Héctor (Lucio Giménez Cacho) and his mother, Paloma (María Renée Prudencio), have come to a quiet Mexican resort for a vacation. He is 16, she is in her 30s, and the father is nowhere in sight. Judging by their closeness, he never was.

It has been said that the average man thinks about sex at least three times a minute. For Héctor and most 16-year-olds, that number is uncountable. Unfortunately, the only female contact Héctor has is his mother, and when she isn’t around, he puts on her deodorant, dons her red bikini, and masturbates in bed.

Paloma isn’t much better off. Héctor is the only man in her life, and considering that she is both in her physical and sexual prime, their relationship can get blurry.

Then Jazmín (Danae Reynaud) enters the picture, and mother and son’s idyllic nation of two is disrupted. Jazmín is 16, staying at this sleepy resort with her parents and also burning with sexual passion. She lures Hector away from his mother and gives him his first sexual experience. Mother is upset, not because her little boy has grown up, but because she has been replaced.

Told entirely in static shots, Club Sandwich is not about characters talking but desiring. They want to speak and act, but anxiety, lack of experience, and embarrassment hold them back. There is no nudity and few moments of sexual contact, yet each frame pulsates with a yearning to touch and that queasy feeling that comes from that desire.

The title, Club Sandwich, refers to the extra slice of bread in a sandwich, essentially needless but tasty nonetheless. However, there is nothing needless about writer/director Fernando Eimbcke’s approach to Club Sandwich. It is a simple story, masterfully told, light on characters, sparse on dialog, and uncomplicated by rapid editing and reckless camera moves. Eimbcke knows what he is looking for and does not need to go searching for it. Cinematographer María Secco provides images for viewers to soak up. Her sly, static compositions allow viewer’s eyes to dart around the frame, considering the objects on the margin—a fan blowing hot air around a dark hotel room, a tree swaying in the breeze—and then an actor subtlety moves. Instantly, we are alerted to the crux of the scene and what needs to be seen. And Club Sandwich needs to be seen.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Club Sandwich (2013)
Written and directed by: Fernando Eimbcke
Produced by: Jaime Bernardo Ramos, Christian Valdelièvre
Starring: María Renée Prudencio, Lucio Giménez Cacho, Danae Reynaud
Not rated, Running time 82 minutes