Arráncame la vida/Tear This Heart Out

Media Type: Film

Year: 2009

Who wrote / made it : Roberto Sneider

Plot summary: The film tells the story of the relationship between Catalina Guzmán (Ana Claudia Talancón) and Andrés Ascencio (Daniel Giménez Cacho) set against the political machinations of post-Revolutionary Mexico. It is a faithful adaptation of the eponymous novel by Ángeles Mastretta, although it lacks the original’s subtlety and playfulness. It obviously revels in the Catalina’s swearing and baudiness, and indulges in the melodrama of her relationship with the handsome conductor, Carlos (José María de Tavira).  The most significant difference between the original and the adaptation is that the film provides a definitive ending, where the novel was more ambiguous. This rests in the style of the director who shows, rather than implies, lacking subtlety in his direction.  In addition, Mastretta uses the trope of a highly unreliable narrator, which is dispensed with in the film.  The narrative exclusively follows her, but does not create any ambiguity in her account, unlike the novel.  Where it could have been tempting to use voiceover in the adaptation of a novel with such a strong first-person narrative, voiceover is only used in the opening and close of the film.  The novel takes its name from a famous bolero, which serves a narrative function and provides period colour.  This serves a similar purpose in the film, which includes many of the boleros mentioned in the novel as well as some original music.

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