The following are the ten fundamental and emblematic titles of the 10 best Mexican movies 1991 - 2021.
La mujer de Benjamín (1991)
An adult man living with his sister decides to kidnap the object of his desire, an insolent young woman. Carlos Carrera's opera prima served to demonstrate that the graduates of a national film school -the CCC in this case- could make a great professional film. In this ironic variant of the Beauty and the Beast myth, all the school participants debuted with the right foot.
A fortunate debut of director Guillermo del Toro, in which vampirism is transmitted by a millenary insect. The black humor, the entomology, and an emotional force - usual elements in his films - are fundamental to the unquestionable originality of the film. Unfortunately, it is doubtful that Del Toro will film again in Mexico, as his imagination goes beyond the budgetary limitations of our country.
Amores perros (2000)
The film that established Alejandro González Iñárritu as an important auteur is this trilogy of stories associated with a car crash and the presence of, of course, dogs. With strong performances by the entire cast and dynamic filmmaking, the director's debut feature would become a watershed in the history of national cinema. Several subsequent films would try to imitate its structure.
Así es la vida... (2000)
A free adaptation of Seneca's Medea, in which the losing party in a love triangle (Arcelia Ramírez, splendid), lives in a neighborhood courtyard in Chilango and plots a terrible revenge. As the first Latin American film to be made digitally, Ripstein takes advantage of the new medium to play with narrative and the very presence of the camera. Another brilliant meditation on the fragile nature of love.
Las Vueltas del Citrillo (2006)
In the Porfirian era, soldiers commit various crimes and outrages under the influence of pulque. Cazals evokes his debut film, La manzana de la discordia (The Apple of Discord), as he dwells on a theme that has been a constant in his filmography, the degradation of male behavior due to a determining social environment. The filmmaking is convincing and the performances are magnificent.
Amat Escalante's third feature film examines, with sober and convincing sobriety, how drug trafficking violently breaks into a humble family living in one of the many villages of the Mexican province.Heli is the name of the young man who tries to survive all this. With an implacable gaze, the young filmmaker has included a torture sequence that is hard to bear.
La jaula de oro (2013)
Three Guatemalan teenagers board the railroad known as La Bestia (The Beast) to reach the United States and improve their lives. Spanish director Diego Quemada Diez's debut feature is a bitter recounting of the ordeal implicit in the journey made by countless Central Americans in search of the promised land. A sober and uncompromising film.
Three young people from the capital city search for a legendary urban singer-songwriter. Alonso Ruizpalacios' debut feature is an original creation that assimilates his diverse influences in a fun, fresh, full of vitality and very expressive discourse on the current state of the national youth. The result is one of the most playful and enthusiastic films in recent Mexican cinema.
Las niñas bien (2018)
The second feature film by Mexican Alejandra Márquez Abella has been inspired by Guadalupe Loaeza's book, to achieve a subtle satire about a privileged social class, in times of economic crisis (the film is set in 1982). Centered on the brilliant performance of Ilse Salas, seconded by an impeccable cast, the satire never becomes obvious.
The vicissitudes of a middle-class family from Mexico City and their environment are seen from the perspective of the maid (Yalitza Aparicio) who works for them. Alfonso Cuaron's definitive masterpiece is a historical fresco of the early 1970s in Mexico, combining the emotional and the political in a discourse of great subtlety. (Not that it matters, but it is the first Mexican film to compete for the Oscar for Best Picture, winning Best Foreign Language).
Sources: The Leonardo García Tsao Collection, Telemundo