Whether romantic, tragic, innocent, or toxic, love is a feeling that has always found its place in Mexican cinema. Each director has given us a different look through which they have told us hundreds of stories set in different social contexts. Some are more raw and controversial, while others are more idealistic and classic, but none of them lose sight of what drives their characters: love.
We've put together a list of 10 must-see Mexican movies to celebrate love. If you don't have anything special planned, give some of these landmarks of Mexico's seventh art a chance and enjoy this beautiful occasion at home.
Amar te duele ("Loving hurts you")
It is a Mexican film from 2002, starring Martha Higareda and Luis Fernando Peña. A wealthy young woman falls in love with a boy from a neighborhood in the western part of Mexico City. The social class differences between the two protagonists lead to an impossible love. According to the director, Amar te duele is based on Romeo and Juliet, the classic play by William Shakespeare.
It is a version that tries to reflect the daily life of young Mexicans, emphasizing the discrimination that exists in the country and the intolerance caused by the economic situation. The film caused some controversy due to the social positions and discrimination between classes that it tries to recreate. The film became a pop culture classic in Mexico.
Mexico | 2002 | 104 min
Director: Fernando Sariñana
Renata belongs to a Mexican high society family. Ulises is poor and works with his father in the market. The two young people fall in love in a shopping mall, but this adolescent idyll meets with the rejection of their families and friends.
It is a 1953 Mexican film directed by Luis Buñuel. The script was written based on the novel of the same name by the Canarian writer Mercedes Pinto. The movie won an award from the International Federation of Film Archives, and even though it didn't do well when it came out, it is now seen as one of the director's best works.
Mexico | 1953 | 92 min
Director: Luis Buñuel
An aristocrat becomes increasingly paranoid and delusional after marrying a beautiful woman.
El placer es mío ("The pleasure is mine")
A Mexican drama film that reflects the feelings of the new generations and a faithful portrayal of sex as the first power and the engine that moves the world. The film stars Fausto Alzati, Flor Eduarda Gurrola, and Camila Sodi, and was nominated for Best Actress at the Ariel Awards.
Mexico | 2015 | 94 min
Director: Elisa Miller
Rita and Mateo are a couple who follow their impulses and passions. They decide to move to a house in the countryside to form a life together. At first, everything seems to be going well in their relationship, which is full of sex, chemistry, and fun. However, everything changes drastically when Alexis, Mateo's seductive cousin, arrives. Soon, Mateo and Rita's fragile relationship will be hurt, leading to a violent and heartbreaking couple crisis.
Enamorada ("In Love")
This is a 1946 Mexican film co-written and directed by Emilio Fernández, photographed by Gabriel Figueroa, and starring María Félix and Pedro Armendáriz. The film was proposed to compete for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1947, although it did not make it to the competition. It also received an award for best cinematography for Gabriel Figueroa at the same festival and won the prize for Figueroa's photography at the Brussels Festival in Belgium in 1947, as well as five Ariel Awards.
Mexico | 1946 | 99 min
Director: Emilio Fernández
At the time of the revolution, the Zapatista troops of General José Juan Reyes took the quiet and conservative town of Cholula. While confiscating the property of the town's wealthy, General Reyes falls in love with the beautiful, rich, and indomitable Beatriz Peñafiel, daughter of Cholula's most notable man. At first, Beatriz didn't like the revolutionary, but as she got to know him, she started to like him.
Te prometo anarquía ("I promise you anarchy")
This is a Mexican drama film that narrates the relationship between two young skating fanatics in Mexico City. It has won several awards at the Panama International Film Festival, the Morelia International Film Festival, the Festival do Rio, and the Havana Film Festival.
Mexico | 2015 | 88 min
Director: Julio Hernández Cordón
Miguel and Johnny have known each other since childhood and spend their time skateboarding with their friends in the streets of Mexico City. They sell their blood and get donors for the black market. But a large blood transaction ends badly.
Amor y sexo ("Love and Sex")
It is a 1964 Mexican drama film starring María Félix and Julio Alemán, and directed by Luis Alcoriza. It is based on the novel Sappho by French writer Alphonse Daudet. The film is known for being the only one in which Mexican diva María Félix performs partially nude, briefly showing her breasts.
Mexico | 1964 | 110 min
Director: Luis Alcoriza
A young doctor operates on an injured child, but he dies. The boy is the son of a rich woman's maid, Diana, who throws a big party that the doctor attends. Thus begins the skein of flirtations, lovers, disappointments, and love betrayals that can end in fights and hospitals.
Y tú mamá también ("And Your Mother Too")
A 2001 movie from Mexico that was directed by Alfonso Cuarón and starred Mexican actors Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna as well as Spanish actress Verdú.
It was presented in the official section of the Venice International Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Screenplay; Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal received the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Actor. It also received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. The film has been successful and is considered an icon of the so-called New Mexican Cinema.
Mexico | 2001 | 106 min
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Although they belong to very different social classes, Julio and Tenoch are close friends. At a party, they meet Luisa, a depressed Spanish girl married to Tenoch's cousin. To overcome the crisis, Luisa decides to accompany the two boys on an aimless journey. The adventure will test their friendship and mark their lives forever.
Como agua para chocolate ("Like Water for Chocolate")
A Mexican film based on the book of the same name by Mexican writer Laura Esquivel. It was released in 1992 and received 11 Ariel Awards, including Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Direction, and Best Art Design.
Mexico | 1992 | 143 min
Director: Alfonso Arau
The Mexican Revolution of 1910. Pedro Muzquiz and Tita de la Garza have fallen in love, but it is forbidden, love. When Pedro and his father ask Tita's mother for her daughter's hand in marriage, she refuses.
Amores perros ("Love's a Bitch")
This is a 2000 Mexican choral film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu in his directorial debut and co-written with Guillermo Arriaga. Together with 21 Grams and Babel, it forms the "Trilogy of Death" and catapulted the international career of its protagonist, actor Gael García Bernal. The three films are based on several sub-narratives that share the same incident. Amores Perros was a milestone for Mexican cinema after winning eleven Ariel awards and earning an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film.
Mexico | 2000 | 154 min
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
In Mexico City, a fatal car accident tragically affects three people. Octavio, a teenager, decides to run away with Susana, his brother's wife; Cofí, his dog, becomes the instrument to get the money needed for the escape. At the same time, Daniel, a mature man, leaves his wife and children to live with Valeria, a beautiful model. On the same day, they celebrate their new life, fate makes Valeria the victim of a tragic accident.
Distinto amanecer ("Different Sunrise")
This is a 1943 Mexican film directed by Julio Bracho and starring Andrea Palma and Pedro Armendáriz. It is based on the play La Vida Conyugal by Max Aub, with dialogues by Xavier Villaurrutia. The director's ability to show darkness makes his style of filmmaking an important part of history and a symbol of how hard it has been for us to become a developed country.
Mexico | 1943 | 108 min
Director: Julio Bracho
An unhappy wife is thrilled to be reunited with Octavio, a former lover who is now a union activist. Hoping to help him, she delves into the Mexican underworld, where she finds a purpose for her life.