entertainment

You Have To Check Out These Spanish-Language Movies On Netflix Right Now

Verónica / Netflix

There is no question about it: streaming, like Netflix, has revolutionized the entertainment industry. All of a sudden, we have hundreds of movies within reach. Navigating the Netflix catalog can sometimes be overwhelming and frustrating, especially if you are looking for very specific content.

Want to watch something in Spanish? No hay bronca, te ayudamos. Here’s a list of 21 films that are totally worth watching and that span horror, action, romance, drama, and every single genre imaginable. Going through this list is a good chance to get acquainted both with the cinema of Latin America and Spain, and the movies that are being produced by Netflix itself. So dig in.

These titles are available on Netflix in the United States as of February 2019.

“Pickpockets” (Carteristas)

Country: Colombia

Director: Peter Webber

Year released: 2018

Credit: Pickpockets / Netflix

A sort of modern-day Oliver Twist-like tale. This film set in Bogota tells the story of two teens who wish to become successful pickpockets. Of course, we can see how trickery and deception can lead to tragedy.

“Perdida”

Country: Argentina

Director: Alejandro Montiel

Year released: 2018

Credit: Perdida / Netflix

Give us a strong female lead anytime. The story of an Argentinian cop who tries to solve the mystery of her best friend’s murder is pure horror. The snowy background of Patagonia gives the film an uncanny feeling that is hard to shake off.

“A Twelve-Year Night” (La noche de 12 años)

Country: Uruguay

Director: Alvaro Brechner

Year released: 2018

Credit: A Twelve-Year Night / Netflix

A claustrophobic but ultimately inspiring biopic about Pepe Mujica, a political activist who was imprisoned for more than a decade during the military dictatorship, but who would eventually become president. Our own Latino Nelson Mandela.

Remastered “Massacre at the Stadium” (Masacre en el estadio)

Country: Chile

Director: Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt

Year released: 2019

Credit: Massacre at the Stadium / Netflix

Victor Jara was one of the most beloved singer-songwriters in Latin America, as well as a fierce leftist. He died or perhaps was killed on the eve of the Pinochet years in Chile. This documentary delves into his disappearance.

“How to Get Over a Breakup” (Soltera Codiciada)

Country: Peru

Directors: Bruno Ascenzo, Joanna Lombardi

Year released: 2018

Credit: How to Get Over a Breakup / Netflix

Peruvian cinema is quite scarce. Few films get funded and when they do they are generally brainy arthouse movies. This is why Netflix is changing the rules of the game, producing genre pieces like this funny, if average, romantic comedy. A copywriter in Lima searches for answers in a blog written for single women and becomes an online celeb.

“Residente”

Country: United States

Director: Residente

Year released: 2017

Credit:  Residente / Paraiso Pictures

The front singer of the iconic Puerto Rican duo Calle 13 takes a DNA test and then embarks on a worldwide trip in search of his roots. A poignant and hopeful film about what makes us alike, rather than what makes us different.

“Even the Rain” (También la lluvia)

Country: Spain / Bolivia

Director: Icíar Bollaín

Year released: 2010

Credit: Even the Rain / Alebrije Cine y Video

This film is an intense look at the past and present processes of colonization. A film crew is shooting a movie about the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas. They are shooting it in Bolivia, where corporations are trying to steal people’s access to water. Past and present oppression collide in this Oscar-nominated film.

“Ayotzinapa, el paso de la tortuga”

Country: Mexico

Director: Enrique Garcia Meza

Year released: 2018

Credit: Ayotzinapa, el paso de la tortuga / Salamandra Producciones

Produced by Guillermo Del Toro, this documentary tells the story of the disappearance of the 43 students in Guerrero, Mexico. Was it the army, was it the cartels? No one seems to know a definite answer.

“Verónica”

Country: Spain

Director: Paco Plaza

Year relased: 2017

Credit: Verónica / Netflix

This Spanish horror film is truly shocking and this comes as no surprise as the director is a longstanding figure in the genre. Ay, nanita!

“The Skin of the Wolf” (Bajo la piel del lobo)

Country: Spain

Director: Samu Fuentes

Year released: 2017

Credit: The Skin of the Wolf / Netflix

The plot line is as problematic as it sounds: a lonesome hunter buys a wife so he can feel less alone. Damn, some pretty wrong stuff here. The movie, however, is an interesting study on human relations and the eternal struggle of man vs. nature.

“The Perfect Dictatorship” (La dictadura perfecta)

Country: Mexico

Director: Luis Estrada

Year released: 2014

Credit: The Perfect Dictatorship / Bandidos Films

Luis Estrada has built a career of offering us comedies that seem like reality. Here, he spares no bullets in denouncing corruption in the Mexican government.

“The Desert Bride” (La novia del desierto)

Country: Argentina

Directors: Cecilia Atán, Valeria Pivato

Year released: 2017

Credit: The Desert Bride / Ceibita Films

The story of a woman in her mid-50s who was a domestic worker in Buenos Aires and basically had no life of her own beyond servicing her employers. What does life have in store for her in her hometown in the country?

“Pizza, Beer, and Cigarettes” (Pizza, Birra, Faso)

Country: Argentina

Director: Bruno Stagnaro

Year released: 1998

Credit: Pizza, Beer, and Cigarettes / Instituto Nacional de Cine y Arte Audiovisuales

A heist movie, a genre that was pretty much in fashion during the late 1990s after the release of indie films in the U.S. like Reservoir Dogs. This crime drama set in Buenos Aires tests the limits of friendship and loyalty.

“México Bárbaro”

Country: Mexico

Directors: Isaac Ezban, Laurette Flores Bornn, Jorge Michel Grau, Ulises Guzman, Edgar Nito, Lex Ortega, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Aaron Soto

Year released: 2014

Credit: México Bárbaro / LuchaGore Production.

Eight tales of horror and the supernatural that take place in Mexico. The directors are skillful in providing chills while dealing with the violence that is affecting the country.

“Patria”

Country: Mexico

Director: Matías Gueilburt

Year released: 2019

Credit: Patria / Netflix

Writer Paco Ignacio Taibo II explores a key moment in Mexico’s political history: the mid to late nineteenth century. Yes, sounds like a snoozefest, but it isn’t: the commentary is lively and it makes history quite entertaining, just like the best documentaries.

“Pan’s Labyrinth” (El laberinto del fauno)

Country: Mexico / Spain

Director: Guillermo Del Toro

Year released: 2006

Credit: Pan’s Labyrinth / Wild Bunch, Tequila Gang

Perhaps Guillermo Del Toro’s best movie. Set in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, the story mixes the horrors of war with the soothing fantasy world imagined by a girl.

“Time Share” (Tiempo compartido)

Country: Mexico

Director: Sebastian Hofmann

Year released: 2018

Credit: Time Share / Netflix

One of Netflix’s best Spanish-language originals. The film follows a father who brings his family to a resort where things are much more macabre than they seem. An allegory of the problems of corporate culture, which can be so similar to religious cults.

“Black Snow” (Nieve negra)

Country: Argentina

Director: Martin Hodara

Year released: 2017

Credit: Black Snow / Pampa Films

A family thriller set in the magnificent landscape of the Argentinian Patagonia, with one of the world’s best actors, Ricardo Darin, at the helm. What could go wrong?

“Y tu mamá también”

Country: Mexico

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Year released: 2001

Credit: Y tu mamá también / Twentieth Century Fox

Diego, Gael, Maribel. The three amazing actors and gorgeous humans embark on a road trip that will make them explore their emotional and sexual limits. A true classic of New Mexican Cinema.

“City of God” (Cidade de Deus)

Country: Brazil

Director: Fernando Meirelles

Year released: 2002

Credit: City of God / O2 Filmes

One of the best movies ever made, according to numerous film critics. This epic portrayal of the Rio favelas has been compared to Scorsese’s best crime grand narratives. Truly exceptional.

“Roma”

Country: Mexico

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Year released: 2018

Credit: Roma / Netflix

What else can we say about this instant classic? Ten Oscar nominations are just fair for this film of motherly love, historical magnitude, and tender artistry.


READ: 21 Reasons Why You Simply Must Watch Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar-Nominated ‘Roma’

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Latinos Have A Long History Of Being Nominated At The Academy Awards With Some Major Wins

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Latinos Have A Long History Of Being Nominated At The Academy Awards With Some Major Wins

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“Roma” is obviously the talk of the town leading up to the Academy Awards ceremony, but Latino talent has made itself heard for decades. Actors, directors and cinematic craftspeople have been nominated and sometimes been declared the winners. For example, Mexican directors have won four out of the last five Best Director Oscars. Here’s a list of some of the standouts of Latino origin in Oscar’s famed history. This year “Roma” could indeed make history as the first Spanish-language film to win as Best Picture.

Here’s a brief look into the history of Latinos are the Oscars and the wins and nominations that validated our work in the industry.

Salma Hayek: nominated for “Frida”

Category: Best Actress in a Leading Role

Year: 2002

Credit: Frida / Miramax Films

Now that the can of worms concerning Harvey Weinstein is open and that we know that he bullied Salma all throughout the production of this film, we are even prouder of her. She gave us a performance for the ages despite the dire circumstances in which she had to embody Mexico’s most famous painter.

Guillermo Del Toro: nominated for “Pan’s Labyrinth” (El laberinto del fauno)

Category: Best Foreign Language Film

Year: 2006

Credit: Pan’s Labyrinth / Estudios Picasso, Wild Bunch, Tequila Gang

Del Toro first got the spotlight with this amazing fantasy film. He didn’t win, losing to the German “The Lives of Others,” but he certainly made an impact.

 

Adriana Barraza: nominated for “Babel”

Category: Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Year: 2006

Credit: Babel / Paramount Pictures

The veteran telenovela actress impressed us with her portrayal of a nanny caught in the midst of a terrible twist of fate. Her character was tender, yet brave.

Benicio del Toro: win for “Traffic”

Category: Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Year: 2001

Credit: Traffic / Compulsion Inc.

We can forgive this Puerto Rican actor his fake Tijuana accent. Through his imposing figure, he could really communicate the violence and despair involved in the cartel wars, north and south of the border.

Guillermo Del Toro: win for “The Shape of Water”

Categories: Best Director and Best Picture

Year: 2018

Credit: guillermo-del-toro-shape-of-water-bts. Digital image. Variety.

His reimagining of fairy tales set in the Cold War era is an impressive feat, a lovely ode to the monsters he loves. It is a spectacular achievement in film.

Alfonso Cuarón: win for “Gravity”

Category: Best Director

Year: 2014

Credit: cuaron_gravity. Digital image. Variety

This movie is a miracle. Not even Stanley Kubrick had made us feel like we were in space. Cuarón’s mastery of cinematic space left the Academy speechless and for good reason.

Alejandro González Iñárritu: win for “Birdman”

Categories: Best Director and Best Picture

Year: 2015

Credit: birdman-alejandro-gonzc3a1lez-ic3b1c3a1rritu. Digital image. Variety.

The Mexican director had already been nominated for “Babel,” but with “Birdman” he actually had fun! And it shows. His take on the state of the movie industry won the top prizes in the 2015 ceremony and established him as a powerhouse in Hollywood.

Alejandro González Iñárritu: win for “The Revenant”

Category: Best Director

Year: 2016

Credit: therevenantinterview-932×501. Digital image. Deadline.

Oops, I did it again. Yes, the director repeated the feat with this extremely violent yet beautiful film that also gave Leonardo DiCaprio his first Oscar after tons of nominations.

Juan J. Campanella: win for “The Secret in Their Eyes” (El secreto de sus ojos)

Category: Best Foreign Language Film

Year: 2010

Credit: The Secret in Their Eyes / Tornasol Films

This is perhaps one of the best Latin American films ever made. A brainy and emotional take on the scars that the military dictatorship on Argentina left for people to deal with. Ricardo Darin is in his element, a true acting legend.

Demián Bichir: nominated for “A Better Life”

Category: Best Actor in a Leading Role

Year: 2012

Credit: A Better Life / Summit Entertainment

An important film about migration gave Bichir the opportunity to shine. He is an illegal worker who fights the system in order to be able to care for his son. Heartbreaking. Brace yourselves for a year or two in the not-so-happy ending.

Anthony Quinn: nominated for “Zorba the Greek”

Category: Best Actor in a Leading Role

Year: 1965

Credit: Zorba the Greek / Twentieth Century Fox

The Mexican actor is a true Hollywood legend and this is perhaps his most famous role. Ask your abuelito and he wi will start singing and dancing to Greek music. Believe us.

Fernanda Montenegro: nominated for “Central Station” (Central Do Brasil)

Category: Best Actress in a Leading Role

Year: 1999

Credit: Central Station / Audiovisual Development Bureau, Ministerio da Cultura, BEI Comunicações

The veteran Brazilian actress was vulnerable and heroic in her portrayal of a woman who cares for a lost child.

 

Catalina Sandino Moreno: nominated for “Maria Full of Grace”

Category: Best Actress in a Leading Role

Year: 2004

Credit: Maria Full of Grace / HBO Films

This Colombian actress came out of nowhere to gather a nomination for portraying a drug mule who also happens to be pregnant. She is wise beyond her years.

Rita Moreno: win for “West Side Story”

Category: Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Year: 1962

Credit: West Side Story / The Mirisch Corporation

What an energetic Latina goddess! If you haven’t watched this classic musical, do it a la voz de ya!

Gabriel Figueroa: nominated for “The Night of the Iguana”

Category: Best Cinematography

Year: 1965

Credit: The Night of the Iguana / MGM

The veteran Mexican cinematographer shot this John Huston movie and showed everyone why the Golden Era of Mexican cinema had produced such amazing images.

Rodrigo Prieto: nominated for “Brokeback Mountain”

Category: Best Cinematography

Year: 2005

Credit: brokeback-mountain-lg. Digital image. MovieStillsDB

Alongside Guillermo Navarro and Emmanuel Lubezki, Prieto has shown that Mexican cinematographers are a force to be reckoned with. He worked with Ang Lee to produce majestic images of the American West as the backdrop of perhaps the most celebrated mainstream queer romance of all time.

Guillermo Navarro: win for “Pan’s Labyrinth”

Category: Best Cinematography

Year: 2006

Credit: Pan’s Labyrinth / Estudios Picasso, Wild Bunch, Tequila Gang

What an amazing win for Navarro. He had been working in the Mexican film industry for quite some time, but it was his careful rendition of Guillermo Del Toros feverish imagination what got him the coveted statue.

Fernando Meirelles: nominated for “City of God”

Category: Best Director

Year: 2003

Credit: 7AN54PJB6VFS7N6R6KJULBL2RU. Digital image. Los Angeles Times.

Energetic and punchy: “City of God” injected new energy to Brazilian cinema and made Hollywood look at a forgotten national film industry. Meirelles went on to build a fruitful career in Hollywood.

Carlos Saura: nominated for “Tango”

Category: Best Foreign Language Film

Year: 1999

Credit: Tango / Adela Pictures

The most Argentinian film you can think of. Elegant costumes, dramatic plots and dance moves that will make you sweat. With this nomination, Saura established himself as the leading director of his generation.

Claudia Llosa: nominated for “The Milk of Sorrow” (La teta asustada)

Category: Best Foreign Language Film

Year: 2010

Credit: The Milk of Sorrow / Generalitat de Catalunya – Institut Català de les Indústries Culturals (ICIC)

This Peruvian movie deals with the problems and joys of being a Latin American woman. A great film about the new role of Latinas, who are mothers, carers and independent women.

Emmanuel Lubezki: win for “Gravity,” “Birdman,” and “The Revenant.”

Category: Best Cinematography

Years: 2013, 2014, 2015

Credit: Emmanuel-Lubezki-Failing-Mentorless.com_-e1457105662609. Digital image. Mentorless.

After having gone home Oscar-less five times, Lubezki took three in a row. He has worked with the best directors in the world, including Tim Burton, Terrence Malick and obviously Cuarón and González Iñárritu.


READ: ‘Roma’ Leads With Ten Oscar Nominations Including For First Time Actress Yalitza Aparicio

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