Sunday, June 16, 2024

Mexico News Daily staff picks 2023: Films and series

Looking for something to watch over the holiday season? We’ve got you covered with this list of favorite films and series about Mexico, or by Mexican filmmakers, curated by the Mexico News Daily team.

Tell Me When (Dime cuándo tú)

Available on Netflix, “Tell Me When” is a by-the-book rom-com, but it’s a cut above because it’s sort of sweet and semi-funny – and Mexico City plays a starring role! It’s about a nerdy L.A. workaholic who travels to Mexico to retrace his grandfather’s footsteps and perhaps find love along the way. The lovelorn 20-something is played by Jesús Zavala, who also portrayed the nerdy Hugo Chavez on Netflix’s “Club de Cuervos.” The 2021 film features dialogue in both English and Spanish, with subtitles as needed.

Recommended by Andy Altman-Ohr, staff writer

Northern skies over empty space (El norte sobre el vacío)

This film, directed by Alejandra Márquez, won best picture at the Ariel Awards this year. It is a slow-burning family saga set on a ranch in northern Mexico that creates an atmospheric tension so taut, it lingers long after you’ve finished watching.

Recommended by Kate Bohné, chief news editor

Chicuarotes

Anxiety-ridden story about life in Mexico City for two teenagers looking for a better life. Shocking, brutal but honest.

Recommended by Gordon Cole-Schmidt, contributing writer

Totem

Totem movie poster

Mexico’s entry to the 2024 Oscars, Totem is a minimalist narrative that gives deep emotional space to a single event – a birthday party for a dying father. I love the direction and screenplay. Totem is perfectly Mexican in its depiction of family, friends and loss.

Recommended by Caitlin Cooper, editor

La Huesera

La Huesera is a perfect example of Mexican filmmakers’ flair for a good horror story. In this case, the fear-factor comes from the supernatural “huesera” but also from the nightmare the protagonist becomes trapped in after shaping her life to fit other people’s preferences.

Recommended by Rose Egelhoff, editor

A Million Miles Away

Directed by Alejandra Márquez, this film tells the true story of how the son of grape-pickers succeeded in becoming an astronaut.

Recommended by John Pint, contributing writer

La Casa de las Flores

I watched this series prior to moving to Mexico City and I watched it again a year into my new life here. It was great the first time, but it was excellent the second. There are loads of funny, cultural quirks that I hadn’t picked up on before living in CDMX, from family dynamics to colloquial language to Mexico’s love/hate relationship with Spain. I LOL’ed often. I hope you will too.

Recommended by Bethany Platanella, contributing writer

Like Water for Chocolate (Como agua para chocolate)

This film, based on a book of the same name, tells the story of Tita, the youngest daughter of the De la Garza family. At the time of the Mexican Revolution, family tradition required the youngest daughter to stay at home and take care of her mother (until her mother’s death) instead of marrying. Tita falls in love and expresses her feelings through cooking. This movie has it all: great photography, excellent story and a touch of magical realism. You can’t miss it.

Recommended by Rosario Ruiz, editor

Everybody Loves Somebody

I love how the bilingual dialogues, charming scenery, and amazing cast refresh the typical rom-com plot in this movie. Set between Los Angeles and Baja, the story follows a young doctor who finds herself torn between an ex-boyfriend and her new Australian co-worker at a time when her parents (who have been together for 40 years) decide to get married.

Recommended by Gabriela Solís, staff writer

Roma

This Oscar-nominated film depicts the complex class system in Mexico during the 1970s from the viewpoint of a live-in Indigenous (Mixtec) housekeeper of an upper-middle-class Mexican family. The fallout from Cuarón’s controversial multi-award-winning masterpiece galvanized many to challenge class differences that remain prevalent today.

Recommended by Mark Viales, contributing writer

Deseo

Deseo poster

Set in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and directed by native Antonio Zavala Kugler, this 2013 film has some big Mexican movie stars and epic cinematography, music, acting and direction. The director’s Latin twist on Arthur Schnitzler’s play “Reigen”- a satirical, seductive romp through aristocratic decadence – is provocative, humorous and beautiful to look at. A Mexican gem!

Recommended by Henrietta Weekes, contributing writer

Don’t miss our first MND Staff Picks 2023 listing favorite books, and stay tuned for favorite foods and cultural experiences in the coming weeks.

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