- LULU / PANDORA'S BOX
- DAPHNIS AND CHLOE
- FEDRA
- THE FUGITIVE KIND
- THE TESTAMENT OF ORPHEUS
- PHAEDRA
- HERCULES CONQUERS ATLANTIS
- YOUNG APHRODITES
- CONTEMPT
- PROMETHEUS FROM THE VISEVICE ISLAND
- SANDRA OF A THOUSAND DELIGHTS
- THE GOLDEN THING
- THE TRAVELLING PLAYERS
- EURIDICE BA 2037
- IPHIGENIA
- A DREAM OF PASSION
- CLASH OF THE TITANS
- THE YEARS OF THE BIG HEAT
- ENIOCHUS - THE CHARIOTEER
- ANTIGONE
- EDIPO ALCADE
- THAT'S LIFE
- BLADE RUNNER
- VERTIGO
- MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA
- ORPHEUS
- PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
- ULYSSES
- HERACLES AND THE QUEEN OF LYDIA
- BLACK ORPHEUS
- ANTIGONE
- ELECTRA
- JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS
- ‘«Ň GORGON
- OEDIPUS REX
- ‘«Ň ILLIAC PASSION
- THE CANNIBALS
- ŐEDEA
- NOTES FOR AN AFRICAN ORESTEIA
- FOR ELECTRA
- PROMETHEUS IN THE SECOND PERSON
- VOYAGE TO CYTHERA
- ULYSSES' GAZE
- ‘«Ň MATRIX
- O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?

THAT'S LIFE
ASI ES LA VIDA
Mexico, Spain, France, 2000


Directed by: Arturo Ripstein. Screenplay: Arturo Ripstein, Alicia Paz Garciadiego. Director of Photography: Guillermo Granillo. Set Design: Claudio Contreras. Music by David Mansfield, Leoncio Lara. Editing: Carlos Puente. Cast: Arcelia Ramirez (Julia), Luis Felipe Tovar (Nico), Ernesto Yanez (the Pig), Francesca Guillen (Raquel), Patricia Reyes Spindola (Adela, the godmother). Produced by Laura Imperiale, Jorge Sanchez, Alvaro Garnica for Filmania, Gardenia Producciones, Fondo para la Produccio Cinematografica de Calidad, Wanda Vision (Spain), D.M.V.B. Films (France). Duration : 98 min. Colour.

Julia, a simple woman living in a district of Mexico City, working as a homeopathic doctor and performing abortions. She sees everything around her falling to pieces when her husband, Nico, a failed boxer, abandons her for their landlord’s younger daughter, Raquel. Afraid of Julia’s "magic spells", Raquel has her evicted" Worst of all, Nico wants to take custody of their two children. The pain of the abandoned woman turns into rage and Julia, under the influence of her godmother, who suggests that all men should be castrated, proceeds to a hideous act of vengeance, by killing her children before their father’s eyes.

Eternal and Unsolved Drama
By Babis Aktsoglou

The story of Medea in the slums of Mexico City, seen not as a tragedy which brings about catharsis, but as a drama (eternal and unsolved in its reversal, since it concerns man’s struggle with woman). The plot takes place within 24 hours ("which pass until they are void of meaning" according to screenwriter Alicia Paz Garc_adiego), in the closed universe of a group of houses belonging to a detestable man, nicknamed La Marana (The Pig), who wanders the hallways, stairs and backyards like a true tyrant. The beginning of the film, presented in a fascinating long shot (thanks to the "convenience" of the digital camera), presents Julia in her flat lamenting the wasted years with her infidel husband and her unjust fate. Later on, she is visited by her godmother, an elderly woman who tries to persuade her that a man – ("a species best strangled while still in infancy") - is not worth crying over.
This extreme hatred towards the male sex creates a sort of advertent shock, so that the onlooker can become emotionally detached from the drama, something that Ripstein accomplishes by use of other Brechtian techniques of detachment (mainly through a band of Mariachi singers who comment on the action through television, like the choros of an ancient tragedy); because it is important not to identify with Julia, who is engulfed in her own misfortune and disgrace, hatred and vengeance.
Now, the passion that, through all those years, made her devote her life to someone else (her husband and children), arms her with the irrational strength to commit the most heinous of acts: child murder. The murder of her children is her wedding present (literally wrapped in a bloody cloth) to her husband, since, earlier on, her "magic spells" had failed (she drops a lit cigarette at the entrance of her rival’s apartment on purpose). While we are informed via the television news that the couple burned to death, we realise that it was all a fantasy or even a game of detachment played by the director. This is a purely redeeming act for her since she offers her former husband his blood, what he considered as his property. Here, in contrast to the myth, the infidel Jason wants to keep the children close to him and not have them follow their mother into exile. Later, stepping lightly, almost dreamlike (a sensation that permeates the entire film), over the threshold of the complex, she gets in a taxi, which, like a deus ex machina, arrives at the right time, and disappears. The frame is revealed to be that of a television screen, omnipresent throughout the film: television works as the heroine’s true partner, her confidant, her interlocutor, her hidden conscience and her collective ego.
Nonetheless, it is hard to say whether the viewer shares the heroine’s catharsis. And without catharsis, there can be no sense of the tragic. Besides, something like that would seem like artistic arbitrariness in the realistic slum environment the where the drama is set. No tragedy for the Mexican Medea. That’s life!