“Daniel and Ana”
Siblings and Best Friends
Daniel and Ana are brother and sister and best friends. Both are at major moments in their comfortable lives. Ana is about to be married and Daniel is a teenager who is discovering his personal and sexual identity. The harmony that they share is torn asunder when they are kidnapped and something happens which forces them to confront both their desires and fears. In a short period their old lives become distant memories and nothing they have known will ever again be the same.
Michel Franco’s film “Daniel & Ana” is about a teenage brother and slightly older sister in Mexico City, who are kidnapped and forced to have sex with each other for a video camera at the risk of death. They are then released but do not report what happened.
The camera lingers unnecessarily on the attractive characters as they are made to disrobe and couple at the risk of death from three hoodlums. The siblings are released afterward and do not report the crime.
Each deals with the event differently. Ana (Marimar Vega) seeks help from a psychologist so she can put it behind her. Seventeen year-old Daniel (Dario Yazbek Bernal) however develops lust for his sister and he brutally rapes her.
Daniel becomes increasingly possessive of Ana and jealous of her fiancé and he goes to their wedding ceremony and reception carrying a newly purchased and deadly looking knife.
The problem that I have is that after the kidnappers film the two, they are not heard of again. We have n idea why they wanted the film.
The film follows what happens after of the abuse, and we see how the siblings’ character and behavior are altered. Much of what we see on screen are the siblings acting withdrawn and avoiding people and just speaking in monosyllabic responses. The parents have no idea of what went on and seem to have never thought that whatever it was happened to both of their children. The roles demand stellar performances and we do not get that. But then the script is quite lean. There is no resolution—and the film is pretty flat after the kidnapping. It is supposedly based on a true story but there is a disparity between the film’s subject matter and the execution.
The film is concerned with the aftermath of the trauma, as each sibling deals with it in a very different way.
Telling no one about what happened, not even their parents, until Ana finally goes to see a shrink, both withdraw from human contact. Daniel, who’s actually the more disturbed of the two, can seemingly hide behind people’s assumptions that he’s just being a teenager.
The last act introduces a real shocker, after which tension begins which is based on expectations that anything could happen given the unpredictability of human nature.