Latin America has pumped out some great films.
Unfortunately, because of the region's less-than-impressive movie making past, many of these masterpieces have gone unnoticed. Historically, Argentina has been the leader in Latin filmmaking, followed closely by Brazil and Mexico, but recently other countries have been producing some phenomenal cinema, suggesting a promising future for the industry in the Latin America.
Here are 19 Latin American films that you should see:
1) El Infierno (Mexico)
No other movie captures the horrifying, gut-wrenching and absurd realities of the Mexican drug war as well as El Infierno. Darkly comedic and ruthlessly violent, this is a must-watch for anyone wondering what is going on just south of the border.
2) City of God (Brazil)
A picture of life in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. The movie is beautifully shot, and the story tragic and captivating. Go see it if you haven't already. One of the greatest Latin American movies ever made.
3) City of Men (Brazil)
Tells the story of how the drug war in the slums of Rio comes between a strong bond between young men. A story about friendship, fatherhood and the fight to survive.
4) Amores Perros (Mexico)
Introduced to the world an entirely different version of life in Mexico City. Gritty, emotional and the acting is brilliant.
5) Sin Nombre (Mexico)
Details the Central American migrant experience and its horrors. Particularly relevant given the current political climate in the United States.
6) Nine Queens (Argentina)
The cleverest con-man movie I have ever seen. An incredibly fun watch.
7) Karen Cries on the Bus (Colombia)
This one's a bit of a dark horse, but I think it deserves a spot on the list. It tells the story of a woman's journey to independence against a gloomy Bogota backdrop. A good way to kill a Sunday afternoon.
8) Man Of The Year (Brazil)
A man unwittingly becomes an outlaw hero in his lower-middle class Rio community. Action and violence with a moral message weaved in.
9) To Kill A Man (Chile)
The story of a simple, mild mannered man who finds himself going to great lengths to protect his family. Quintus Curtius wrote an excellent review on this film.
10) Elite Squad (Brazil)
A badass movie about BOPE, the highly-trained Brazilian police squad tasked with "cleaning up" infamous Rio slums. A pure adrenaline rush. The sequel is just as impressive.
11) Gigante (Uruguay)
A simple film about a supermarket security guard's infatuation with a nightshift janitor. The film is modest and understated, much like its country of origin.
12) Adrift (Brazil)
The story of a young girl's sexual awakening upon discovering her father's (Vincent Cassel) infidelity. One of the most beautifully shot films I've ever seen.
13) Rosario Tijeras (Colombia)
Sex, drugs and a mysterious women tied to the criminal underworld of Medellin in the late '80s. Not likely to win any awards, but an intriguing film nonetheless.
14) The Snitch Cartel (Colombia)
Another film about the drug trade. Well shot, well acted and never a dull moment.
15) La Soga (Dominican Republic)
Criminally under viewed and underrated. A tough cop from the Dominican Republic in a moral dilemma. Men being men. The pig butchering scene is 100% real. Couldn't get away with that in the USA!
16) Dog Eat Dog (Colombia)
One of my favourite Colombian films. Two gangbangers find themselves over their heads after a botched job. Stunningly filmed and said to be an accurate portrayal of the criminal underworld in Cali.
17) Secuestro Express (Venezuela)
Shows the harsh reality of life in present-day Venezuela - the name ("Express Kidnapping" in English) says it all, really. Shot entirely in Caracas.
18) The Secret In Their Eyes (Argentina)
Skip the shitty Hollywood remake. The original is truly spectacular. The characters are complex, the story is deep and well-paced and the acting and filming are superb. Highly recommend.
19) Una Noche (Cuba)
Not my favourite film on the list as it is filled with cliches, but I like it because it shows how shitty communism is and it's also shot wonderfully (I have a thing for well shot movies). Features great scenes of Havana if you never have the chance to go.
20) Rezeta (Mexico City)
Rezeta is not a good film by any stretch of the imagination. It's actually pretty bad. But it's important because it accurately depicts the degenerate behavior of so-called "models" in Mexico City. I've hung out with a few (not as cool as it sounds; many foreign girls claim to be a models here regardless of looks. For many all it means is some dude took a photo of them for his 5000 follower Instagram account) and the way they casual fuck dudes and use beta males is piercingly accurate. So, watch Rezeta for some cool insight and shots of Mexico City.
21) El Evangelio de la Carne (Peru)
Not too many people know much about Lima. This film captures it and the hard life in the capital than any other film. Excellent shots of the city to give you a sense of the grittiness that lies beyond Miraflores and Barranco. Excellent acting and cinematography. Whole thing is on YouTube so if you speak Spanish, give it a watch.
I'm missing some other good ones but this is a good place to start if you are interesting in watching some Latin American movies. Fortunately, many of these can either be found or Netflix or Internet streaming sites. I was able to learn Spanish by watching and re-watching many these movies, so they will always hold a place in my heart.
Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Until next time,