Year of the Nail

Director: Jonas Cuaron

mexico • 2007 • subtitled b/w & colour • dolby digital stereo • 78 mins

The serious artistic drive to meld fine photography with cinema is married to a charming tale of young almostlove in Jonas Cuaron’s sweet and memorable debut, Year of the Nail. The project represents a year’s worth of photos Cuaron (the son of renowned Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron) took of spontaneous events and day-to-day activities. The fictional narrative about 14-year-old Diego (Diego Catano, Cuaron’s half-brother) and visiting American college girl Molly (Eireann Harper, Cuaron’s girlfriend) gradually emerged out of organising the photos into sequences, with all but one of the original subjects recording the soundtrack’s voiceover dialogue. The result, except for the dialogue, recalls Chris Marker’s technique of his classic sci-fi short La Jetee, which was also composed purely of photos. However, the two films couldn’t be less alike in every other way, with Year of the Nail being a thoughtful, tender but quite hip look at two young people with too much separating them for a match to ever be possible.—Robert Koehler.

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