Recently, media outlet Univision came out with a list of the 50 Best Movies from Latin America. I have some issues with this list, like including the movie The Headless Woman, which I thought was terrible; and they didn’t mention Even the Rain, which is my favorite movie of all time.
So here’s my own list of noteworthy Latin American movies that I’ve watched over the past few months.
- Sin Nombre (Without a Name) – A young gangster from Mexico knows he has sealed his own grave when he kills a member of his own gang to save a migrant girl from Honduras who is transiting through Mexico to get to the United States. A friendship develops as the two evade danger to save their lives and attempt to make new lives in the United States. A powerful, violent and stunning movie that has great panoramic views of Mexico from the notorious bestia or “beast,” the trains on which migrants ride on to get closer to the border.
- Hermano – A young, single mother and her son find a baby crying in a trash heap and decide to take in the orphan and make him part of the family. The adopted child and his brother have one ticket out of their Venezuelan slum: soccer. They are on the cusp of trying out for the professional league when violence strikes and their mother is murdered by someone from the neighborhood gang. Will the quest for revenge take them off of the path to becoming professional players? Will they get out of the life that so many of their peers have fallen into? Check this one out for the answers
- Leap Year – If you are offended by sex or nudity, you might want to skip this one. Laura lives alone in her Mexico City apartment, far from her family’s home in rural Mexico. The whole film is shot in her apartment. You see her working from home, and then getting all dressed up at night and going out. She comes home with random men and has sex with them. That is, until she finds one man who chokes her during the act. After the act is done he apologizes but she assures him it’s okay. The two move along the path to increasingly more violent sex as we learn details of Laura’s past, which seems to include sexual abuse, and the death of her father on the leap year.
- Amores Perros – I know this 2001 selection is old, but it’s an excellent movie. Acclaimed director Alejandro González Iñárritu tells three intersecting stories that all start in the world of underground dog fighting. Overlapping worlds collide as distinct lives are brought together through chance events.
- Lucía y el Sexo – Lucía becomes obsessed with an author who eventually becomes her boyfriend and lover. The thing is, he has a secret relationship that he left behind on a Mediterranean island years before. The author/lover disappears while writing a book that might well have been the real story of his Mediterranean romance. Interesting blurring of lines between fiction and reality. Not really Latin American, but still in Spanish, and still an enjoyable movie.
Ready for Some Excellent Latin American Movies?Check out Even the Rain
Scott M. is the Assistant in the Office of Programs and Partnerships at East Liberty. When not busy running around with his two daughters, he likes reading non-fiction, learning languages, gardening and cooking.