5 Films Based in Latin America That Impacted Me

CONFESSION: I am passionate about learning history, especially history related to my people. And, of course, films based on events that marked Latin America’s past are my favorites to watch.

But not all films in that category have been my most-liked, not because their stories didn’t matter, but because I thought they had a lack of rawness and sensitivity. Yes, both. I believe that in order to tell a story in a film that marked one or one million people, the film needs to portray both characteristics.

5 Films Based in Latin America That Are Worth Watching

I have collected my favorite films based on Latin America. They impacted me. They opened my eyes. And life will never be the same after you watch them. I know I am missing good titles, so let me know in the comments which is a must-watch!

1. Machuca

It has been 10 years since I graduated from college and to be honest, my memories from that period of my life are now vague. But if there is one day that I-can’t-forget- is when my awesome Chilean teacher, Mr. Bahona, made us watch “Machuca”  To say it was powerful is an understatement. This movie is set in Chile, during the last days of President Allende and the first days of Pinochet. It talks about the story of a pair of 12-year-old-boys from opposite extremes of society who became friends and have to face experiences far beyond their age.

2. Con mi Corazón En Yambo

This documentary film is close to my heart. It’s set in Ecuador, and although the tragic event happened when I was a toddler, it changed the country that I grew up in completely and also influenced greatly the way I mother my own children. Written and directed by Maria Fernanda Restrepo, this film is a homage to the director’s abducted brothers. It took me A LONG TIME to watch it because of its unavailability in the U.S., but it was definitely worth the wait. I wrote more about this films on this Instagram post.

3. God Willing Yuli

One of my closest friends is Dominican and in our conversations we have discussed the complexities of her home country. One of the things that have perplexed me to learn is the political and cultural conflict that exists between Haitians and Dominicans. My friend (who blogs at Embracing Diversity) introduced me to God Willing Yuli, a new documentary that showcases a personal story and represents the struggle of many Haitians in the Dominican Republic.

RELATED POST: Around Latin America in Bilingual Books

3. No

ANOTHER CONFESSION: I haven’t watched this movie, yet. Yikes. However, I decided to add it to this list because my mother told me that it’s amazing. And I trust my mother. Plus, I love Gael García Bernal’s work.

This Oscar-nominated film is the true story of an advertising executive who designed a campaign to defeat dictator Augusto Pinochet in Chile’s 1988 referendum. And, that my friends, makes this movie a must-watch!

4. Sin Nombre

I wish every single person in America could watch this movie. It sensitively portrays the struggle with immigration and it gives you a glimpse of what many undocumented immigrants have to go through. We need more of these films!

5. City of God

This movie is raw, violent and tragic. I couldn’t finish it but that doesn’t mean that it is not a good film. On the contrary, it seemed too real that I had to pause it. If you are interested to learn about the Rio favelas, this is a film to watch.

A few other titles…


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