11 January 2006 | jotix100
Naguib Mahfouz, the Egyptian novelist, whose "Midaq Alley" serves as the basis of this film, wrote about the characters that populate that narrow strip of an Egyptian city, and how in some ways, all of their lives are so inter-connected to one another.
Director Jorge Fons and the adapter, Vicente Lenero, transferred the action to Mexico City. They used the same format that Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu later used for his successful "Amores Perros" in 2000. It would be unfair to compare both films, yet, one can see certain parallels in the way the films unfold. Each narrative shows exact moments in which the lives of the people that part of town prove pivotal for the stories presented in the film.
There are four stories in the film. Each deals with what happened to that particular character while all have points in which they connect with the others. The film shows that when Mexican filmmakers want to tell interesting human stories, such as the ones depicted in the film, they don't have a thing to envy to the best types of cinema of the world. This is clearly a movie that will survive because of its universal themes.
Salma Hayek was making her second appearance in front of the cameras. She proved why she was an actress to be reckoned with. Her Alma shows a vulnerability, and freshness as she approaches the character. Ernesto Gomez Cruz, Maria Rojo, Bruno Bichir, Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Luis Felipe Tovar and the rest of the cast do excellent ensemble work under Mr. Fons direction.
The film will not disappoint the viewer.