related films

Posted May 17, 2011 9:15 pm  


For all that we love chocolate, there are not many good film that feature it.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Like Water for Chocolate, Mexico’s first commercially successful “art” film, made in 1992 by Alfonso Arau. Either romantic or annoying, depending on your taste.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, by Mel Stuart starring Gene Wilder, 1971, from the Roald Dahl book and

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a remake by Tim Burton in 2005 starring Johnny Depp.

The first a little creepy, the second a little flat.




Many, many wonderful films about Mexico, or about a fictional Central or South American country that might as well be Mexico.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God

Aguirre, the Wrath of God*, Werner Herzog’s masterpiece about the Spanish conquistadors’ mad passion for gold, made in 1972 and starring Klaus Kinski.

The Mission, by Roland Joffee in 1986, starring Robert de Nero and Jeremy Irons.  A flawed film but a good depiction of colonial abuse and a priest’s attempts to protect them.

Frida, an entertaining film about Frida Kahlo by Julie Taymors, starring Selma Hayek.

The Cradle with Rock, Tim Robbins 1999 film about politics and art in the 1930’s, in which Rivera struggles with Rockefeller over his mural projec.

Exterminating Angel*, one of Buñuel’s great Mexican films and a surreal satire of Mexico’s monied class, made in 1962.

For a more modern surreal social commentary, Amores Perros*, a brilliant and deeply disturbing Mexico City trilogy, by Inarritu in 2001.

And another—and also great—Y Tu Mama Tambien*, 2001 by Cuarón.

A shocking film for the Mexicans, who are respectful of the Catholic church, and quite wonderful, The Crime of Father Amaro, by Carrera in 2002.



This is a subject on which there are any number of excellent films. In 2008, in honor of Black History Month, The New York Times published a wonderful list of the top 25 films on race.  Not included, but still very good, are:

Imitation of LIfe

Nothing but a Man, about race relations in the 1960’s by Michael Roemer, 1964.

Black Like Me, the true and gripping account of John Griffin’s experience passing as a black man, made in 1964 by Carl Lerner and starring James Whitmore.


A NY Times article by Nelson George reviews and interprets the history of films about race. Acknowledging that good films on the subject are few and far between, George lists the many good documentaries and considers among the greatest to be, Eyes on the Prize, a 14 hour long series made for PBS-TV by Henry Hamton and shown in two installments in 1987 and 1990.

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  • Liz Thurber   May 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Your website is so amazingly wide-ranging, and rich, an exorbitant
    feast! I don’t know where to start!