It still absolutely boggles our minds that Latinos make up such a significant percentage of the U.S. population, yet we continue to be so grossly under-represented in the world of television and movies. Latinx actors are routinely looked over even for the roles of Latinx characters and there are still only a handful of Latinx directors and filmmakers who have gained major recognition for their work, and those who have are all men. The work of directors like Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu, is undoubtedly exemplary, but we think it’s far beyond time to shine the spotlight on some truly talented Latina film directors.
So this Women’s History Month, we’ve rounded up some of the very best films directed by Latinas, and while we had to dig deep to find them, it was totally worth it. These movies are interesting, insightful and honestly, quite different from a lot of what’s out there these days, further proving that more Latina representation in the film world will help bring new perspectives and well…better entertainment options to the masses. Keep scrolling to find out which Latina-directed films you should watch this Women’s History Month.
Real Women Have Curves
Directed by Patricia Cardoso who is originally from Colombia, Real Women Have Curves is the OG Latina-helmed film, not just on this list, but pretty much overall. It of course stars a young America Ferrera and is about a teenager trying to reconcile her ambitions with her family’s expectations. Cardosa, went on to direct a number of made-for-TV movies as well as a huge number of television shows.
Argentinean director Julia Solomonoff Nobody’s Watching, is a fascinating film about a man who abandons his acting career in Argentina and moves to New York City after a difficult break up with his married producer, only to find that making it in the Big Apple, is a lot more difficult than he ever expected.
Everybody Loves Somebody
There’s nothing like a good rom-com and Mexican director, Catalina Aguilar Mastretta, definitely delivered with the 2017 film Everybody Loves Somebody. It’s about a woman who asks her co-worker to pretend to be her boyfriend on a trip back to Mexico for a family wedding, only to be completely caught off-guard when her ex shows up too.
Directed by Argentina’s Lucía Puenzo, XXY is an intense film about about a teenager born with both male and female sex organs. Already confused about her identity, she’s confronted with her feelings when family friends arrive for an overnight visit at their beach house and she finds herself attracted to a boy her age.
Venezuelan director Mariana Rondón garnered some attention in the film world back in 2014 with the release of her film Pelo Malo, about a young boy desperate to turn his curly hair straight much to the despair of his mother, who is raising him without a father, and already struggling with the idea that her son might turn out gay without a dad around.
Okay, so the 2003 film Chasing Papi definitely plays up the old “Latin Lover” stereotype, but honestly, it’s too much fun to watch for us to mind all that much. From director Linda Mendoza, the film is about a man with three girlfriends in three different states, who all end up following him to Los Angeles, it stars many of the biggest Latinx celebs in Hollywood including Sofia Vergara and Roselyn Sanchez, both of whom went on to have very successful acting careers.
No, not that Endgame. Directed by Carmen Marrón the film stars Modern Family‘s Rico Rodriguez as a young chess player following in the footsteps of his Mexican grandfather, who was once a chess champion. When he joins his school’s chess team, he sees a unique opportunity to not only get some positive attention for himself, but also to help bring his struggling family together.
Under the Same Moon
Under the Same Moon stars Eugenio Derbez and Kate del Castillo and is directed by Patricia Riggen who is originally from Mexico.The film truly highlights the struggles of Latin Americans who travel to the U.S. in search of a better life. The film follows a young boy from Mexico as he attempts to cross into the U.S. illegally in order to find his mother after his grandmother who was his guardian passes away. Sounds like a serious tearjerker.
Most of us still remember the horrific 2010 mine collapse in Chile. In the film The 33 starring Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro and Lou Diamond Phillips, director Patricia Riggen chronicles the events that led up to the collapse and the rescue mission, as well as the experiences of the miners themselves as they struggled to survive. The gripping film is sure to elicit some intense emotions and might even restore your faith in the human race.
Gregory Go Boom
Gregory Go Boom starring Michael Cera is a short film from Panamanian-American director Janicza Bravo, about a young, paraplegic man who moves away from home and so badly wants to start dating, but discovers all too quickly that not just the dating scene, but life itself don’t quite live up to his expectations. Janicza has a lot coming up the pike, including the feature film Zola, which is set to premiere in 2021.