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Movie Night: Celebrating Mexico

As Cinco de Mayo approaches, I figured now would be a good opportunity to plan a movie night with some of my favorite movies having to do with Mexico. I left off Quinceanera because I've already recommended it, but that is one of my favorite films in this genre. Rent it!

Salma Hayek's performance as Mexican painter Frida Kahlo is astounding. The film follows Kahlo's very turbulent life: from a debilitating accident, to her troubled relationship with Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina), to her reputation as a communist and lesbian, to her untimely death. The film beautifully captures the great passions and terrible pains that influenced Kahlo's artwork.

Two more if you

My Family
Admittedly I didn't take into account Jennifer Lopez's performance in My Family when I recently questioned her acting talent. The film is a heartwarming portrayal of Jose and Maria (Lopez plays a young Maria), first-generation Mexican-Americans who build a life together in California in the 1930s. As time moves steadily onward, they face discrimination, police corruption and deportation, yet they also watch as their family expands and they raise six children. The focus shifts to their son Jimmy (Jimmy Smits) who marries a Salvadoran woman to help her stay in the country. By the 1980s, the third generation in the family is struggling to assimilate to modern American youth culture. There is rarely a dull or empty moment in this film about a family's unconditional love for one another.

Y Tu Mama Tambien
This film is in Spanish with English subtitles, and it is well worth the "read." Children of Men director Alfonso Cuaron wrote and directed the riveting, sensual tale about what happens when you take two strapping young men and an older woman on a road trip near Mexico City. Let me give you a hint at the answer: some sex, jealousy, fighting — all the good stuff. Gael Garcia Bernal plays one of the young men and he is unbelievably good-looking. The film provides an excellent — if often difficult — look at Mexico in all its beauty and heartache.

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