Mexican director Sebastián Hofmann watched videos on YouTube for hours that told the horrible experiences of tourists when they purchased vacation packages. Tiempo Compartido (Eng: Timeshare), his second movie, is inspired by everything he saw: harassment, abuse, and absurd situations. The film shows the case of Pedro -interpreted by Luis Gerardo Méndez- a middle-class family man who, when buying a stay in a Timeshare in Mexico, gets everything except the vacation he dreamed of.
Get our news delivered to your inbox every morning. Click here to signup
“We set out to make an anguishing and somewhat claustrophobic film, in the sense that the entire film happens inside this hotel. And in the cinematographic language, we decided not to see the sea, the camera always turns its back on the sea to generate that sensation of being trapped inside an artificial and inorganic space “, Hofmann explains. Tiempo Compartido combines black humor with the absurd until it reaches the culmination of a sinister story, explains the director who wrote the screenplay by Julio Chavezmontes.
Hofmann has chosen two male perspectives to recount the nightmare vacation. On the one hand, there is the character of Luis Gerardo Méndez, Pedro, who as a tourist is discovering the scam; while Andrés, an employee of the hotel – played by Miguel Rodarte – is eager to warn about the dangers of Everfields International, the resort of timeshares. The director decided that during the 96 minutes of the film neither of the two actors was missing and made them the backbone of the story.
Inspired by horror films and family films from the 1980s, Hofmann acknowledges that Tiempo Compartido also criticizes the holiday industry that subjects tourists to an artificial environment. “It has always seemed to me that behind these images of happy families in paradise lies something very sinister,” he explains. Hofmann’s nightmare vacation is a spiral of paranoia that contrasts with his debut horror opera Halley, released in 2012 and which earned him an Ariel Award.
For Tiempo Compartido, the director opted for the Italian Giorgio Giampà to play the difficult experience of tourist disappointment. The music is inserted in the story almost like a character. “[Giorgio Giampà] interpreted it as an anti-imperial film that criticizes capitalism and that these oppressed beings have no space to express their emotions. At the time of making the film, he made an artistic intervention and understood the anguish and tone of the film perfectly. What music does is tie up the atmosphere, “says Hofmann.
Tiempo Compartido has been very well received by international critics. The script of Chavezmontes and Hofmann was awarded at the Sundance Festival, and the performance of Rodarte obtained an Ariel in the last edition of the awards. The film premieres this Friday, August 31 in 200 theaters in 26 cities in Mexico (its first film was only distributed with nine copies). Hofmann points out that the good health of Mexican cinema has opened a very diverse range in the film productions that are being made in the country.