This article is written by one of the language teachers at italki Image by Andrés Nieto Porras (CC BY-SA 2.0)
There are lots of good movies produced in Latin America that are not well-known in the rest of the world. Some factors that explain this situation are the low budget with which they are filmed and the language (after all, most famous movies are filmed in English).
If you are looking for some good movies to watch this weekend, here I provide you with a short list of Latin American movies that can help you to improve your Spanish. You won’t regret watching them! Make some popcorn, take a seat, and prepare to enjoy good cinema.
Diástole y sístole: los movimientos del corazón (Colombia, 1999)
Directed by Harold Trompetero, this movie tells different love stories and shows some of the “stupidities” that people do when they are in love. It is a bitter portrayal of how superfluous some relationships can be, without mutual understanding and full of selfishness and infidelity. The movie combines humorous and sad situations in a balanced way.
No (Chile, 2012)
The movie “No” is set in the year 1988 in Chile, the last year of the regime of the dictator Augusto Pinochet. At that time, the dictator called for a referendum to determine whether he should extend his rule for another eight years, after about sixteen years in power. People could vote “yes” or “no”, and this second option is the one that gives this movie its peculiar name.
The film shows the difficulties that opponents to the regime had to face to create their propaganda and make their message heard to the general population. In 2012, it was nominated for an Oscar as “Best Foreign Language Film,” although it didn’t win.
El secreto de sus ojos (Argentina, 2009)
This movie is set in the 70s in Argentina. It tells the story of Benjamín Esposito, a retired man who worked in law for 25 years. Obsessed with a murder which happened 30 years ago, he starts writing a novel about the brutal case, of which he was in charge. As he writes, he has to search in his own thoughts for the traces of his own past. Writing the novel becomes no mere literary aspiration, but the key to finding his own truth—a discovery that will allow him to live a new kind of life. This excellent film won an Oscar for “Best Foreign Language Film" in 2010.
El crimen del padre Amaro (México, 2002)
This drama tells the story of a young priest, Amaro, who is sent to a parish in the small town of Los Reyes to help the local parish priest in his duties. Amaro is seduced by a beautiful woman, Amalia. Amaro faces hard times in an internal struggle to uphold his vow of chastity or to give in to his own carnal desire for this woman. He finally succumbs and Amalia becomes pregnant. What comes next is a hard dilemma full of suspense and intrigue.
El crimen del Padre Amaro won the Ariel award as best movie of the year and was nominated to the Oscar, but didn’t win the latter.
Whisky (Uruguay, 2004)
Pablo Stoll and Juan Rebella were only thirty years old when their film was released at Cannes, where it won the FIFPRESCI Award. The film tells the story of a sourpuss owner of a sock factory who is visited by his successful brother from Brazil. As the owner doesn’t want to give the impression that his life is boring and dull, he asks his best worker to pretend to be his wife. It’s a humorous lie with eccentric details that will keep your attention the whole movie.