Hispanic Culture Movies

Monday, April 25 by Lee Grayson

Hispanic culture movies feature the elements that make up the culture of the Latino peoples. The term "culture movie" defines a film that incorporates the art, music, food and history of a group of people. Watching any of these films gives the viewer an insight to Latin culture. Hispanic culture includes Mexico, Brazil, Cuba and people from Mexico, Latin and Central America, including people from these countries who have immigrated to the United States.

  1. "The Motorcycle Diaries." Che Guevara takes a trip on a motorcycle and develops a life philosophy in this 2004 film directed by Walter Salles. Gael Garcia Bernal and Rodrigo de la Serna star in this part-fiction, part-nonfiction movie that follows the diary of Che at 23 years of age. Che is a popular revolutionary figure in Hispanic culture. 
  2. "Black Orpheus."  This vintage Hispanic culture film, released in 1959 and directed by Marcel Camus. The mythology of Eurydice and Orpheus forms the basis of this film, but the setting provides the link with Hispanic culture. The film is set during Carnival in Rio de Janerio. 
  3. "Frida." This 2002 film featuring Penelope Cruz tells the story of Frida Kahlo, famous Mexican artists and wife of Diego Rivera. Frida's art work describes her personal struggle, as well as the legacy of the Latina in society during the 1920s and 1930s. 
  4. "Like Water for Chocolate." This Hispanic culture movie released in 1992 starring Yareli Arizmendi, Marco Leonardi and Lumi Cavazos focuses on food. The basic plot is a love story, but the backdrop is Mexico of the past. The movie uses the novel of Mexican author Laura Esquivel as a basis for the action. 
  5. "La Bamba." This film is a bio pic about a famous popular singer tragically killed long before his time. Richie Valens was a singer, song writer and guitarist who was born in the American Southwest to Hispanic parents. He composed and sang both in English and Spanish. Tragically, he didn't have time to make a long legacy and the film traces his early days in music. 
  6. "Y Tu Mama Tambien." This unusual road trip culture movie follows two teens and a mature woman on a journey through Mexico. The title translates to "And Your Mother, too." The Latin culture of Mexico is a basic theme, as well as the mindset of the two boys and their interaction with the woman. Alfonso Cuaron directs Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and Veronica Langer . 
  7. "El Mariachi." Robert Rodriguez directs Consuelo Gomez and Carlos Gallardo in this 1992 film about a man and his family's tradition of music. The mariachi music tradition that this movie traces provides a back story to the culture and type of music played by these musical ensembles. 
  8. "Real Women Have Curves." The title of this 2002 film exposes a Latin stereotype that real women do not appear as skinny and boney physical specimens. Real women follows the lives and tribulations of everyday Latin women. 
  9. "A Walk in the Clouds." Alfonso Arau directs this 1995 film about migrant workers in the United States. Arau again uses a love story as the basis to trace Hispanic culture in the United States. This time Keanu Reeves stars opposite Aintana Sanchez-Gijon as a World War II vet on his way across the country to find himself. 
  10. "The Perez Family." This 1995 film traces Cuban culture and the plight of some who aspire to get to the United States. The Perez Family of the title is not a real family at all. The group instead is a loose confederation of cohorts attempting to fool U.S. immigration and gain entry as a family. Anjelica Huston, Marisa Tomei and Alfred Molina are directed by Mira Nair in this Hispanic culture movie. 
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