Monday, 18 November 2013

3 Hispanic Movies You MUST Watch

Being both Hispanic and a film lover, I always try to watch more than just the typical Hollywood or blockbuster productions. I have learned to root for and appreciate Hispanic movies because of their scripting, their directing, their actors, their raw concepts and their fabulous look. Some of them haven’t had much success outside of their main country, but a lot of them have been awarded and recognized worldwide.

Among the best and well-known Hispanic movies of this century, I picked 3 of my favorites, so you can start adding them to your watch list (if you haven’t already), and see if you can catch the Hispanic film fever (no, it’s not like Bieber fever. Sorry! I mean, you're welcome? Either way!). BEWARE! Here they come (ordered by date, not by choice):

    Amores Perros/Love’s a Bitch (Mexico, 2000)
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Producer: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Writer: Guillermo Arriaga
Genre: Drama/Thriller
Watch the trailer here!  

Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film (2001), winner of the Cannes Film Festival for Best Feature (2000), and recognized with other several awards, this movie is one of the best Mexican classics of all time. Starring Gael García Bernal (also known for “Y Tu Mamá También”), Goya Toledo and Emilio Echeverría, this film tells the story of a tragic car accident that connects the lives of three people in a magnificent, yet dark and violent way. It embraces themes like love, death, betrayal, hope, and of course, dogfighting, one of the cruel realities in Mexico.

My opinion: Latin American reality in 24 frames per second. Outstanding script and organic performances. It embraces “love” in all its ways and forms, even in the ugly ones. Also, Gael García Bernal is splendid here.

     Planta 4ta/4th Floor (Spain, 2003)
Director: Antonio Mercero
Producer: César Benitez and Emilio A. Pina
Writers: Antonio Mercero and Albert Espinosa (play)
Genre: Drama/Comedy
Watch the trailer here!  

Originally a play called “Los Pelones”/“The Baldies” and based on the true story of Albert Espinosa, this piece might not be as well known as the other two, but I think it was one of my first contacts with Spanish cinema. Winner of Best Director and People’s Choice Award in the Montreal World Film Festival (2003), among other European and Spanish recognitions and nominations, this film tells the story of a group of teenagers that share their hopes, dreams and fears inside of the cancer ward of a hospital. Starring Juan José Ballesta (Goya Award winner for “El Bola”), Luis Ángel Priego and Gorka Moreno, this movie perfectly balances comic and dramatic situations where the boys will have to learn how to deal with their fate while growing up inside of those white walls. It’s a truthful story about friendship and survival.

My opinion: Mercero does a splendid job on managing such a delicate and emotional subject through smart and refreshing comedy. Juan José Ballesta’s performance is as stunning as the one in “El Bola”; honest, playful and raw when it comes to hard and sad scenes. This movie will probably make you cry, but I can guarantee you will enjoy those tears afterwards.

El Secreto de Sus Ojos/The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina, 2009)
Director: Juan José Campanella
Producer: Juan José Campanella
Writers: Eduardo Sacheri and Juan José Campanella
Genre: Drama/Thriller
Watch the trailer here

Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film (2010) and Goya Award winner for Best Spanish Language Foreign Film (2010), this movie has turned every filmmaker and cinephile’s attention into Argentinian cinema, especially after Campanella’s success with “The Son of The Bride”. Starring Ricardo Darín (also known for “Nueve Reinas”), Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago, Javier Godino and Guillermo Francella, this film tells the story of Espósito, a retired lawyer who’s writing a novel about an unsolved murder that happened in 1974 and his search for the killer. Espósito fights his past choices, his doubts, and his secret feelings for his boss to finally find out the truth about the crime and its tragic consequences. It is a story about love, grief, corruption, perseverance, loyalty and blind commitment.

My opinion: Perfectly directed, beautiful shots and color temperature. The stadium scene is probably one of the greatest scenes ever written and made. Ricardo Darín does an incredible job, as always. It is definitely a film that makes me proud as a Latin American, and I’m not even Argentinian.

So tell me, have you watched some or all three of these Hispanic pieces? What do you think about them? Can you add other Hispanic films to this list? What makes them great? Please share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet @swagger_media!

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