Club Sandwich


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Club Sandwich
"As Hector, Lucio Gimenez Cacho embodies the three primary desires of any teenage boy: getting one's way, getting one's end away, and potato chips."

Club Sandwich is an awkwardly touching tale of a teenage girl, a teenage boy, and his mother. Hector and Paloma are holidaying in the low season, taking advantage of a promotion. She fusses over him as mothers do, applying sunscreen, criticising his clothes, teasing him for his newly arrived moustache.

Then comes Jazmin, travelling with her own family, the only other guests, close to Hector in age and soon hoping to grow closer in other ways. As Paloma, Marie Renee Prudencio delivers a performance built on reactions. Hector's a dozy ingenue but he's her boy, and whether it's jealousy or concern or the realisation that she's "losing" him to adulthood it is all conveyed ably by variations of tone and eye-brow.

There's plenty of fumbling, a dinner in the hotel restaurant is a beautifully crafted depiction of a situation in which conversation cannot be sustained, every essay into small talk convincingly blunted. There's a trip to the beach which leads to more amorous contact, and after an unspecified number of tequilas there is a card game of "punishments" with unintended consequences.

Fernando Eimbcke's film is spare, sedate, gently comic, often eliciting nervous laughter in place of outright guffaws, but no less amusing for it. It does much with suggestion, allowing audiences to condense humour from the vapour of nuance.

As Hector, Lucio Gimenez Cacho embodies the three primary desires of any teenage boy: getting one's way, getting one's end away, and potato chips. Danae Reynaud's Jazmin is haltingly confident, and how much of Paloma's distrust is born of self-recognition is always left tantalisingly unclear. With a decent but minimal soundtrack befitting Paloma's former rock chick status, pierced eyebrow and metal fingers in celebration and all, Club Sandwich opens with a catchy Latin cover of the Pixies' Where Is My Mind and carries on convincingly.

It's probably not a film for audiences of mixed generations - teenagers will recognise themselves, parents will recognise themselves and teenagers, and should both encounter it simultaneously the only possible consequence is death by embarrassment. It does a tremendous job of occupying that divide - a 'sex talk' given as an interruption during Night Of The Living Dead is just the right kind of mortifying. The heavy petting is lightly handled; one hesitates to describe it as possessing a confident touch because that's a less subtle joke than most of the film's. So, instead, the titular sandwich - with a few ingredients Eimbcke has created something more than satisfying.

Reviewed on: 20 Jun 2014
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A teenage boy experiences first love while holidaying with his mother.

Director: Fernando Eimbcke

Writer: Fernando Eimbcke

Starring: Lucio Giménez Cacho, María Renée Prudencio, Danae Reynaud

Year: 2013

Runtime: 82 minutes

Country: Mexico

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