5 Latin American Films That Have Dazzled The World

By | 03 December, 2019

122 years ago, Thomas Alva Edison invented the first device that made it possible to see moving images: the kinetoscope, with which he laid the foundations for the future development of cinema.

Latin American cinema has a transforming power, traditionally denying the bourgeois way of life to deliver to the masses a work of art where they recognize themselves.

For years it has rejected the commercial perfection of Hollywood style to find a voice of its own, derived from a unique and diverse cultural identity with a view to social and political change.

One of its goals is to turn viewers into subjects of change, into social actors who reflect on their reality and become aware of their country’s problems. Reality is the main plot of these films.

It is an auteur cinema, reflective, politicized and incisive that has been gestated in the heat of the social movements of national liberation linked to leftist thought and in search of a more authentic and democratic society.

123Movies today brings five Latin American films that have dazzled the world for their aesthetic quality and content.

Memories of Underdevelopment (1968)

From many dimensions, this film directed by Cuban Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, “Titón”, deals with the process he lived as a bourgeois man in revolutionary Cuba.

Inspired by the book of the same name by Edmundo Desnoes, Guitierrez narrates the life of an alienated man, incapable of defending himself from the past, fed up with underdevelopment but incapable of joining the revolutionary transforming process. He is only a witness who observes and remains on the margin of revolutionary Cuba.

With an excellent editing process, the film mixes the present with the past, subjective and deliberate interventions, narrative sequences with documentary aesthetics.

The camera in hand is another character who wanders through the streets of Havana and tells us what is happening. An atmosphere of uncertainty and disorder is created from the language of the film, clearly contrasting with the Hollywood style. This montage requires the viewer to make their own decoding.

Amores Perros (2000)

If we are talking about a clear cinema that reflects the Latin American reality as a mirror, we must mention Amores Perros.

A film that doesn’t try to reconcile us with ourselves or give us life lessons, only to show us as we are, imperfect and fragile.

By Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, the film has been catalogued as one of those that make cinema great.

The film that achieves with unquestionable effectiveness to capture the attention of the spectator for 2 hours and a half, shows a particular intensity and an author’s gaze. Critics have celebrated their conception of the staging, the mobility of the camera, the timing of the edition and the quality of the performances.

Amores perros narrates three stories that coincide in a tragic common point and consolidate it as a cinematographic work of high value. Rodrigo Prieto’s excellent photography manages to show the rawness and despair of the protagonists who, while disturbing us, make us a little more lucid and more aware.

The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)

This film directed by Argentinean Juan José Campanella and based on the novel La pregunta de sus ojos by Eduardo Sacheri presents two main themes: love and nostalgia.

The thriller that takes place in 1974 tells the story of Benjamín Espósito, who after his retirement as an employee of a Criminal Court decides to spend his free time writing a book in which he tells the story of his past. Reliving the past also brings to mind the memory of a woman whom he has loved in silence for years.

With a staging of latent sobriety, the film traps the viewer with a credible plot, full of twists and turns involving components of the black police in which there are both the crime of passion and the violation of the law by state institutions themselves, in this case, Argentina of the seventies.

It tackles interesting reflections on the subject of passion in its multiple forms: love, revenge, football and bohemia. The ending shakes the spectator with an unsuspected outcome that leaves aside any moral discourse about revenge and the limits between individual desire and the laws imposed by a collective.

Whisky (2004)

It is a Uruguayan comedy directed by Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll, produced jointly with Argentina, Germany and Spain. It tells a story of love, jealousy and betrayal. A convoluted triangle starring three decadent characters.

The film that takes this name because it is the word used in Uruguay for people to smile when taking a photo, is valued as a simple but intelligent film, plethoric but absolutely human, is focused on three mature characters: the pusillanimous owner of a sock factory, his faithful employee and the brother of the first character, who lives in Brazil and returns to Uruguay for the funeral ceremony of his mother.

The plot raises important issues such as loneliness, boredom, the desire to live a sad life, meaningless and practically devoid of emotion with adequate visual and dramatic terms through a minimalist aesthetic and expressive asceticism.

Experts point out that one of the keys to Whisky’s success is the way in which its directors portrayed, with their own imprint and with cinematographic influences such as that of the Finn Aki Kaurismaki, the essence and the Uruguayan idiosyncrasy, characterised by a certain grey and melancholy.

City of God (2002)

This is a Brazilian action film based on the book of the same name by Paulo Lins (1997), with a script by Bráulio Mantovani and directed by Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund.

In addition to its quality in the visual, technical and aesthetic elements, its success was also due to the social message it conveys, as it shows a Brazil unknown to many and that few want to see.

The film narrates the lives of several characters who live in Ciudad de Dios, a slum located in Rio de Janeiro. Buscapé, the narrator-protagonist, tells the story of the community according to its perspective, from its childhood.

While the protagonist fled violence, boys his age like Dadinho and Bené accompanied criminals in the region to commit crimes. Dadinho became Zé Pequeño, a dangerous bandit who took over all the drug-trafficking premises and became the owner of the region.

The film had a great international impact as it was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Picture and Best Editing categories.

City of God revolves around poverty and violence. It tells not only the story of the protagonist but of a place marked by these vexations for more than three decades.


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