Photo courtesy of Hispanicize

One of the best ways to take your mind off anything is to watch a film. Whether independent or a blockbuster, chances are that it’ll keep you entertained. Why? Because movies transport you to another universe that doesn’t involve checking your emails or notifications for at least an hour and a half.

Hollywood is bittersweet, though. Last year, a study found that only 7 percent of movies in 2019 featured a lead/co-lead Hispanic/Latino actor. This is a hard-to-believe reality, considering there are so many talented Latinos in the film industry. What’s more is that out of the 1,3000 films that were recorded, only 1.9 percent were represented by Latino women.

However, that doesn’t mean that no excellent cinema comes from international spaces that don’t revolve only around American talent. 

Here are four classic and highly-acclaimed Latino movies from beyond our usual Hollywood picks that will take your mind off returning to work.

‘Amores Perros (2000)

Gael García Bernal is arguably one of Mexico’s most prominent actors and producers. Before his crossover performances in Hollywood, he cemented his craft in Mexico. One of those now-classics is “Amores Perros,” a psychological drama directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. Although it was Iñárritu’s directorial debut, the movie was actually nominated for the Academy Awards under “Best Foreign Language Film.” 

‘Midaq Alley (El callejón de Los Milagros)’ (1995)

This Mexican film was released in 1995, adapted from the novel written by the Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz. In this version, the Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek plays the lead. It follows themes such as gay and lesbian topics, Mexico City’s lower to middle class, and other issues from three perspectives. 

‘The Rose Seller (La vendedora de rosas)’ (1998)

This Colombian film directed by Víctor Gaviria was released in 1998. It was adapted from the novel written by Hans Christian Andersen. This particular version features the Colombian actress Lady Tabares. The movie follows the story of Monica, who, at 13, has already created her own world on the street, where she fights courageously to defend what little she has: her friends, her boyfriend, who sells drugs, and her dignity and pride that makes no concessions to anyone. On Christmas night, like every night, she sells roses to make a living. But life brings her a new appointment: loneliness, poverty, drugs, and death.

‘Maria Full of Grace (María, llena eres de gracia)’ (2004)

This Colombian and U.S. project was directed by Joshua Marston. It follows “a pregnant Colombian teenager [who] becomes a drug mule to make some desperately needed money for her family.” The lead actress was portrayed by Colombian actress Catalina Sandino Moreno, who was nominated for the Academy Award for “Best Actress” for this role. 

Do any of these choices spark an interest?