Bedtime Fairy Tales for Crocodiles

Movie Information

Genre: Drama Fantasy
Director: Ignacio Ortiz Cruz
Starring: Arturo Rios, Luisa Huertas, Miguel Santana, Ana Graham
Rated: NR

A strange and often compelling film of the magical realism school in which elements of the fantastic, magical and/or supernatural occur as a matter of course in an otherwise realistic setting, Bedtime Fairy Tales for Crocodiles tells the story of the curse of the Juarez family through 100-plus years of Mexican history.

Arcangel Juarez (Arturo Rios) receives a call from his brother telling him that their father is sick and asking him to come at once. When Arcangel arrives, the house is only inhabited by a strange woman, Isabel (Luisa Huertas), who tells him that his father died 15 years ago and that his brother is also dead — victims of the family curse. The curse is rooted in what might be called the family business, generations earlier: an enterprise that involved allowing farmers (for a nominal fee) to beat a muzzled coyote as “punishment” for the loss of their animals.

There are intimations of Bunuel here — especially in scenes that are pointedly anti-clerical — but the film lacks his precision of vision and knack for making surrealism enjoyable. Richly photographed — the Mexican landscapes and, more importantly, cloudscapes give the film a remarkable look — but more interesting as an intellectual exercise than a wholly successful dramatic one, Bedtime Fairy Tales is at best a fascinating example of a type of cinema rarely seen in Hollywood filmmaking.

— reviewed by Ken Hanke

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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