Thursday, January 13, 2011

My favourite Latin American Films

Sight and Sound Sept 2008

I've got a latin american film jones. I've always had it - since I really became interested in film some 10 years ago. I think my preference for Latina and Spanish over French has alot to do with the fact that I started my love of film in what many think of as a second wave of the Latin film renaissance, a period from 1998 - present. It  resurfaced with The Secrets in their Eyes  - this years best foreign film winner at the Oscars which I blogged about a week ago. So, to answer my jones I made a list of my favourite films of south and latin american origin. (to keep it short, I havent mentioned Spain's Pedro Almodovar and Alejandro Amenabar).

1. Y tu Mama Tambien, dir.Alfonso Cuaron (2001)

To me, it is perfect. A story about two boys and one woman who go on a roadtrip with the stated intent of finding the most beautiful beach in Mexico. By the end of the trip, Cuaron has crafted a story about youth, love, loss and the political and class divides of Mexico. It spoke to me back in varsity and still does.

2.  City of God, dir Fernando Meirelles (2002)

One of the most perfectly scripted stories I have ever watched. I think Meirelles's great gift as a director is his ability to show poverty as it is: equal parts dirty, hopeful, hopeless, dog-eat-dog but also filled with good people. What's so impressive is how hands-on Meirelles is with his camera while still allowing a near perfectly-scripted story to be the star. Film buffs have died a million deaths for this one but equally importantly, so has the average viewer who just wants a fucking cool story with guns, drugs, romance and violence (and can tolerate subtitles).

3. Amores Perros, dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (2000)

Inarritu opened the decade with this masterpiece. Hollywood would swoon and offer him the opportunity to create his vision on 21 grams and Babel. Both fall short of this. Amores perros means 'love is a bitch'  - this movie is a contemplation on the pain of love and its affect on those it hurts. It is visceral and borders on gratuitously violent - hard to watch if you are squeamish - the characters are alternately, harsh, ignorant, violent, weak, the notion of time within the story is the furthest thing from linear  - in short, nothing about this is easy - but then that's the point - love's a bitch.

4. The Secrets in their Eyes, dir. Juan Jose Campanella (2009)

Won't redo this - but my goodness I love this movie. Wrote on a post on it earlier in the week.Click here: The Secrets in their Eyes 


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