Sometimes you just want to sit back, relax, maybe pamper yourself a bit, and watch a movie at home. And who says that while you’re in front of the big or small screen you can’t learn something or be inspired? We’ve already tackled films on immigration, but here are eleven other films showcasing all things Latinx. Check them out before Hispanic Heritage Month is over.
City of God (2002)
Growing up in one of the poorest favelas of Rio de Janeiro, the main character of this film manages to escape a destiny condemned to drugs through photographs. Ironically, it’s by taking photos of the opposing gangs and their drug wars that he’s able to improve the favela’s future by showing the world what a bleak outlook it has. Nominated for four Academy Awards, this film is available on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes.
The Graduates (2013)
These Latinx students aren’t afraid to face and tackle the odds stacked against them. In this documentary, they highlight the Latinx dropout crisis in the US by inspiring others and showing why they choose to not become a statistic. Available for viewing on PBS streaming.
It’s no secret that we love Frida Kahlo. In this 2002 film, Salma Hayek embodies all of what it means to be Frida—her unwavering independence, inspiring creativity, and a knack for all things unconventional. In short, her entire fierce self comes through loud and clear — and trust me, this especially stands out when you see it for the first time in 11th grade Spanish class. Nominated for six Academy Awards in 2002, this film is available on Google Play, Amazon, and iTunes.
Living Los Sures (1984)
Following the lives of a group of Latinos in South Williamsburg, this film examines the Brooklyn neighborhood on the eve of gentrification. It’s a rare depiction of a story that is very New York and told from a Latinx perspective, as the community deals with discrimination, skyrocketing housing prices, and crime. Purchase here or request a screening in your town.
Eva no duerme (2015)
This Argentine film explores not so much the life, but more the legacy that Eva Peron left in Argentina. After she died at 33 years old, she was expertly embalmed to instill an almost doll-like image of perfection across the country—a stark contrast as to how the armed forces ruling the country at the time of her death wished for her to be remembered. Starring none other than Gael Garcia Bernal, this almost psychological type thriller is one you don’t want to miss. Available on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.
Pelo Malo (2013)
This film tells the story of a nine year old Venezuelan boy (Junior) desperate to transform his curly, kinky “pelo malo” into straight and flowing “pelo bueno”. Unafraid to delve into subjects of race relations and sexual orientation during the Chavez era in Venezuela, the film brings otherwise taboo subjects to the table. With the help of his grandmother, Junior ultimately learns to love himself and realizes there is no such thing as “pelo malo.” Watch on Amazon.
El callejón de los milagros (1995)
Another film featuring Salma Hayek, this movie tells the tale of everyday life in Mexico City, though through the eyes of an unlikely trio. You’ll see distinct perspectives from the neighborhood bar owner, a young girl coming of age in the metropolis, and the jaded older landlady of the girl’s apartment building. Available to purchase on Amazon.
Nothing Like the Holidays (2008)
A dramedy about a Latinx family celebrating Christmas in Chicago, this film doesn’t hold back with its sometimes over the top and crass humor. Though no matter what your family dynamic is like, you’re sure to be able to relate to some parts of the movie—whether it’s the longstanding relationships, desire to start over, or intense emotional connections. Available to stream on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.
Stolen Education (2014)
This film shows the lesser-known side of discrimination in the Civil Rights era school system. You might know about the classic Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education to end segregation in the US, but Latinx communities were being discriminated against even after that. What stands out in this film is not the unjust treatment of Latinx students, but rather what they do to change it—by bringing the case to federal court and persevering against further discrimination in the courtroom to ultimately win. Available on free streaming site Kanopy.
Filly Brown (2012)
Gina Rodriguez plays a rapper coming into her own who is the glue holding her family and friends together while her mother is in prison. But ultimately, she’s faced with a tough decision—selling out and cashing in as a performer or maintaining her integrity as a lyricist. You can watch this Sundance Film Festival selection on Google Play or iTunes.
This film exposes the lesser-known side of the LGBTQ and drag scene in Cuba. Against all odds and in the face of an extremely turbulent family life, a teenage hairdresser comes into his own as he explores and ultimately dominates the Havana drag cabaret scene. This was Ireland’s pick for best foreign film to submit to the Academy Awards and is available to stream on Google Play, iTunes, and Amazon.