The world tumbles around us. The system fails us, global inequalities fill us with anger, and rampant violence squeezes the last drops of stinging empathy from our chests. Still, our outrage over gross and continued injustices is mitigated by the sense that things are exactly as they should be because the broken world around us is just a mirror of our broken souls. And so we tend to our idleness. Am I being too dark for you? Let’s unpack.
In Alonso Ruizpalacios’s Güeros, troublesome teenager Tomas (Sebastián Aguirre) is sent to live with his brother Fede aka Sombra (Tenoch Huerta Mejía), who is attending college in Mexico City. Sombra and his roommate Santos (Leonardo Ortizgris) smoke cigarettes, pick at their foot fungus and slack the days away, waiting for the student strike at UNAM to end. They could care less and so when Tomas becomes intent on finding Epigmenio Cruz, an old folk singer their father used to listen to, Sombra and Santos join the search. Their quest is set against the backdrop of an unpredictable city that is beset with discord particularly given the student strike. Though the team eventually ends up on campus, Sombra is much more taken by Ana (Ilse Salas), one of the leaders of the movement, than by whatever vague ideals it seems to represent.
The memory of Tomas and Sombra’s father looms large with the existence of a cassette tape they repeatedly listen to. In finding Epigmenio, the siblings seek to materialize a memory and in so doing getting a deeper glimpse into who their father was. This is particularly important because Tomas is light skinned and Sombra dark, chipping at the title of the film; a term used to reference lighter-skinned Mexicans. Finding Epigmenio ends up being a demoralizing endeavor, and turns the brothers away from their resistance to the resistance. They are idealists in spite of themselves and they eventually shed the ennui of their self-imposed journey and discover, that despite how horrible the world is, the joy is still in the fight.
Here are some tips for forming your own revolution according to Güeros.