Pitizion is the stage name of María del Pilar Pérez, an actress and songstress from Bogotá who has taken the Latin music scene by surprise, deliberating songs full of sensitivity and soul.
Her career began in the world of television. In 2011 she landed a supporting role in ‘Grachi’, Nickelodeon’s teen series, followed by a couple of Telemundo telenovelas including ‘Corazon Valiente’ and ‘Un esposo en alquiler.’
The talent of this Colombian goes far beyond acting, as she recently decided to venture into the world of music, achieving extraordinary results. Pitizion’s style is difficult to put into a category, but what is clear is that she has managed to earn a place for herself in today’s Latin American pop music scene.
With her first single, titled ‘Ella’, Pitizion defined herself as an artist willing to break all the models imposed on the current reggaeton scene. ‘Ella’ is a song that mixes a danceable and tropical rhythm with subtle guitar chords. What makes her first single special is the message in her lyrics. A pop-reggaeton song that talks about self-esteem and overcoming a toxic relationship.
Now we have the pleasure to listen to her new single, ‘Tú’, which is visualized by an inspiring music video. Once again, Pitizion chooses to use her platform to give us a positive message, this time speaking directly to her followers and giving them the importance of self-love.
Pitizion promises to change the industry and warm our hearts with songs full of positivity, so necessary in these times we live.
Summer is here, and while many people would rather go to the beach or hang out with their friends, some others would prefer to stay home and continue practicing social distance. In either case, we bring you a list of 7 of our favorite alternatives to binge-watch this summer…
Mucho, mucho amor (Netflix)
Netflix released a new documentary film titled ‘Mucho, mucho amor’ about the legend, icon, and beloved astrologist Walter Mercado. In case you didn’t have the chance of watching Walter Mercado on TV, something that could be the case if you’re maybe too young, I’ll give you a brief summary: He was an astrologer that began his career in 1970, with a 15-minute segment on Telemundo, where he made astrological predictions. He quickly became very famous and had a successful career that started in Latin America and extended to the whole world. Sadly, he recently passed away on November 19, due to kidney failure.
Undone (Amazon Prime)
This critically-acclaimed adult animation tells the story of Alma, a mixed young woman struggling with her own demons. She’s, ironically, done. She’s bored of her husband, her work, and her family. Then, one day Alma’s monotone life is over when she sees a projection of her dead father standing in the middle of the road, leading her into a car accident. Then, at the hospital, her father appears once again, telling Alma she’s special, just like her grandma, who had dementia. She starts to think, of course, that she’s crazy. The show is for sure a trip, a wild one, but totally worth it. You’ll be able to feel a deep connection with the main character and her story, how she struggles with her own feelings, and the things she cannot control. Rosa Salazar’s acting as Alma is superb; the animation style is so simple and classic yet innovative and breathtaking. If you like stories than can mix outstanding character development with a complex and twisted plot, you’ll love Undone.
If there is one thing Netflix stands out for, is for bringing a great variety of interesting documentaries. This time we would like to highlight Disclosure. This original production explores the representation of the trans community in the media from the beginnings of cinema to the present day. This documentary is a must to understand the impact of the media in our society and how it conditions us to act towards a minority in the real world. In Disclosure, we can hear testimonies from Chaz Bono, Tracy Lisette from ‘Transparent,’ MJ Rodriguez from ‘Pose,’ Candis Cayne from ‘Dirty Sexy Money,’ and many other trans artists who have struggled to represent their community under a positive light. In these times of social change, this documentary is a must see for anyone who wants to empathize with the LGBTQ+ community and learn about their history and the challenges they face.
Love, Victor (Hulu)
This brand new TV Show works as a spinoff of the famous teen movie ‘Love, Simon.’ This one is about Victor Salazar, a fifteen-year-old who had to move from his old small town in Texas into a bigger city, Atlanta. He’s excited to have a new life, a fresh start, where no one knows him. He wants to experiment and discover himself, what he likes, and what he doesn’t like. The show is mostly about Victor’s sexuality, who is confused whether he likes boys, or girls, or both -maybe none-. Being from a small, religious, Latin family, he has never had the opportunity to talk about it with anyone before, and now that he’s in a new place and everything is changing, he thinks it’s the right time to do so. It’s very easy to fall in love with these characters, who fell relatable since we all were once teenagers and can quickly put ourselves in their place. Well done and just deep enough, ‘Love, Victor’ takes you into a nostalgic trip to your days in high school and how intense, uncertain and explosive it is to be a teenager.
Control Z (Netflix)
‘Control Z’ is one of the newest Netflix additions to the platform. It is, of course, a Netflix original series, and it’s set in Mexico, more specifically around El Colegio Nacional, a prestigious high school for rich kids. The main protagonist is Sofia, but the show follows a lot of other characters in her class. She’s an obsessive girl who’s always following the details of everyone’s life closely just for the thrill of it, she’s also an outcast, since she tried to kill herself sometime in the past, and everyone looks at her differently ever since then. And of course, since it’s a school where everyone is rich and living their best life, people do not want to befriend the mentally unstable girl. But things change one day in a school reunion, where a transgender student is outted in front of the whole school by a hacker who intends to leak everyone’s secrets. Lives start to crumble down as all the lies they’ve told start to unveil, and the only one clever and careful enough to find out who the hacker is the eagled-eye weirdo Sofia.
In many musicals, we see that they are trying too hard to rhyme and follow the music with the words and stories they are telling. It feels unpleasant and inorganic most of the time. Still, with Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote something so complex like the rise and fall of a founding father from beginning to end. And not only the story of Alexander Hamilton, but his friends’, his wife’s, and her sisters’, and many other characters. All of this without falling into something that feels like the attempt of a good song. He actually made good, enjoyable songs. Every one of them has something unique, but at the same time, they are cohesive, making the story easy to follow at all times.
La Casa de las Flores (Netflix)
In case you haven’t heard about this show, La Casa de las Flores is a dark comedy about the De la Mora family. The show starts with a woman killing herself in the flowering shop of this family, making everyone discover that the father of the family had another woman and child. The De la Moras’ life then starts falling apart, they will struggle with money and relationships since they all discovered that the father was a cheater. La Casa De Las Flores is a super fun story about love, family, revenge, and forgiveness. It’s not that emotionally charged, and the acting, as well as the aesthetics are well put together. We can affirm no one was expecting it to be that good being a Mexican TV show that came out of nowhere, lucky for them; it was a huge success in Latin America. The chapters are short too, and the show is already finished with three seasons, so it’s perfect to binge-watch on the weekend with friends. It has some explicit content, but nothing we have never seen before.
We’ll keep adding more to the list. Please continue to share with us what you have enjoyed so far!
In case you just don’t know what Hamilton is, that I doubt it’s the case if you are a fan of musical theater, it is one of the most famous and acclaimed musicals from Broadway, scripted and composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and directed by Thomas Kail. This past Friday, July 3rd, Disney+ has released the original cast’s official footage enacting the famous musical on stage.
The “HamilFilm” as fans have been calling it on Twitter, has been much anticipated since the writer and protagonist, Lin-Manuel Miranda, announced it on his social media. They were letting everyone know that they had filmed the movie with the original and now retired cast. It was going to be available for everyone to watch real soon. Now, as promised, here it is. And everyone is going nuts, because the movie didn’t come to disappoint anyone, and as I’m writing this, it went certified fresh with 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
For those of you who actually know the musical, and maybe have listened to the original album, you may know that this musical is pretty long, and the film, true to its source material, is no exception. The movie length is two hours and forty minutes, or so. Still, if you think that’s a drawback, first, you have to know that it’s going to be a funny, engaging, and emotional ride through Alexander Hamilton’s life, one of the ten Founding Fathers of the United States of America. The musical portrays his beginnings and the story of some characters involved in the revolution.
The film does feel catching and involving. At all times, once you catch up with the story and the musicality, you feel like you’re watching them acting live like you were experiencing everything sitting right there, front row, clapping, and laughing with the audience. It truly is a sort of a magical experience, this said by someone who is not actually into musical theater. Lin-Manuel Miranda has a way with words and music. He was able to do something that not every musical theater composer has the ability or talent to do. That is the talent of telling a story through music without sounding corny or ridiculous.
In many musicals we see that they are trying too hard to rhyme and follow the music with the words and stories they are telling. It feels unpleasant and inorganic most of the time. Still, with Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote something so complex like the rise and fall of a founding father from beginning to end. And not only the story of Alexander Hamilton, but his friends’, his wife’s, and her sisters’, and many other characters. All of this without falling into something that feels like the attempt of a good song. He actually made good, enjoyable songs. Every one of them has something unique, but at the same time, they are cohesive, making the story easy to follow at all times.
The rest of the cast is awesome too, they feel natural and well-chosen, and they all are incredibly talented. They move around the stage singing live and sometimes dancing while projecting complex emotions. The whole cast is really engaging and so fun to watch on stage. If I had to choose a favorite, It would be the three Schuyler sisters. They did a terrific job in this one; every time they came into the shot, I was always looking at them and following them even though the song wasn’t really about any of them, not to mention that all my favorite songs from the whole musical are all theirs.
Another personal favorite is Leslie Odom Jr. playing General Burr, who serves as a sort of antagonist throughout the story, and I think he did a fantastic job with his role. He certainly was another of the standouts every time he came into the stage.
Now, I don’t want to give away too many details or spoilers, even though this musical is based on actual history, just if someone doesn’t know anything about Hamilton and wants to live the full experience while watching the film. With that said, I’m just going to end things right here and know that I fully encourage you to watch Hamilton on Disney+, even if you don’t consider yourself a musical theater fan. I think this has the potential to be everyone’s cup of tea.
We’re excited to share that you can see Alaina Castillo on the cover of our Premier Issue of Musica Roots Magazine!
Many of us met her with her EP ‘Antisocial Butterfly’ released just last November. Since then, the Mexican-American songstress has not stopped working and sharing her art. Only in April – five months after her debut – Alaina Castillo would release a new EP, ‘the voice notes’. An acoustic and personal work in which nostalgic R&B tunes stand out.
Alaina was born between American and Latino culture, which can be seen in all her work. With each EP, Alaina seeks to appeal to both audiences by including songs in Spanish and English or even Spanglish, and we must admit that she sounds perfect in any language.
That intention to reach Hispanic audiences has become clear after she released her new EP ‘mensajes de voz’ on May 22. The Spanish counterpart of her previous EP shows the same sentimentalism and immersive melodies while translating all her songs into Spanish.
Q&A WITH ALAINA CASTILLO
Musica Roots: When did you first realize you wanted to become an artist?
Alaina Castillo: I always had a feeling that this was everything that I wanted to do but I think I really knew in eleventh grade because I was at a low point in life and I started asking myself, “what will make me happy?” and this was it. I started posting more covers after that and planning out how I wanted everything to go but I never could have imagined that my life would have turned out this way.
Musica Roots: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not creating music?
Alaina Castillo: I love to just relax with friends, watch Netflix, cook & eat, and before Coronavirus, I enjoyed going to the beach or little spots around LA to get inspired by nature or anything that comes to mind. Even when I’m doing things outside of the studio, I still constantly get little vibes for music that just stick in my head until I’m back in the studio and able to write about it.
Musica Roots: What have you enjoyed the most during this epidemic?
Alaina Castillo: Probably how chill everything is. My life feels super crazy and amazing but it’s nice to have a moment to just relax and reset for a second. I can’t wait till it’s over though because I have never wanted to switch up my schedule more. I feel like the days are just melting together and I miss being able to do certain things but I know when it’s all over and everyone is healthy, everyone will just be super happy to be able to go out and do things in public.
Musica Roots: Which platform do you enjoy the most in creating content? Why?
Alaina Castillo: YouTube is where I first started posting and making covers and I’ve always loved how diverse the creative side is on that platform but I also love Instagram because there are a lot of ways to interact with the fans.
Musica Roots: Do you have a dream venue to perform?
Alaina Castillo: I actually started realizing about a month ago that I have three bucket list goals and one of them is to perform at Madison Square Garden in NYC! I’ve heard so many amazing things about performing there so it’s just turned into a dream of mine and I really hope it happens!
Musica Roots: Tell us a fun fact that would shock us?
Alaina Castillo: I once tried to learn Japanese, French & Italian. I’m kind of obsessed with languages and went through a phase where I had four textbooks for each language because I wanted to learn them immediately. Maybe not that I have more time during quarantine, I can start to learn them again!
Musica Roots: What are you working on? What’s next?
Alaina Castillo: I’ve been spending a lot of time in the studio with Romans during the quarantine so we have been working on music constantly and I’m so excited for what’s to come! Hopefully after everything is back to normal, I can finally tour and see all the amazing people who have been supporting me through these past few months!
Gepe is one of the most prominent Chilean pop artists right now. He has toured all over the world, being featured in biggest festivals like Lollapalooza. Gepe’s signature sound mixes traditional Chilean instruments and modern rhythms like Synthpop or Reggaeton. Even when Gepe is a star shining across Chile and the world, he’s still very unknown between the mainstream public; perhaps the current Reggaeton trend hasn’t allowed Gepe to connect with a bigger Latino audience.
talk about Gepe’s music, we need to talk about the folklore of Chile. In Latin
American countries, the word “folklore” means a lot. Folklore is the
cultural expression shared by a specific group of people. Folklore is hugely
different from one country to another.
is one of Latin America’s biggest countries. It has been on the news lately due
to the protests and social troubles, but Chile is also one of the most
prominent Latin countries in terms of education, economy, and culture.
to cultural and historical reasons, Chilean folklore is studied by dividing the
country into four geographical areas and its cultural manifestations: the
north, south, central, and austral. The study of the Chilean cultural images is
a tremendous work that Gepe has tried to translate into his music productions.
mix of traditional rhythms with newer styles and sounds has always been a
complicated task. In Latin America, the study of culture and folklore is seen
as a serious work, and some intellectuals tend to be skeptical about this
fusion, making it harder for musicians to access theories and history of their
countries’ traditional musical expressions. Most people in the continent tend
to appreciate foreign cultures more than the national culture, which tends to
leave traditional artists a bit unnoticed.
However, some artists achieve the goal of mixing traditions with other styles and influences, and one of those lucky musicians is Gepe. ‘Folclor Imaginario,’ his most recent album, is probably the most outstanding example of Chile’s traditional music passion.
Some people may say that he’s bringing back the Chilean culture or that he’s “rescuing” Chile’s traditional music, but he thinks otherwise. “I’m not rescuing anything; I do it because I like it” is one of the things he has said, referring to his latest record.
like the vast majority of Latin people, Gepe has mixed origins. Due to the
Spanish conquer over the Latin continent, the majority of us have European
ancestors as well as indigenous ancestors, in Gepe’s case, he has Spanish and
Mapuche –an original tribe from Chile and Argentina— bloodlines.
to this racial mix, Gepe has grown up surrounded by a love and a passion for
his original culture. He calls it his primary reference, and he’s trying to
reflect his mixed origins in his music; “I have done it more and more
lately, and I will probably do it until the end.”
peak of his love for the Chilean traditions is his latest album “Folclor
Imaginario,” which means “Imaginary folklore,” in which he
recorded covers of Margot Loyola, one of the most influential historians and
folklorists of Chile.
Margot Loyola, his biggest inspiration…
Loyola is an essential figure for the Chilean culture. She dedicated her life
and worked into researching and documenting the traditional Chilean music and
dances, from one point of the country to the other. She traveled from coast to
coast during months, doing ethnographic records, interviews, and research in
indigenous communities, trying to collect and understand the root of Chilean
cultural expressions. She was also a musician, and all her hard work can be
appreciated in her music. She included almost everything she learned from the
origins of her country’s traditional music.
was a pioneer in her researches, and her interest was to document and transmit
all she learned from those communities to the public in general. Gepe had the
big honor of meeting her just two years before she passed away, and she became
the main inspiration for Gepe’s latest album.
Imaginario” is a compilation of Margot’s sound and Gepe’s creativity; he
describes it as “more than just covers” because he tried –and
achieved— to bring all the traditional elements of the Chilean culture to meet
and mix with newer sounds and instruments.
album is the perfect reflection of Gepe’s passions. He managed to mix traditional
instruments with guitars, drums, and electronic instruments. This is a
beautiful homage to all of Margot’s years of research and dedication to her
country. Margot’s work is finally
brought closer to this generation blended with Gepe’s unique sensibility.
latest record shows his appreciation to all her hard work and it aims to
achieve Margot’s dream: Bringing the Chilean culture to the people.
is a daily thing, we live with it every day, so it is effortless to mix and
make it match with modern expressions,” says Gepe.
Many of us will remember 2017 as the year Lorde blessed us with Melodrama, or as the year Kendrick Lamar consolidated himself as a rap prodigy with DAMN. But 2017 was also a significant year for the Latino community, as this would be the year in which a song in Spanish would break almost every record on the Billboard Hot 100.
Do you remember this song? Yes, we’re talking about Des-pa-ci-to.
Luis Fonsi’s hit song featuring Daddy Yankee – later remixed with Justin Bieber, sold 10 million copies only in the US. Despacito reached 16 consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 ranking. Its reign on the charts could only be stopped by Taylor Swift’s controversial comeback Look What You Made Me Do.
Whether we love or hate this catchy song, we can’t deny it had a significant influence on the American industry, opening many doors for Latino urban artists like J Balvin or Bad Bunny. Latino culture is trendy; there isn’t a club where you don’t hear reggaeton, even major Latino stars like Shakira and JLo starred in the most emblematic event of American culture, Superbowl Halftime Show. We are everywhere, and we are here to stay!
In this article, we proposed to explore the trajectory of 5 artists with Latin roots who have been stepping into the global music scene, bringing their rich influences in sound and tradition to both mainstream and underground publics.
Venezuela, Arca is one of the most innovative artists on the music scene. At
the age of 24, the producer had already collaborated with big names in the
industry like Kanye West, in his acclaimed cult album Yeezus. But her breakthrough moment wouldn’t come until Bjork
recruited her for her comeback album Vulnicura.
Arca is known for pushing boundaries between what’s listenable or not, mixing
Reggaeton-like beats with industrial noises and busy productions.
As a solo
artist, she has released 3 Albums and several mixtapes and Eps. Her homonymous
record (2017) took us all by surprise. For the first time, we were able to hear
her magnificent opera-like voice; in songs like Reverie – a queer, post-apocalyptic revision on Simón
Diaz’s classic Caballo Viejo, the
singer mixed and intricate electronic production along with overwhelming
be responsible for shaping modern R&B and urban genres, her industrial
productions have been present in works like FKA Twigs’ LP1 and Kanye West’s Yeezus. Two highly influential albums
that have inspired a new generation of artists.
the Venezuelan producer has announced she’s releasing a new album, Kick I, later this year, which will
feature Bjork and Sophie’s collaborations later. We can’t wait to see where
this music provocateur will take us.
Colombian-Canadian singer and producer rose to fame when she received the
highest award in Canadian music in 2017. La
Papessa (2016) took the grand prize over albums by Leonard Cohen, Gord
Downie, and Feist. It was the first Spanish speaking record to win the Polaris
award – not to mention that Pimienta would be the first queer Latina woman to
win such an award.
Wayuu and Afrolatina’s roots can be seen all over her sophomore album, La Papessa. Her mix of champeta, electronic and African music
was perfectly blended into this lo-fi, self-produced record. Her lyrics are not
exempt from her strong social sensitivity, addressing issues like female
empowerment, queerness, race, machismo, and other Latin-American dynamics.
After the success of La Papessa, we were eager to see what the Colombian singer would bring on her new project. Miss Colombia arrived this year, and our expectations were exceeded. In this new record, Lido shows us a new pop sensitivity mixed with the typical folkloric sounds that already define her. The most moving moment on the new album comes from Pelo Cucú; this song features a local Tambor group headed by an Afro-Latina woman. Pelo Cucú could be the Barranquilla equivalent to Solange’s Don’t Touch My Hair since Lido celebrates her curly hair against European beauty standards.
Both La Papessa and Miss Colombia are great exponents of Lido’s range and creativity. We couldn’t be more glad to have such a prodigious representation of Afro-Latino culture.
the trail of Becky G, Anitta, and Karol G, there’s Paloma Mami, the new rising reggaeton promise. Paloma Castillo was
born and raised in Manhattan until she moved to her parents’ homeland, Santiago
de Chile, at 16.
her first steps to fame in 2018, on a local talent show. Paloma knew that she
was too much for the show, so she released her first single Not Steady, previous days before the
premiere. Paloma definitely knew how to use clout, since she lasted just two
weeks in the show, starring a dramatic self-elimination.
after the release of her single and her first performance as the opening act
for Arcangel, Paloma would be signed by Sony Latin Music, becoming the first
Chilean artist to achieve this milestone. Her next single No Te Enamores reached one million views on YouTube in just 24
hours after its release.
Fingías was the song that catapulted her to
international fame. An immersive urban theme with a subtle and seductive
production. It currently has 80 million views on YouTube. Paloma has
collaborated with C. Tangana and some of the most prodigious producers in the
urban scene, like Tainy or El Guincho.
co-wrote her last single Goteo with
Spanish superstar Rosalía! It’s only a matter of time before Paloma Mami
releases her debut album, which we are sure will break many records.
Medellín rapper is a pioneer in the urban genre with about 15 years of an
artistic career. Like Ivy Queen, Farina was the first woman to break into the
urban gender in Colombia.
Colombian public met her in 2005 when she participated in The X Factor, where
she placed third. After remarkable participation in this popular program,
Farina would become a local star. She was launching singles and albums, even
playing a role in a successful novel.
It wasn’t until 2013 when Farina took an international jump, releasing Pum Pum ft Ñengo Flow. In 2017, Farina was signed by Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s record label. And since then she’s been working hard and releasing reggaeton bangers.
It’s only a
matter of time before Farina becomes a world superstar. Her rapping skills are
astonishing; she can sing, spit bars, dance, and act. Farina is much more than
a triple threat.
accumulate millions of views on YouTube. Así Así, her latest collaboration with
Maluma, has 47 million views. Farina is an artist who has been able to evolve,
adapting to new platforms like Instagram or Tiktok.
Farina recently went viral when she posted her own Savage remix. She took Megan Thee Stallion’s viral song and gave it her own Latina rap twist – just like she did with Blueface’s Thotiana. Dropping iconic bars like No me hablen de mares cuando nadan en peceras, si eres tiburón yo soy la lanza pesquera. (Don’t talk about the ocean when you swim in a fishbowl if you think you’re a shark, I’m the fishing spear).
wait to see Farina share the mic with rap queens like Nicki Minaj or Megan Thee
Stallion (Please Jay Z, make this happen!).
We already mentioned him, but it is impossible to make a list of remarkable Latino artists without mentioning El Conejo Malo.
the most recent cover of Rolling Stone, Benito has been breaking records and
pushing boundaries like no one else in the reggaeton
February, Bad Bunny released Yo Hago Lo
Que Me Da La Gana, debuting at number two on the Billboard 200 in the
United States, becoming the highest-ranking Spanish-language album in history
on that list.
has changed everything we thought we knew about urban music, mixing musical
genres and playing with its genre expression, he has created his own identity.
Critically praised and commercially successful, Benito is the new blueprint for
every urban artist.
Stones, Pitchfork, Billboard charts, NBA All-Stars, Superbowl half-time show,
are just a few of the impressive milestones this young Boricua artist has
is the ideal time to discover these film gems that reflect both the richness of
the Latino imagination and the shortcomings of our society. In the following
article, we give you a brief overview of five pieces of contemporary Latin
American cinema that you must see. All of them feature powerful discourses that
may challenge your vision of our society, along with impeccable photography and
don’t find anything new to watch on Netflix or if you are bored of watching the
typical rom-com over and over again, we invite you to check this list and enjoy
the best of our Latin cinema.
Ema is a
Chilean drama film directed by Pablo Larraín. The story follows the life of Ema
(Mariana di Girolamo), a young dancer whose marriage walks the tightrope after
an accident forced them to give back their adopted son, Polo. Taking place in
today’s Valparaíso, Ema features a captivating and striking aesthetic as well
as a curious narrative style that keeps you on the edge of your seat, trying to
guess and connect the dots to understand why Ema does everything she does. She
is a wounded woman who is constantly reminded of what a terrible mother she is,
even though her only wish is to have her adopted son back. In the first half of
the film, as the information is given to you in dribs and drabs, it is
difficult to understand what is going on, however, when we’re reaching the
film’s climax when all the pieces fit together, the story is finally complete,
leaving a wholesome feeling. Ema gives you a journey that’s definitely been
worthwhile. The film is incredibly well acted, from the smallest role to the
leading one, and has polished photography by Sergio Armstrong.
The Similars (2015)
Los Parecidos is a Mexican mystery and science fiction film directed and scripted by Isaac Ezban. What resonates about this move is its particular aesthetic that imitates the 60’s-70’s horror films. The Similars follows the story of 8 people trapped in a bus station –where almost the entire movie takes place– during a storm that seems to have no end. Two workers, a man whose wife is giving birth in Mexico City, a pregnant woman, a young medical student, a shaman, and a single mother in charge of her very sick child are the ones trapped in the station. Everyone is desperate to get out of there, but no one can, and the longer they have locked up the stranger it gets at the station, paranoia starts acting on everyone, which leads to a surreal twist you don’t want to miss. The film’s aesthetic, treated like the old, B-movie sci-fi horror productions, is flawlessly achieved. The movie doesn’t rely on its creepy aesthetic; it features some incredible acting choices and a script that makes you pay close attention to the bizarre protagonists in their collective anguish. As it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, if it is your cup of tea, you will enjoy this movie as much as it should be enjoyed.
From Afar (2016)
(Alfredo Castro), a small businessman in his 50s who works in his own dental
clinic, wanders the streets of Caracas’ slums looking for young boys. He spots
them, stalks them, and approaches them, money in hand, clearly visible with his
intentions. Once at home, he does not touch them. His abuse does not involve
carnal contact. The film focuses on the relationship he establishes with Elder
(Luis Silva), one of the street boys he frequents. Venezuelan director Lorenzo
Vigas’ opera prima has a premise that explores the dynamics of power amid a
country where misery reigns. The film took the top prize at the 2015 Venice
International Film Festival and received several nominations in international
festivals. The extremely subtle narrative of ‘From Afar’ invites the viewer to
make a personal interpretation of the plot. The main actions of the film can be
seen from a psychological point of view, taking into account the shortcomings
and past of each of the characters, or from a social point of view, where money
and privilege prevail.
A Fantastic Woman (2017)
Lelio directed this mesmerizing yet profoundly moving and thought-provoking
Oscar-winner film about Marina (Daniela Vega), a transgender woman dealing with
grieve following the death of the love of her life (Francisco Reyes). Daniela
Vega does a splendid performance. Marina’s stoic, exhausted, and almost
apathetic reaction to her lover’s death is what is genuinely haunting about the
film. She indeed knew it was bound to happen, but that does not make it any
less shocking. What follows next is not only her journey dealing with the pain
of grieve but also having to deal with humiliating and prejudicial situations
around her transgender status. Vega has a genuinely fascinating face, and the
camera makes the most of it. There’s a nightclub sequence that moves from pain
to sheer sensuality to a fantasy dance number. Still, there’s a depth to her
characterization, which is unparalleled and makes the film truly something. The
last act doesn’t hold as good as the previous ones; however, this is a great
film and a necessary one. It’s hard to even talk about LGBT matters in most of
Latin America, that’s where the significance of Sebastian Lelio’s work lies.
Pelo Malo (2013)
Venezuelan film directed by Mariana Rondon was the dark horse of the 61st San
Sebastian Film Festival, winning the Golden Shell against all the odds. In the
film, we meet Junior, a nine-year-old boy with “bad hair.” He wants
to straighten it for the school photo, but that brings him into conflict with
his mother, a 30-year-old widow struggling to cope in a hostile society. His
paternal grandmother offers to take care of the boy for good, but it seems she
only wants him to take care of her when she gets older. The mother does not
accept and begins the re-education of Junior, who adores his mother and wants
her to accept him. This film was definitely ahead of its time, addressing
issues as sensitive as LGBT+ Youth, race, and Euro-centric standards of beauty.
Conversations that today seem to be popular both in cinema and in any media
platform. Built from the innocence of childhood, Bad Hair is a heartbreaking
story of how difficult it is to be black and different in a society full of
Perhaps you already knew or watched some of these movies, in that case, we invite you to rewatch them after reading this article and relive these exciting exponents of Latin American cinema.
The last couple of months have been wild. From getting news about illnesses to social distance from our friends, family, and work, we are now adapting to the new routines while we hope for everything to be over soon. Quarantine has been a challenge because our daily schedules changed utterly, and we have a lot of time at home and no clues of what to do to get distracted.
Let’s face it, the first days were quite easy, and we were super enthusiastic about doing new things or fixing stuff we needed at home, but now it has been two months, and most of us already ran out of ideas. Things are getting extraordinarily dull, and we need to get action as soon as possible.
What can we do? I was thinking about that when I realized that I needed to try something that made me feel better while being at home. I haven’t seen my family in a while, and I guess most of you haven’t as well, so I came up with the idea of trying to recreate the flavor of my favorite homemade food more easily.
(Let’s mark the word easy; I’m definitively not a chef) And I did it! Surprisingly, it tastes fantastic! This recipe is entirely foolproof and will bring that delicious Latin flavor to your kitchen in no time. I promise you, after eating this, you will feel like someone hugged you and gave you energy.
What is This Mexican Inspired Bowl?
It’s a food bowl (like those sushi bowls you see on Instagram) but full of Mexican inspired ingredients. That delicious Mexican rice, a bit of guacamole, some tortilla chips, some spicy chicken (You can skip if it you’re vegetarian or vegan), and some beans. And that’s all! You will have all the yumminess from your favorite Mexican dishes in one plate, and is super easy to make!
Ingredients: (For two servings)
One cup of rice
One can of black beans
Two boneless skinless chicken breast
Tomato paste or sauce
Salt and pepper
Let’s Get Started:
1. Cook your rice as you normally would (you can even use leftover rice) once if fully cooked, stir fry it on a frying pan with some olive oil. If you like it, you can sauté some onion and garlic before pouring the rice on the pan. Once your rice is starting to golden, add one tablespoon of your tomato paste/sauce and make sure to stir well until all your rice has a pinkish color. Then, set it aside.
2. Boil your chicken breasts in some salty water until they are cooked through. Once they are ready, shred them using two forks (That is the easiest way). Once you have all your chicken shredded, start sautéing it with some butter on a frying pan. Add some soy sauce and some minced garlic. When you see your chicken beginning to have a golden color, add another tablespoon of tomato sauce/paste, and some minced jalapeño (Be careful with the jalapeño if you don’t like the heat!) Mix everything and set the chicken aside.
3. Open your canned beans and pour them in a pot. Add half a cup of water and start boiling them until they are very soft, wait for most of the water to evaporate and then add a tablespoon of tomato paste/sauce. Once you see it’s starting to look like a puree, blend it using a food blender or a food processer. Your bean spread is ready so that you can set it aside.
4. I used store-bought hard tortilla chips, but if you only have soft tortillas, you can cut them into triangles and put them into a baking dish. Bake them at 350 degrees F for 6 to 9 minutes (flipping them halfway through) until they have a golden color and are crispy. One tortilla will end up making six triangles, so I usually cook four tortillas.
5. Then it’s guacamole time! Chop the tomato, onion, and avocado into small cubes. If you use a food processer, be careful not to over mix, I usually just mash everything using a fork. Squeeze some lime juice over the guacamole and mix well, so the avocado doesn’t turn brown. Add some freshly chopped cilantro, and you’re ready!
6. Now it’s time to assembly. Grab a bowl and pour your rice at the bottom. Then start adding the chicken, guacamole, beans, and tortilla chips as you like. I usually arrange them in a fancy way so I can take a good picture of it (Anything for the gram, right?) you can also add some sour cream or cheddar cheese if you feel like it. It is now ready to enjoy!
Yes, I know that some of you may think this is not traditional Mexican food, but it’s an excellent approximation to the flavor, and it’s straightforward to make! I know that all of this will be over soon and I will have the time to enjoy the real stuff once I get to see my mom and grandma again, but for now, this does the work and makes me feel much better.
Give it a try, and you will see how a warm plate of food packed with some homemade flavors will make you feel happy, or simply get distracted while preparing a delicious meal for your family. Make it with your kids, and indeed they will be glad to help you. The rest, you know, stay at home and be safe! Buen Provecho!