AMERICANO is a thoughtful and richly acted film about an inheritance and the psychological issues raised by it. The main character is a French-American with two passports who flies from Paris to L.A. after his mother’s death and ends up in Tijuana looking for a woman, Lola, who may have inherited part of the estate. In the process he confronts the unresolved emotions of his upbringing and his future with the woman with whom he is in a relationship in Paris. But there is another layer to the inheritance theme above and beyond the basics of the story.
The lead actor, also the director/screenwriter, is Mathieu Demy, son of directors Jacques Demy and Agnès Varda (a producer of the film); his girlfriend in Paris is played by Chiara Mastroianni, daughter of Catherine Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni (who are each present in her face); the aggrieved friend of the deceased mother is played by Geraldine Chaplin, daughter of Charlie; the owner of the strip club at which the Demy character seeks the elusive Lola is played by Carlos Bardem, daughter of the Spanish actress Pilar Bardem and brother of Javier; even Salma Hayek, who plays the woman that the lead character finds in Tijuana, is the daughter of an opera singer.
This film is not only about an economic inheritance and its discontents; it is a de facto, if not deliberate, meditation upon artistic inheritance. Each of those involved has been willed a profession, or the option of one, and attached to that is the danger of comparison with the parent, and the anxiety attached to it. It is hard not to believe, once this circumstance is recognized, that the film’s depth, which is considerable, comes partly from the unspoken resonance of the theme of inheritance in the lives of the artists themselves.
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