Club Sandwich goes places that will feel very real to any survivor of the gauntlet of puberty. It has no shame exploring — and lingering on — some of the most common, if not sordid, moments many remember but few ever wish to recall. Be warned: The awkwardness quotient has never felt this amped up in any Hollywood movie. Mexican director Fernando Eimbcke, who was last represented at MIFF in 2005 with his acclaimed Duck Season, also wrote the screenplay for this witty but grounded film about fumbling through sexual awakening. Single mom Paloma (María Renée Prudencio) and her roly-poly 15-year-old son, Hector (Lucio Giménez Cacho), wile away the time at a desolate beach resort in the low season. Hector looks for every chance to release his virile fluids during long bathroom breaks from the pool, until he bumps into solitary 16-year-old Jazmin (Danae Reynaud). Eimbcke allows his camera to linger on spare, quiet scenes (there's no score to either embellish or detract), inviting the viewer to contemplate and empathize with these youths who struggle with repression against the inevitable urgency of hormones. The pace is deliberate, and Club Sandwich never feels dull as it reveals itself as one of the more raw and honest films about one of the gawkiest times that every person must endure.
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