Cine Latino covers, well, all things relating to Latino culture and the movies, every Friday.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving we’re celebrating with movies that highlight the passion and cultural richness represented in Hispanic dishes. Enjoy!
Like Water for Chocolate (Como Agua Para Chocolate) (1992)
Set during the Mexican Revolution, director Alfonso Arau crafts a passionate love story centered on Tita and Pedro. Madly in love with Pedro, Tita is forbidden by her controlling mother to date. So when Pedro marries Tita’s sister she obsessively throws herself into cooking. The food ends up taking a life of its own, becoming an erotic feast for the senses. Like Water for Chocolate was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and a Golden Globe.
Jamón, Jamón (A Tale of Ham and Passion) (1992)
Filled with sexual energy and twisted romantic relationships, Jamón, Jamón stars Javier Bardem and a very young Penelope Cruz in her first movie role. Cruz plays Silvia, a hopeless romantic in love with Jose Luis. She works at a shop making breakfast and tortillas for the locals. When she gets pregnant, José Luis promises her marriage against his parents’ will. A bizarre love triangle ensues when Raul, an underwear model, is hired by Jose Luis’ mother to seduce Silvia. The film’s culminating scene sees the two men fighting for Silvia with a bizarre weapon of choice…two extra-large ham legs.
Tortilla Soup (2001)
Retired Mexican-American chef Martin Naranjo shares an L.A. home with his three gorgeous, but single, adult daughters. Unfortunately, over the years he lost his ability to taste, but that doesn’t stop Martin as he still lives to cook incredibly lavish family-style dinners for his loved ones. Things take a slight turn when Martin, a widower, meets a vivacious divorcee on the lookout for a mate leaving his daughters to find their own way outside the family circle.
Estomago: A Gastronomic Story (2007)
In the grand scheme of life there are those who eat and those who get eaten. Raimundo Nonato cooks in order to survive. He arrives in town without a penny in his pockets and starts working as help in a bar, sleeping in a storage room he learns how to fry "pastel" and "coxinhas." Ignorant but talented, Nonato has a hard time finding his place in life and ends up in prison. It’s behind a jail cell that he finds his drive by befriending and motivating cellmates to find their purpose through food.
Woman on Top (2000)
Brilliant Brazilian chef Isabella Oliveira (Penelope Cruz), known for melting the palates and hearts of men everywhere, leaves Brazil and moves to San Francisco after finding out her husband cheated on her. While in San Francisco she meets a TV producer who becomes smitten by her good looks and talents. He ultimately gives Isabella her own cooking show. This newfound success allows Isabella to embark on a personal journey that leads her to the perfect recipe for coming out on top.
What’s Cooking? (2000)
In LA's Fairfax district four households celebrate Thanksgiving revealing insane family tensions. Around each table, things come to a head for the Nguyen family, Avila family, Seelig family and a young married couple as conversations about an affair, a gun, a closet lesbian relationship and a pregnancy surface.
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