A man struggles to come to terms with his past as well as his family relationships in this drama. Martin (Mathieu Demy) was born in Los Angeles and spent much of his childhood there, but his parents were from France, and when his mother (Sabine Mamou) went through a nervous breakdown, his father relocated to Europe and took the boy with him. Martin rarely saw his mother again, and her absence left a void in his life that has impacted his relationships with women ever since, most recently his on and off romance with Claire (Chiara Mastroianni). When Martin receives word that his mother has died, he travels to California to take care of the arrangements with the help of Linda (Geraldine Chaplin), one of his mother's best friends. Martin intends to clear everything away as quickly as possible and return home, but talking with Linda and going through his mother's effects causes him to question his feelings about her, and when he sees an old snapshot of himself with his mom and a woman named Lola, he suddenly becomes obsessed with finding her. Martin's obsession leads him to Tijuana, where he falls for a stripper named Lola (Salma Hayek) who embodies the strength and joie de vivre that Martin has lost. Americano was the first feature film from writer, director and actor Mathieu Demy, the son of filmmakers Jacques Demy and Agnes Varda; clips from Varda's 1981 film Documenteur are used in the film's flashback sequences.
by Mark Deming synopsis