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These Movies About Jewish Life In Latin America Are Perfect For Hanukkah

The Jewish experience in Latin America is vast and diverse. Millions of Jewish families, having fled Europe before, during, and after World War II and the Holocaust settled everywhere in the world. Here are some of the movies depicting the various Jewish communities and stories in Latin America.

“Anita”

The Argentine movie tells the story of a Jewish woman with Down Syndrome in the aftermath of the nation’s deadliest terrorist attack to date. The Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) was attacked by a suicide bomber killing 85 people and injuring hundreds. Anita, the young woman, is left wandering the streets looking for her mother, who was supposed to be at the AMIA at the time of the bombing. Argentina is home to the largest Jewish population in Latin America and the sixth-largest in the world.

“Gaby: A True Story”

The Mexican-American biographical film is about a European refugee family living in Mexico. The daughter, Gaby, was born with cerebral palsy and can only move her left foot, which she uses to type to communicate. Gabriel Brimmer is nurtured and encouraged by her nurse and it leads her to a life of advocacy and writing for the disabled community in Mexico.

“Havana Curveball”

The biography dives deep into the story of one grandfather’s journey to Cuba to escape the Holocaust in Europe. After living in Cuba for two years, he and his family move to the U.S. Decades later, his teenage son wants to do something to help the country that saved his grandfather’s life and he focuses on baseball. The sport is the young boys favorite thing so he sets to donate large amounts of baseball gear to the island but the embargo makes things hard. The rest of the journey plays out on the island as he learns more about the island where his grandfather once lived.

“O Ano Em Que Meus Pais Saíram De Férias” (“The Year My Parents Went On Vacation”)

A young boys mother and father leave him behind as they flee Brazil’s oppressive regime in 1970. During that time, Mauro is taken in by his grandfather and becomes the adopted child of a tight-knit Jewish community in São Paulo. Mauro anxiously waits for his parents to return as the nation gets ready for Brazil’s appearance in the World Cup.

“My Mexican Shivah”

This comedy takes a look at one of the most notable customs of a Jewish funeral: the shivah. As the family sits to observe shiva after the death of the matriarch, secrets of the family are slowly revealed. The movie is a funny look at Mexican and Jewish cultures coming together whole a family grapples with long dormant secrets.

“Nora’s Will” (“Cinco días sin Nora”)

The drama is a look at love and loss after Nora, Jose’s wife, commits suicide just before Passover. The woman’s plan was to bring her family together for the holy celebration but a forgotten photo might derail those plans. Jose finds the photo and it begins a journey to deeper understanding of his wife’s love.

“The Tenth Man”

Ariel, an Argentine man living in New York, is getting ready to visit his father in Buenos Aires. He is looking forward to finally introducing his father to his dancer wife but nothing is going to plan. Ariel and Monica finally arrive in Argentina after being delayed a few days and being unable to find the specific shoes his father requested. Yet, his father is unable to meet up for days as he promises to meet in person soon.

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