Latin American Favorites from the MFAH Film Department April 28, 2020

The Museum’s film department introduces audiences to critically acclaimed and innovative films from around the world, including Latin America. Over the past 13 years in Brown Auditorium Theater, we have screened more than 115 films by Latin American filmmakers—each reflecting the vibrant cinema landscape that continues to develop in the region.

Narrowing a list of favorites was challenging, but I’ve selected five that you can enjoy at home.

1) Silent Light (2007)
Carlos Reygadas’s tale of infidelity in the insular environs of a Mexican Mennonite community is populated by nonprofessional actors speaking an ancient form of German, but whose dilemma of right and wrong is universal.

2) Alamar (2009)
A film that blurs the line between feature and documentary, Alamar is an excellent father-son story set in the paradise of Banco Chinchorro in Mexico.

3) Neighboring Sounds (2012)
In this film by Kleber Mendonça Filho (who would go on to co-direct Bacurau), a private security firm is brought in to protect residents of a prosperous coastal town. “A collision of the past and future in an uneasily fluid present” —New York Times

Alamar   /   Neighboring Sounds

4) Embrace of the Serpent (2015)
This stunning black-and-white film left me speechless. Never had I seen any filmmaker encapsulate the evils of colonial exploitation as director Ciro Guerra does in Embrace of the Serpent. He describes it as “an attempt to build a bridge between Western and Amazonian storytelling.” A masterpiece.

5) Zama (2017)
Colonialism is a scar written on the pages of many histories worldwide, and in the hearts of both conqueror and conquered, as Lucrecia Martel so masterfully displays in perhaps her finest work. From the breathtaking cinematography to the brilliant performance of Daniel Giménez Cacho, this period drama is in a class all its own.

Embrace of the Serpent   /   Zama   /   Ray Gomez, film department

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