After working on Great Expectations and A Little Princess, Alfonso Cuarón envisioned a film that was not influenced by production techniques used in Hollywood cinema. Cuarón wanted to reject commercial production techniques he had used in his previous films, like dollies, close ups, and dissolves. Instead he embraced a documentary-realist style of filmmaking for Y Tu Mamá También. Before making the film, Cuarón had worked for some time in Hollywood, prompting him to return to his roots in Mexican Cinema. In an interview, Cuarón said: “I wanted to make the film I was going to make before I went to film school, and that was always going to be a film in Spanish, and a road movie involving a journey to the beach.”
In Y Tu Mamá También, Alfonso Cuarón reimagined the American road movie genre to depict Mexico’s geography, politics, people, and culture. Cuarón wanted to use the road-film genre to challenge mid-20th century Latin-American Cinema movements that rejected the pleasure and entertainment typical of Hollywood commercial cinema created by using fictional characters and story. Cuarón aimed to only borrow the pleasure and entertainment of Hollywood cinema to synthesize with political and cultural exploration of Mexico. Using fictional characters and a story within the documentary-realist style, Cuarón was able to explore Mexico’s geographical, cultural, and political landscapes.
Filming and production
The director and screenwriter were not afraid of developing Y Tu Mamá También during the production process. Carlos Cuarón’s script was minimal and unelaborate so the actors could contribute to its development during the rehearsal process. Throughout the film the actors improvised. Instead of using high-tech equipment, the entire film was shot with a handheld camera to create a documentary-realist look that mimicked candid footage. In an interview, Cuarón said “This all goes back to our original idea of 15 years ago, in which we would do a low-budget road movie that would allow us to go with some young actors and semi-improvise scenes and have a bare storyline but not be afraid of adding things as we went.”
The beach scenes in the film were shot near the resort Bahías de Huatulco, in Oaxaca.