Film Resources: Latin America

Film IconHere are some great documentaries and feature films to accompany our Latin America Rising issue. 


Cover image for A Shadow Soon You Will Be

A Shadow You Soon Will Be

Fiction: 1994

The tale of a nameless computer programmer who encounters a colorful array of characters on his journey back to civilization after his train breaks down in the countryside. A blend of comedy and social commentary.

Cover image for Bolivia


Fiction: 2001

A Bolivian immigrant finds a job at a diner in Argentina. There he finds racism, violence, and economic instability. A timely piece about the social crises of Argentina, Bolivia is a powerful depiction of tensions that Latin America still battles today.

Cover image for Son of the Bride

Son of the Bride

Fiction: 2001

42-year-old Rafael is overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy. His professional and personal relationships are less than extraordinary, and he constantly lets his family down. Then a series of unusual events provoke him to re-evaluate all he knows.

Cover image for The Motorcycle Diaries

The Motorcycle Diaries

True Story: 2004

Based on true events, this film tells the story of young revolutionaries Ché Guevara and Alberto Granada as they travel across Latin America together on the back of an old motorcycle. Their road trip changes their lives forever.


Cover image for The Devil's Miner

The Devil's Miner

Documentary: 2005

Two young brothers earn their living by working deep in a silver mine. Local legend has it that the Devil himself determines the safety—or lack thereof—of those who enter. The brothers press forward, trying to earn enough money to return to school.


Cover image for Bus 174

Bus 174

True Story: 2002

This film retells the events of June 12, 2000—the day a bandit hijacked a bus full of passengers and held their lives in his grasp for over four hours while the nation watched on TV helplessly. It also explores the life and psychology of the bandit himself.

Cover image for Central Station

Central Station

Fiction: 1998

The story of a schoolteacher who takes a young boy under her wing after his mother is accidentally killed. The two embark on a search for the boy's father, and in doing so, help each other learn and grow.

Cover image for The Charcoal People

The Charcoal People

Documentary: 1999

This visually stunning piece reveals the lives of migrant workers who make their living cutting down trees to produce charcoal. One poignant section includes a man's hopes for his son's future.

Cover image for City of God

City of God

Fiction: 2002

This film, which garnered great praise from film critics worldwide, tells the tale of a young man growing up in the dangerous slums of Rio de Janeiro. Realizing the gift of his artistic eye, the boy seeks to escape the ghetto by pursuing professional photography.

Cover image for Favela Rising

Favela Rising

Documentary: 2005

Haunted by the murders of his family and many of his friends, Anderson Sa becomes a social revolutionary in Rio de Janeiro's most feared slum by igniting the AfroReggae movement. See YES! review.

Cover image for Four Days in September

Four Days in September

True Story: 1997

Based on the real-life kidnapping of an American ambassador by political terrorists. Called a “riveting thriller,” the film explores the all-too-real perils of uncooperative diplomacy and the fury of extremists.

Cover image for Hope Will Win Over Fear

Hope Will Win Over Fear: The World Social Forums

Documentary: 2003

This music-video-like documentary weaves contemporary Brazilian music in with footage from the World Social Forums, international gatherings centered around the mission of creating a more just and sustainable world.

Cover image for Orfeu


Fiction: 1999

Set in Carioca Hill, a slum of Rio, this film tells the story of Orfue, a samba music teacher who leads a marching band in the annual Carneval parade. The piece explores life in the slum, the loyalty of its citizens, and the way love persists amidst despair.

Cover image for Quilombo


True Story: 1984

This colorful film fuses indigenous folklore, social criticism, and epic storytelling against the backdrop of a pulsating musical score. The premise is based on records of real-life slaves who formed self-organized communities in the 17th century.


Cover image for Coronation


Fiction: 2000

Based on the novel by Jose Donoso, this beautiful and chilling film has won 39 international awards. It tells of an aging bachelor who becomes obsessed with the young girl he hires to care for his wicked grandmother, then descends into insanity.

Cover image for Taxi Para 3

Taxi Para 3

Fiction: 2001

In this black comedy, a taxi driver is held up by members of a gang. In desperation—and in hopes of making a quick buck—he opts to join their band of thieves. But when his life of crime endangers his daughter, he begins to have second thoughts.


Cover image for Balseros


Documentary: 2003

This documentary follows a group of Cuban citizens who travel to America on a homemade raft. It covers their fifteen-day journey and tells the story of the seven years of oppression and triumph that followed their arrival.

Cover image for Before Night Falls

Before Night Falls

True Story: 2000

The tale of the late Cuban poet, Reinaldo Arenas, and his struggle for freedom of expression. He endured imprisonment and persecution, finally seeking refuge in America and continuing his fight for the rights of the individual.

Cover image for Buena Vista Social Club

Buena Vista Social Club

Documentary: 1999

This film explores the lives of two tremendously talented Cuban musicians, their famous recordings, and the social context in which they wrote their songs.

Cover image forCuba Mia: Portrait of an All-Woman Orchestra

Cuba Mia: Portrait of an All-Woman Orchestra

Documentary: 2005

Follow the lives of gifted female performers as they strive for musical excellence while balancing their personal lives, including lovers, grandparents, children. The orchestra plays music from various cultures all over the world, but its spirit is distinctly Cuban. A seldom-seen slice of Cuban life.

Cover image for I am Cuba

I am Cuba

Fiction: 1964

This highly emotional film from the ‘60s was banned for 25 years in Soviet Russia. Combining political intrigue with threads of daily life amidst the Cuban Revolution, this piece delves into a turbulent and fascinating era of history.

Cover image for Inventos

Inventos: Hip Hop Cubano

Documentary: 2005

Hip Hop was created to give a voice to those silenced by social oppression and political persecution. This film illustrates how that mission is being applied in Cuba by artists who believe that cooperation between the U.S. and Cuba would benefit both sides.


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