teresa Sanchez, Dos Estaciones is a gorgeously shot, beautiful film embedded in Mexican culture.
Dos Estaciones premiered in the WORLD DRAMATIC COMPETITION at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
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