A docu-fiction hybrid, Pedro Gonzalez-­Rubio’s Alamar records and partakes of a 5-year-old boy’s dream vacation.

Natan, born of a brief romantic liaison between Italian tourist Roberta and Yucatan tour guide Jorge, leaves Rome to stay with his father in a visit so timeless that it might be an entire summer or a single day.

Jorge takes his son to to stay on a mangrove-covered barrier island off the southernmost coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico. There, in the company of a grizzled old fisherman, they feast on fresh-caught barracuda and live in a shack on stilts. Natan learns how to snorkel and catch a fish, coping with crocodiles as well as the camera. Underwater reef exploration aside, the big thrill is the little egret that several times appears at the shack.

Before the boy returns home to Rome, Jorge promises Natan that no matter where he is, his father will be looking after him. However blunt, this sudden introduction of primal faith is wholly appropriate. As much home movie as neorealist non-narrative, Alamar provides a nearly hypnotic immersion in the brilliantly aqua, impossibly tranquil Caribbean — a Paradise Regained not just for Natan but for everyone.

Categories: Movies