Foreign Film Submissions, 2015: Happy Times (México)

by HFPA November 16, 2015

Part of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s mission is to foster greater understanding through world cinema. This year 72 Foreign Language films were submitted for Golden Globes consideration. Here is an overview of one of them.

Break-ups are never easy. But in the hilarious romantic comedy, Happy Times, the task is almost impossible. That’s the premise of this Mexican film whose director, Luis Javier M. Henaine, describes as an “anti-romantic” comedy. The reason is in its plot. While all the romantic comedies try to achieve ultimate love, our hero, Max (Luis Arrieta), tries to finish it. His reason? Max is a young cartoonist involved in a relationship with a girlfriend from hell (Cassandra Ciangherotti). His only goal is ending it but the more he tries, the more entangled he ends up. After using up all possible tricks in the book to break up with her, he decides to hire an Agency that specializes in ending relationships. But the mysterious Agency possibly excels in ending something more than the relationship. He regrets his decision immediately but it’s too late to cancel his contract. The agency is not willing to stop until they fulfill their assignment …

Happy Times has been described as a refreshing take on romantic comedy, a genre seen through the fresh eyes of his director, the newcomer indie helmer Henaine. Based on his own script (written together with Alejandra Olvera Avila) Happy Times also surprises the audience using the character’s cartoons to advance the fantastic aspects in a story, taking place in the 80s and which was shot in different locations around Mexico City.

Henaine was born in that city in 1980 and he is related to the legendary Mexican comedian Capulina. He graduated in communications with a specialization in film at the Universidad Iberoamericana. This is his first foray into film after a career directing TV commercials, music videos and shorts. Unofficially, Happy Times is based on one of his shorts, El Sonido Del Silencio, which Henaine wrote and directed ten years ago, while he was still in college. Paloma Woolrich and René Gatica, performing as the special agents from the Agency, are the only actors that reprise their roles from the short film.

Awarded with the Nueva Visión Award at the 2015 Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Happy Times also was selected by the Dubai International Film Festival.

Rocío Ayuso