Her name is Lola; she is a showgirl. She doesn’t work at the Copacabana, though; she works at the titular Americano. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Americano is a character-driven exploration of grief by Mathieu Demy, who wrote, directed, and starred in the film—he also gets naked in it, frequently.
When Frenchman Martin (Demy) learns of his mother’s death, he must travel to LA to deal with her condo and the troubled past they had. Having lost most communication with his mother, he relies on her close friend Linda (Geraldine Chaplin) and various neighbors to piece together what her life was like. Through them he learns of Lola (Salma Hayek, sporting an inexplicable scar on her cheek), a girl he knew as a child whom his mother raised like a daughter. Martin’s grief makes him prone to extreme mood swings that result in rash actions. After seeing his mother’s body at the morgue, he steals Linda’s car and drives down to Mexico in search of Lola.
But closure will be hard to find at Americano. As Martin gets caught up in a web of deceit and violence, the revelations he comes to will affect his view on familial relationships. Remy uses this borderline absurd plot to explore mother-son relationships and how it may be possible to prevent history from repeating itself.
He tells the story fully from Martin’s perspective, leaving him onscreen for most of the film (a challenge that he readily rose to). Interspersed throughout the film are flashbacks to his childhood. The flashbacks are actually scenes from a movie he starred in as a child by his mother the French New Wave director Agnes Varda, adding many additional layers of intertexuality to this increasingly complex film. Fortunately, Demy’s passion for the film and its’ themes aid him in making a compelling film.
Yet, while this may be a personal film to Demy—an ode both to his aforementioned mother and his father Jacques Demy, who was also a director (one particular film he did was titled Lola)—it still has resonance for viewers, whether or not they are dealing with mommy issues.
The special features are limited to a movie trailer and a short interview with Mathieu Demy in which he describes his creative process in creating this film.
"Americano" is on sale October 30, 2012 and is not rated. Drama, Foreign. Written and directed by Mathieu Demy. Starring Carlos Bardem, Chiara Mastroianni, Geraldine Chaplin, Jean Pierre Mocky, Mathieu Demy, Salma Hayek.