Documentaries are great. They are little windows into real life, often a behind-the-scenes look at something important that we normally would have limited — or no — access to. It’s part entertainment, and part education. That is why it’s so important that we watch Latinx documentaries. They’re a great way to learn more about your own Latino culture, learn about others’, and about the Latino collective that unites us all. The following are 12 Latinx documentaries that you should watch, if you haven’t already.
It’s important for us to know that si se puede, and see examples of that. Si Se Puede, The Roseland Prep Story is the inspiring tale of a largely-Latino attended Santa Rosa, California school, with a 90% college attendance rate. It stars Edward James Olmos and is available to stream now on Amazon Prime.
Available to watch now on Netflix is Cuba and the Cameraman. The documentary follows Emmy-winning filmmaker Jon Alpert, as he captures the lives of three Cuban families over four decades.
Religion is a very personal thing. A lawyer sets out to experience different people’s connection to La Virgen Maria in the documentary Tierra de Maria. The film is available to watch on Netflix.
Available to watch now on Amazon Prime, The Living Forest is a documentary on the Kichwa peoples of the Amazonic Sarayaku region of Ecuador. They are fighting against oil companies who are threatening their ancestral land.
An ancestral DNA test can open up a whole new world to someone. In the documentary, Residente, this someone is rapper Residente, a.k.a., Rene Perez. His test takes him on a trip, to discover his roots while unearthing new musical inspiration. You can catch the doc now on Netflix.
Salsa is an important part of the overall Latino soundtrack. The 2016 documentary, Yo Soy La Salsa, now on Amazon Prime, takes a look at the history of the musical genre, as well as one of its icons, Johnny Pacheco.
Out of Many, One is a 34-minute documentary which follows different immigrants to the United States, who are preparing for their citizenship test. You can watch the film now on Netflix.
Guillermo del Toro is one of the producers of the documentary, Ayotzinapa, el paso de la tortuga. The film tells the story of the 43 students of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in Mexico, who, in 2014, were kidnapped by police and forcibly disappeared.
Peru: tesoro escondido is a documentary on Netflix, showing the immense beauty of the country and what it has to offer. The film is separated into five sections: culinary culture, the Amazon, “the cultural heritage of ancient civilizations,” beaches, and the Cordillera.
The Bronze Screen: 100 Years of the Latino Image in Hollywood
The 2003 documentary, The Bronze Screen, which you can watch now on Amazon Prime, takes a look at the history of Latinos, and our culture, in Hollywood. An entire century of Latino excellence is covered in the film.
Another Netflix film that focuses on Peru and its culture/history is Hostages. It takes a look at the 1966 hostage crisis, which took place at the ambassadorial residence of the Japanese ambassador to Peru.
How many times have you seen a Latinx superhero? Maybe not as often as you should have, but they do exist. Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics (which is also a book!) is a documentary which chronicles all the Latino heroes, heroines, and villains who have appeared in comic books since the 1940s. Watch it now on Amazon Prime.