Arts & Life

5 movies to watch during Hispanic Heritage Month

People love watching movies. Whether it’s watching them at the cinema or at home, movie lovers are everywhere, and movies give people a chance to bond. But there’s nothing more important than seeing someone from your culture on the big screen.

Here are five films that are important in the Hispanic/Latinx culture. Although there are many out there, these are movies that impacted my life.

1. “Real Women Have Curves” directed by Patricia Cardoso (2002)

This movie follows a bilingual Mexican-American family living in East Los Angeles, starring America Ferrera as the protagonist and Lupe Ontiveros as her mother. This comedy-drama shares a story too close to some and makes people wonder, “Did they really make a movie about my family?”

It’s not easy being an 18-year-old who wants to have their own life while steering away from traditional ideals that is pushed by family. This film represents what many have gone through, or go through, in a Hispanic/Latinx household. It talks about body positivity, balancing family duties while trying to move on to something bigger, illness, and more.

“It feels incredibly powerful,” Cardoso says in her exhibit at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, “It’s so important for our community to grow up seeing images of people like them — to have role models. It’s so detrimental to not see yourself with dignity and respect.”

2. “Roma” by Alfonso Cuarón (2018)

This film won “Best Director,” “Best Cinematography,” and “Best Foreign Film” at the Oscars in 2019; there were 10 nominations in total.

Based on the director’s childhood through his experiences, it takes you directly into Mexico. This is Yalitza Aparicio Martínez’s debut as an actress. Born in Oaxaca, Mexico, Martinez plays one of two domestic workers in the 1970s that helps a married couple take care of their four children.

“It’s not a lecturing film,” Cuarón said in an interview with The Guardian. “In Mexican cinema … the poor are noble and the rich are bastards. “Roma” is very fresh in this regard. It’s not vilifying the employers. These are all well-rounded human beings, and that makes this film so innovative.”

3. “Under The Same Moon: La Misma Luna,” Patricia Riggen (2007)

This film depicts a love story between the bond of a mother and son. It’s about a Mexican mother working as an undocumented, domestic worker in Los Angeles while her son in Mexico searches for her. This film highlights what people go through to have a better life for themselves and their family.

This was Mexican director Patricia Riggen’s first full-length feature film with a budget of less than $2 million.

“Immigration wasn’t a big topic,” she said in a Reuters interview. “In fact, it was considered a bad subject as people didn’t want to watch movies about it. But I went ahead because I never thought of this film in those terms.”

4. “The Book of Life” Jorge R. Gutierrez (2014)

Before Disney’s “Coco” in 2017, “The Book of Life” was released three years earlier. A love story about Día De Los Muertos, this film revolves around a love triangle that ultimately discusses accepting yourself and following what’s right. You can tell this film was made with care and love for the culture and holiday.

“The world keeps spinning, and the tales keep turning, and people come and people go, but they’re never forgotten. And the one truth we know, it held true one more time… That love, true love, the really, really good kind of love never dies,” La Muerte

5. “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” Alfonso Cuarón (2001)

Alfonso Cuarón co-wrote this screenplay with his brother Carlos. This film introduces one of the greatest friendships in cinema starring Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal as Julio and Tenoch. It’s a coming-of-age story of two teenage best friends that go on a road trip with a woman they met in 1999 in Mexico. Lust is everywhere, but it’s more than that in the film.

“That portrait of adolescence with its failures and virtues, the narrator who doesn’t narrate but contextualizes things and helped us avoid explanatory scenes, the enormous chemistry between Diego and Gael and the counterpoint that Maribel provided were some of the many factors,” Carlos Cuarón said in an interview with The New York Times. “None of us who made it thought it would have such success. When we wrote the screenplay, we didn’t know who would dare make it.”

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