It’s a story you’ve seen many times before, but not quite the way the endearing Mexican movie Sabrás qué hacer conmigo presents the average boy-meets-girl narrative. In this iteration, we follow a man named Nicolás (Pablo Derqui) as he falls in love with a woman named Isabel (Ilse Salas). The movie then rewinds back to their meet cute at a hospital to show their relationship from Isabel’s perspective. The third chapter of the film, appropriately named “Isabel and Nicolás,” revolves around their deepening relationship as they begin to trust each other with the health problems and family troubles they hide from everyone else.
“I like that movies can make you feel something.”
Director Katina Medina Mora insisted this dramatic staging was for good reason. “It’s a theme that’s very important and powerful,” she told an audience at the Los Cabos International Film Festival. Mora also cited another central relationship of the movie, that of Isabel and her severely depressed mom, as another important focal point of her story. Isabel travels to the hospital to visit her mom after a botched suicide attempt, but it also happens to be the moment she meets Nicolás, who is there to get a check up on a neurological disorder. “Sometimes parents don’t realize how they affect their kids. They can be so stuck in their own troubles; they don’t notice their kids are suffering.”
“Sometimes I would cry. It became a very intense movie.”
Sabrás qué hacer conmigo took seven years to complete, and screened at last year’s festival as a work in progress. Mora attributed her career to the festival’s dedication to young filmmakers. “My first movie played here two years ago. The money from that helped pay for this movie, and we were invited back to share our ‘work in progress.’ I’m very grateful to the festival board to have this space to present movies from the heart.”
“Sometimes I would cry. It became a very intense movie,” Mora confessed. Ahead of the end credits, audiences will see Sabras que hacer conmigo dedicated to the memory of Mora’s friend, who passed away from epilepsy before he could see the film. “I like that movies can make you feel something,” she said. “Whether you loved it or hated it, you feel something.”
Actress Ilse Salas was also greatly moved by the movie’s story, and told the Cabo crowd Mora hid the ending from her until they were filming so that her reactions were authentic. “It was very clear to me this was about two people who have different fears about living, either from physical ailments or emotional issues like depression. In losing fear, they find life. They find love and lose their fear of death.”