Like Water For Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate

Country: Mexico
Release Date: 16 April 1992
Genre(s): Drama / Romance
Director: Alfonso Arau
Cast: Marco Leonardi, Lumi Cavazos, Regina Torné, Mario Iván Martínez ...
Awards: Ariel Awards: Golden Ariel; Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards: Best Foreign Film; Sudbury Cinéfest: Best International Film ...

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Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water For Chocolate - sceneLike Water for Chocolate  (original title: Como agua para chocolate) is a 1992 film based on the popular novel, published in 1989 by first-time Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel. It earned all 11 Ariel awards of the Mexican Academy of Motion Pictures, including the Ariel Award for Best Picture, and became the highest grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the United States at the time.


Plot

In a forgotten Mexico Tita and Pedro fall in love, but are forbidden to marry. Mama Elena sees Tita’s role as her caretaker for life – no youngest daughter has ever married and her daughter will not be the first to break tradition. Tita’s heart breaks when her mother instead offers to Pedro her other daughter. He accepts only to be near Tita. When Tita is forced to make the wedding cake, the guests at the wedding are overcome with sadness… Tita has discovered she can do strange things with her cooking.


Awards

  • Ariel Awards: Golden Ariel; Silver Ariel – Best Actor: Mario Iván Martínez; Best Actress: Regina Torné; Best Actress in a Minor Role: Margarita Isabel; Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki; Best Direction: Alfonso Arau; Best Production Design: Gonzalo Ceja, Emilio Mendoza and Ricardo M. Kaplan; Best Screenplay: Laura Esquivel; Best Set Design: Mauricio De Aguinaco, Marco Antonio Arteaga, Carlos Brown and Denise Pizzini; Best Supporting Actress: Claudette Maillé
  • Gramado Film Festival: Audience Award; Golden Kikito Best Actress: Lumi Cavazos; Best Supporting Actress: Claudette Maillé;
  • Guadalajara Mexican Film Festival:Audience Award
  • Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards: Best Foreign Film
  • Premios ACE: Cinema – Best Actor: Mario Iván Martínez; Cinema – Best Director: Alfonso Arau; Cinema – Best Film
  • Sudbury Cinéfest: Best International Film
  • Tokyo International Film Festival: Best Actress Award: Lumi Cavazos; Best Artistic Contribution Award: Emmanuel Lubezki (cinematographer) and Steven Bernstein (cinematographer)

Data Sheet

Directed by: Alfonso Arau
Produced by: Alfonso Arau
Written by: Laura Esquivel
Cast: Marco Leonardi, Lumi Cavazos, Regina Torné, Mario Iván Martínez …
Cinematography: Steven Bernstein
Release date: 16 April 1992
Running time: 123 min
Country: Mexico
Language: Spanish/English


Amazon’s Review

Expect to be very hungry (and perhaps amorous) after watching this contemporary classic in the small genre of food movies that includes Babette’s Feast and Big Night. Director Alfonso Arau (A Walk in the Clouds), adapting a novel by his former wife, Laura Esquivel, tells the story of a young woman (Lumi Cavazos) who learns to suppress her passions under the eye of a stern mother, but channels them into her cooking. The result is a steady stream of cuisine so delicious as to be an almost erotic experience for those lucky enough to have a bite. The film’s quotient of magic realism feels a little stock, but the story line is good and Arau’s affinity for the sensuality of food (and of nature) is sublime. You might want to rush off to a good Mexican restaurant afterward, but that’s a good thing. –Tom Keogh

From The New Yorker
Alfonso Arau’s sticky, lusty, and rather ludicrous movie is set on a Mexican ranch in 1910. The head of the family is the unyielding Mama Elena (Regina Torné), who determines the destinies of her three daughters. The youngest, Tita (Lumi Cavazos), must stay at home and never marry. Needless to say, she promptly falls in love. It’s the old story, passions trying to burst through the shell of repression, and it infects the rest of the film: well-behaved wedding guests suddenly grow weepy or horny, and the old social order is menaced by bands of roaming revolutionaries. But what should be a struggle turns into a giggle; Arau’s style loses its balance, swooning into endless closeups of damp brows and heaving bosoms. Just in case we miss the point, there’s also a persistent voice-over designed to boil our blood (“voluptuously, ardently fragrant and utterly sensual”). The plot is full of cookery, but it’s an overloaded metaphor; the kitchen stands for the bedroom, and that’s that. There’s none of the patient, civilizing artistry that we saw in the cooking scenes of “Babette’s Feast.” Scripted by Laura Esquivel from her own novel, the movie feels like second-hand Magic Realism: it takes a shortcut to weirdness without hooking into anything substantial. This peaks at the end, when a couple makes love inside what appears to be a giant barbecue. Some like it hot, sure, but this hot? In Spanish. -Anthony Lane


Amazon’s Customer Reviews

THE MAGICAL AND MYSTICAL PROPERTIES OF FOOD… By Lawyeraau
This film is a feast for the eyes. Based upon the best selling novela of the same name by Laura Esquivel, who also wrote the screenplay, the film successfully captures this tale of forbidden love. Well directed by Laura Esquivel’s husband, Alfonso Arau (The Magnificent Ambersons, A Walk In the Clouds), the cast delivers wonderful performances in this mystical tale.

During the early twentieth century in Mexico, just south of the border, a girl catches the eye of boy. A number of years later, the boy, Pedro, now a young man, speaks to the girl, Tita, now a young woman, and declares his heartfelt, passionate love for her. Pedro (Marco Leonardi) wants Tita (Lumi Cavazos) to marry him.

He and his father meet with Tita’s mother, Elena (Regina Torne), and ask if she would give her consent to a union between Pedro and Tita, Elena’s youngest daughter. Elena forbids such a marriage to take place, as it is an unbroken family tradition that the youngest daughter remain single, so that she may take care of her mother until the mother dies. Such is the destiny of Tita. Elena, instead, cruelly offers to have her oldest daughter, Rosaura (Yareli Arizmendi), marry Pedro.

Surprisingly, Pedro agrees to marry Rosaura, his twisted logic being that this is the only way he can be close to Tita. Thus, begins an untenable situation. Tita, forced by her selfish, harridan of a mother to prepare the wedding feast for Rosaura and Pedro, begins a lifelong sublimation of her passion and emotions with food. Its mystical properties become self evident in the expert hands of Tita, as she becomes a superlative cook. She has the ability to imbue the food that she prepares with the fervor and feelings, both good and bad, that she dare not express. Her love, her pain, her passion is evident in every delightful and delicious dish that she creates, and her feelings manifest themselves in those who ingest her meals.

This is a glorious film about love, filled with mystical, magical, and supernatural portents. Sensual and evocative, it details the road that Tita and Pedro must travel before their journey is complete. Wonderfully acted and beautifully told, theirs is a story that will long linger in the mind of the viewer. Awash in amber tones, the brilliant cinematography contributes to the mystical properties of this film. Sumptuous and surreal, it is a feast for the eyes and not to be missed. Bravo!

The DVD offers clear visuals and great sound. It does not offer much in the way of special features. Watch it in the original Spanish with English subtitles in order to retain the intended flavor of this superlative film.

Mas profundo que las palabras By fawn schoenberg
“Como agua para chocolate” truly takes Laura Esquivel’s emotional and magical story and brings it to life. Taking the romance of “Romeo and Juliet” and combining it with the magic from “Cinderella”, “Como agua para chocolate” includes ‘ingredients’ for almost any viewer. With the film’s predominantly female cast along with the kitchen as the main setting, many often assume that this film only pleases a female audience. However, anyone searching for a multisensory experience. in which taste, smell and touch seem to become possible, should rent this movie. Even those who are unable to understand the words, whether they be in english or spanish, will never feel left out during this film. The director’s interpretation of color, ilumination and angles, along with the actors’ facial expressions and body language, is what truly make this film magical. Esquivel succeeds in her novel by making a reader savor each one of her words and descriptions, and this adaptation, even without the words, allows its audience to savor and experience the same themes of unconditional love, struggle and liberation. Scenes of passion and frustration, of sadness and sheer relief, only add to the film’s ability to reach out and become a story of our very own. From the first moment when the narrator talks to us while peeling an onion, we are invited into Tita’s kitchen and asked to join this family on a journey. The only problem is being able to leave Mama Elena’s ranch at the end of the film and return to ‘reality.’ “Como agua para chocolate” is truly HOT, and anyone who finishes this film without being entertained as well as emotionally satisfied has not taken in the whole experience that this film has to offer.

Like Water for Chocolate, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Images

Like Water For Chocolate
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Like Water for Chocolate
Like Water for Chocolate  (original title: Como agua para chocolate) is a 1992 film based on the popular novel, published in 1989 by first-time Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel. It earned all 11 Ariel awards of the Mexican Academy of Motion Pictures, including the Ariel Award for Best Picture, and...
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