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Rudo y Cursi

Title: Rudo y Cursi
Released: 2009

Plot Summary

Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal, reunited after Y Tu Mama También, are brothers who live in a rural Mexican town harvesting bananas. Rudo (Luna) spends his free time gambling and losing his wife's blender (licuadora) while Cursi's (Bernal) passion is music, which he sees as his true calling. Both brothers play soccer, and are discovered by an Argentine talent scout named Batuta who take them to DF to try out for division one teams.

Rudo y Cursi is a great story of sibling rivalry, pursuing dreams, and adjusting to success. The acting and storyline are well-done, and is the quality you would expect from a film put together by three greats: Carlos Cuarón (y tu mamá también), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores Perros), and Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth).

Language Learning Notes


Amores Perros

Title: Amores Perros (Love's a Bitch)
Released: 2000

Plot Summary

From director Alejandro González Iñárritu, Amores Perros is an extremely well-made movie from Mexico. The first scene indicates that this movie isn't going to be easy to watch: the film opens with a car chase scene, rushing to the hospital to save a dog that's bleeding to death. While on the surface the movie is about dog-fighting, it also weaves together three stories, while providing a social commentary about life in Mexico at all levels of society.

Amores Perros doesn't provide an escape from reality as many films do, but rather dives into it. Many scenes use rough camera-work, florescent lighting, and show characters as they are, like the arranger of dog fights who is fat, sweaty and scratching himself. Even Gael García Bernal (Octavio) looks like an average guy in this movie.


First Stop in the New World: Exploring Mexico City

David Lida's First Stop in the New World is a wonderfully-written look at modern Mexico City, a city he loves not in spite of its paradoxes but because of them. Having lived as an ex-pat in DF since 1990, Lida provides great insight into the culture and its idiosyncrasies from a somewhat outsider's perspective. It's clear that Lida is a journalist always looking for an interesting angle from which to explore the great city, providing tidbits that are unique to DF.


Y tu mamá también

Title: Y tu mamá también
Released: 2001

Plot Summary

This racy film out of Mexico from director Alfonso Cuarón was one of Mexico's greats and was extremely well-received internationally. The story recounts the coming-of-age of the film's two young protagonists: Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael García Bernal), who were recently reunited in 2009 film Rudo y Cursi.

The basic plot is a road trip from DF to Boca de Cielo, a beach Tenoch and Julio have invented to invite Luisa, a thirtysomething Spaniard who happens to be married to Tenoch's philandering cousin.


Music from Julieta Venegas

Julieta has been a hit for the past decade throughout Latin American, and rightly so. Her songs are so light and catchy it's easy to overlisten to her albums. Her most recent release, Limón y Sal, is full of great songs with plenty of variety: from nearly hip hop, to ballads accompanied by romantic guitar, and rounded out by upbeat poppy songs. Though born in Long Beach, California, Julieta grew up in Tijuana and her Spanish-language pop/rock has truly crossed borders within Latin America and more recently, in the US.

Her lyrics are easy to understand and listening to them is great Spanish practice!

Her newest album, MTV Unplugged is incredible and features this great adaptation of "Ilusión" with Brazilian Marisa Monte. The song is a beautiful combination of Spanish and Portuguese.


Music from Mexico: Maná

Maná remains one of the Spanish-language rock bands with the largest international fan base. When they started making music in Guadalajara, Mexico in the 80s, the group wasn't sure if a rock band singing in Spanish would appeal to the public. Their sound didn't only take off in the Spanish-speaking world, but internationally as well. Maná remains one of the most prolific, longest-running bands in Latin American history. Their most recent album is Amar es Combatir.

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