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Alfonso Cuarón: A Puppet-Master with Heart
by Luz Hernandez

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Maestro Ditka, at the top of his game.

Maestro Ditka, at the top of his game.
Mike Ditka, head coach of the 1985 Chicago Bears. Daniele Gatti, principal conductor of London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. What could these two guys possibly have in common, you ask? Easy. They're both rulers of their domains. They call all the shots. And they both achieved ultimate success in their respective careers by weaving together the genius of extremely talented individuals to create a tapestry of harmonious perfection. Ditka's running back is really not much different from Gatti's first-chair violinist: there's no denying their brilliance, but a single running back cannot win a Superbowl, nor can a single violinist perform an entire symphony. The magic's in the coaching, the conducting, the bringing together of all the parts... and in Hollywood terms, that's called directing.

But whether it's on the screen, in a football stadium, or in a concert hall, it's much easier to notice what's in the forefront than what's going on behind the scenes. So a heart-wrenching performance by a beautiful actress, like Walter Payton busting through the line or the rich expressiveness of a Stradivarius, usually takes precedence in the observer's mind. A director's touch is often more difficult to pinpoint, let alone appreciate. In order for his work to really stand out, his signature has to be clearly engraved on every aspect of the film. And, more importantly, he must create a memorable overall experience for the viewer.

Enter Alfonso Cuarón. This Mexican-born
Talented, creative, confident AND handsome... what more could you want?

Talented, creative, confident AND handsome... what more could you want?
director is an absolute master of his craft, which for the time being seems to be centered around the adaptation of literature into film. In 2003, Cuarón directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which was the third film in the series. Although it was received with some disappointment by faithful Harry Potter fans who would have preferred a more literal approach, critics (and author J. K. Rowling herself) agreed that the film truly captured the essence of the novel. And that's where Cuarón really excels. He leaves his signature on his work, not as a political statement or as blatant self-promotion, but as his own way of capturing what he believes to be the essential spirit of the film.

Last year's Children of Men is another fine example of Cuarón's remarkable talent. With meticulous precision, he fine-tuned every aspect of the film--from the unsteadiness of the camera, which makes the viewer feel that he is actually present in the scenes, to the subtle use of light and nature to symbolize hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. Cuarón's fabricated future resonates with the intensity of real life and engages the viewer with its powerful political and social statements.

Cuarón is certainly making a name for himself with his original style and his unassuming confidence. Among his upcoming projects are Mexico '68 (based on the Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico City), The History of Love (based on a novel by Nicole Krauss), and The Memory of Running (based on a Ron McLarty novel).

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Other Columns
Other columns by Luz Hernandez:

A Battle of Wills: Arnett & Forte Duke It Out

Catalina Sandino Morales, Pure and Simple

Rai: Indian Warya Princess

Jason Statham: A Job Well Done

When Beauty Prevails

All Columns

Luz Hernandez
Luz Hernandez is a devoted movie watcher with a background in creative writing and translation.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Luz Hernandez by clicking here.

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