A scene from "You're Killing Me Susana", Mexico

cuévano/la banda films

Roberto Sneider has only directed 3 films over the span of 23 years. Dos crímenes, his first film, won several awards around the world, including the Ariel for Best Debut, and the India Catalina in the Cartagena Film Festival for Best Actor to Damian Alcazar and Best Supporting Actress for Margarita Isabel. It was a success in Mexico and was released commercially in Spain. Dos crímenes was based on a novel by Jorge Ibargüengoitia, and when Sneider made his second film, 15 years later, he used the prestige he obtained with the first one to adapt one of Mexico's most celebrated books at that time, Arráncame la vida by Ángeles Mastretta. Distributed internationally as Tear This Heart Out, it won 4 Ariels and was Mexico's official entry to the Oscars in 2009 but didn't receive a nomination.

It's not a surprise that Me estás matando Susana (You're Killing Me Susana), his third film, is also an adaptation of a celebrated book, nor that it took several years to bring it to the screen, even after it was filmed. Sneider did read José Agustín's Ciudades desiertas when he was in his twenties, and loved it as many did when it was first published in Mexico in 1982. When he finally contacted Agustin to adapt the book, he discovered it was already optioned by Alfonso Cuarón. After a few years passed, he finally asked his countryman and Golden Globe winner for Best Director if he was going to make the film. Cuarón was so busy he gave him his blessings to take over and that's how the process started. From the get-go, Sneider envisioned one of Cuarón's favorite stars, Gael García Bernal, as the main character, a soap opera actor who gives away everything to find where his wife has gone when she decided to leave him. In turn the Golden Globe-winning actor suggested a beautiful Spanish actress he had met in a commercial, Veronica Echegui, to play his wife. Since the end of the shooting, several years ago, she has become one of the most popular actresses in Spain.

With a comedic tone, You're Killing Me Susana takes its time to describe the world of Eligio (García Bernal), a typical middle class Mexican in his thirties with a full life that includes dealing with the traffic in Mexico City, enjoying a good time with friends, spending time with his lover and being a husband for his wife, Susana (Echegui). But everything changes when one day he discover she's gone without leaving him a note. Using the internet, he discovers she's in the United States, more specifically in Iowa (although the movie was filmed partly in Canada), where she's been accepted for an international writers workshop. Spurred by his machismo, he decides to sell his car for what he can get, buy a ticket and fly to Iowa unannounced, showing up at the university where his wife (or ex-wife) is studying, to try to win her back. But Susana is already in a relationship with Slawormir (Bjorn Hylnur Haraldsson) a tall and handsome Croatian writer, and learning the truth puts Eligio in such an obsessive mode that he ignores the advances of a beautiful local student (Ashley Grace), certainly interested in a very sensual cultural exchange. Part comedy of errors, part study of the traits of the middle class male Mexican, the film certainly benefits from the humorous talent of García Bernal, something audiences enjoyed previously in Y tu mamá también and Rudo y Cursi