Latino Food Movies

Thursday, April 21 by Annmicha Blugh

Latino food movies depict gastronomy in cinema, in which food plays a literal or figurative role. For example, Soul Food was a cultural African-American film representing the role of food as an agent which binds the family and celebrates history. In the same way, Latino food expresses the richness of its cultural dishes and tantalizing flavor in tandem with aspects of national, familial and individual histories. 

  1. "Like Water for Chocolate" (1992) is a latino food movie which based on the book of the same name. Divided into chapters named after recipes, this film  demonstrates the power of Latino women in the kitchen using food as a metaphor for communication and sexuality. Characters are known for the dishes that they make and eat. Celebrated in the midst of the Mexican Revolution, despite the political unrest, persons find comfort in communal partaking of meals. 
  2. "A Tale of Ham and Passion/ Jamón, jamón" (1992) is another latino food movie which uses food as a means of expressing desire. Meat is used as a representative of lust to satisfy primal appetite. Animals in the movie point to passionate eroticism. This tale tells of jealousy, social class and love triangles. 
  3. "Tortilla Soup" (2001) is a nutritious Latino food movie starring a matriarchal family, a father and his  three grown daughters. The father, a widower, is a chef of a Mexican-American restaurant. Ironically, this chef's taste buds do not function since his spouse's death and as a result, he cannot enjoy food and by extension one of his life's passions. In the meanwhile, each of his daughters is hungry for life partners. 
  4. "Tortilla Heaven" (2007) is a Latino food film titled after a Mexican restaurant in the movie. Tortilla Heaven features one of the best tortilla makers who can never seems to prosper in his business. This restaurant owner, after a church service, receives a miracle that opens the door for him to many customers: an apparition of the face of Jesus Christ appears on one of the tortillas. The religious theme in this movie scandalizes the tortilla restaurant, giving it notoriety.
  5. "La Ultima Cena" (1976) is a Latino food movie evoking the communion service Last Supper of Jesus Christ. Set in the 18th century, this food movie relates the Holy Week on a slave plantation owned by Europeans in the Caribbean. One man chooses twelve slaves with whom he commemorates the holy ceremony, however, not withou intervention from the village priest and an overseer who views slaves as heathens. Food then becomes filled with religious symbolism and represents an elusive goal of fellowship.
  6. "Estomago: A Gastronomic Story" (2007)  is a story of a poor cook who rises as a chef in an old, struggling restaurant. The protagonist rises from the ashes of poverty and oblivion to high reputation as a culinary expert. Food transforms into weapon which disarms, attracts and at the same time, fills many other human needs. 
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