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    $28.95 list($14.98)
    1. Jamon Jamon
    2. Bilingual Baby, SPANISH
    3. A Place Called Chiapas
    $8.00 list($14.95)
    4. The Neverending Story
    $12.78 list($21.96)
    5. Tango
    6. Like Water for Chocolate
    $2.30 list($9.98)
    7. Buena Vista Social Club
    8. I Don't Want to Talk About It
    $12.47 list($21.96)
    9. All About My Mother
    $9.99 $6.18
    10. Strawberry & Chocolate - -
    $39.00 list($14.95)
    11. Women on the Verge of a Nervous
    12. High Heels
    $9.95 list($19.98)
    13. A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings
    $29.95 list($59.95)
    14. Los Olvidados
    $44.99 list($19.98)
    15. Lovers of the Arctic Circle (Amantes
    $15.38 list($19.95)
    16. Belle Epoque
    17. So Smart - Spanish (For Babies
    $29.95 $18.99
    18. Flamenco
    19. Ernesto Che Guevara, The Bolivian
    20. "Ay, Carmela!"

    1. Jamon Jamon
    Director: J.J. Bigas Luna
    list price: $14.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6304326297
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 5785
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Salted pork shanks as leitmotiv in a dark comedy about an absurd love triangle: this is what post-Franco cine is all about (food and sex). Spanish tortillas (i.e., potato omelets) are also big in this one. Director José Juan Bigas Luna's Jamón Jamón is intelligent, wry, and--despite the formulaic narrative that melodrama must essentially contain--unpredictable. At times his film exudes a certain Almodóvar flavor, but there is an edge, perhaps a heavy-handedness, to the dark humor that is either Luna's success or his downfall. The film garnered the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival, after all. Try to follow: sexy Penelope Cruz (Belle Epoque) is growing up with her mother outside town on the highway, on the wrong side of the highway. Together they run a truck stop where cars and life literally race past. Cruz is in love with Jordí Molla, by whom she is pregnant. Molla's bourgeois mother, played by Anna Galiena (Being Human), thinks he can and should do better. (Of course, neither Cruz nor his mother knows of the erotic, hmm, avian interludes Molla enjoys on the side.) To save her son from the lower classes, Galiena hires Javier Bardem, a muscular, pretty man (whose regular consumption of the pork he distributes for a living has enhanced his sexual appeal) to pursue Cruz. The dark comedy finds a proper ending to the triangle in a grotesque but comedic landscape of death. This is not a cookie-cutter movie but rather one that will resonate with both your light and dark sides. After each surprise, you'll chuckle, feel guilty, and chuckle again. --Erik Macki ... Read more

    Reviews (22)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Two words, Penelope Cruz
    O.K. it may not be a five star movie, more like four but if you're a Penelope Cruz fan like me you'll love it. Seeing her half clothed body frequently throughout the movie makes you glad they invented rewind and pause controls on your antiquated vcr. Seriously though this is a very sexy and smart movie about two of the things most of us love most, food and sex. Spanish cinema has a certain flair for exploiting those issues most dear to us in the most unusual manner. The movie is very funny, more so if you understand Spanish culture, and the imagery used to convey the issues at hand are most visually dramatic. The story evolves primarily around the life of Jose Luis who is the wealthy son of a domineering mother whose family is in the underwear business. Not sexy yet? Enter Javier Barden("High Heels" and "Live Flesh)" as Raul, a novice bullfighter, underwear model and soon to hired lover to interfere with Jose Luis's love interest. He's a confident Spanish stud who takes no prisoners in his conquering of women. Still doesn't sound sexy? O.K., now for the best part of this movie, Penelope Cruz is Sylvia the pregnant girlfriend of Jose Luis and is the leading lady in this tale of twisted love triangles. The sexy Sylvia is torn and her future in-laws make her decision more difficult. Lots of unpredictable liasons develop that may be immoral but if taken as a satirical romp quite funny and entertaining as opposed to shocking. Some of the scenes are a riot like when the two machos sneak into a bull ranch late at night for a little clandestine bullfighting by the moonlight. The daring bravado of the two machos is illustrated so beautifully and the scene transition is just as wild as they run from their persuers.Without describing and ruining the scene suffice to say that the fact that two young men would go to such great lenghts to prove their macho is hilarious. It is scenes like this that make for memorable Spanish cinema with a quirky message hidden in celluloid reminiscent of Aldomovar. Very funny stuff worth the price of admission alone just to see a very young Penelope Cruz at her sexiest.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Like a potato omelette ("tortilla de patatas")
    This movie by Bigas Luna combines elements of irony and surrealism in a very disfunctional setting where almost nothing works the way it's supposed to, based on "normal" thinking (whatever that translates into for each and everyone of us). The movie, almost from beginning to end is very unpredictable (which is good) and brings out very sexually-charged performances by the entire cast, but very specially by now-superstars Penelope Cruz (Woman on Top, Blow, Captain Corelli's...) and Javier Bardem (Before Night Falls).

    My "issue" with this movie is that it doesn't qualify as a comedy altogether, due some of its very disturbing scenes. It also doesn't succeed, in my opinion, at being a parody of the Spanish macho man and some other typical (yet repressed during the Franco times) elements of Spanish culture. And finally, although it attempts to (with the pig, bull and ham imagery), I don't think of it necessarily as a good surrealist movie (in the style of a Bunuel or a Fellini). I think it is more a combination of the sexual drive typically behind Bigas Luna's movies and a good dose of Oedipus complex sprayed (portrayed in an interesting way). Trying to be too many things, it ends up being like a potato omelette ("tortilla de patatas".) In all honesty, in the end it left me with nothing but a few laughs at its ironies.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Nude Matadores and Lottsa Ham
    This is a fun film! A black "who's sleeping with who?" comedy that draws its viewers into this bizarre, crazed love triangle. Anyone who is a fan of early Almodovar will get something out of this.
    The acting is great, especially by Bardem. The script has alot of subtle one-liners, and the sex and nudity is explicit and contributes to the anything goes atmosphere. So if you're looking for a fun dark/tragic comedy with lottsa sex, pick this one up.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Javier Bardem and Tomas Penco in all their glory.
    Sometimes an aspiring actor has to do a little film to pay the rent or fulfill a contract agreement. What this film shows is how excellent Javier Bardem has become as an actor. He has come along way. Still young Bardem was in great shape. Not much of a plot that I could enjoy, but the film is a bit exploitive. That is guaranteed money for filmmakers. I don't mean to embarass the two male actors that are 100 percent nude, but since they probably got a good size paycheck, what the hay. You'll see Javier Bardem pretend bullfighting in blue shorts, then later Javier and Tomas Penco model underwear. Later in the film, Javier Bardem and Tomas Penco decide to have some fun at night time nude bullfighting. These scenes are remarkable to watch because it is a real bull they are teasing. Penelope Cruz and Jordi Molla are also in the film. Javier Bardem and Jordi Molla worked together in SECOND SKIN.

    2-0 out of 5 stars WOW
    Jamon Jamon is one of those spainish films you watch because Penelope Cruz is in it, but, by the time the naked bullfight scene rolls around, if not before, you realize that not even the best looking actress around can make up for such a bizarre and ridiculously sketchy peice of cinema. Meant to be funny, the outrageous sexual innuendo that is the script is just too strange to be humerous or even erotic.
    The plot set up in the beginning of the movie, which had potential, breaks down as a result of the plethera of random hook-ups, many implausible, and by the time Silvia makes out with her fiance's father, one is just too wierded out to care. Some themes adressed in the movie are masculinity and the role of the man and woman, but through poor acting and trippy cinematography, even these are too blured to amount to any semblance of profoundness. All in all, if you're looking for a good movie with Penelope Cruz in it, watch Belle Epoque. ... Read more

    2. Bilingual Baby, SPANISH
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $16.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00004VVPG
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 514
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    This total immersion approach to language means that no English isspoken on this video, and only the occasional sentence is translated onscreen. Instead, viewers are treated to five sections of objects, concepts, or actions while a woman identifies them in Spanish. The first section shows a boy (niño), various people, and animals eating (comer) and an apple (manzana) and then puts it all together (El niño come la manzana!). Thesame method is used for numbers, colors, manners, and phrases and then another section of familiar words and phrases. The 40-minute video comes with an introduction and the lessons spelled out in a fold-out cardboard display attached to the video box. This is a serious effort meant to teach children a second language while they are still quite young. But that won't stop children from enjoying the brightly colored video of animals, toys, and a multiracial cast of kids. Ages 1-5. --Kimberly Heinrichs ... Read more

    Reviews (22)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Bilingual Baby is the BEST!!!
    I love this video!! But more importantly, my daughter loves this video. She's been watching it since she was 4 months old (she's now 15 months) and it is still her favorite video. The music is lively and it goes slowly enough and is repetitive enough to really capture a small childs attention. At 4 months you would think it is too early, but she loved it then and even now, it is one of the only things she will watch. It probably works well for up to about 3 or 4 yr olds. Other t.v. is boring and cartoons or animated videos do not capture them like real people and real objects. Best of all it is TOTAL immersion which is next to impossible to find. I hope this company makes a part 2 to this video soon!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A good approach
    Our baby is only 7 months old, but this video holds her attention better than any others. It uses a unique approach of building up sentences word by word. Obviously she hasn't started speaking any Spanish (or English word for that matter), but I feel like when she watches this video she is being exposed to the Spanish language (not just a few choice vocabulary words). I highly recommend this product!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Toddler, Mom + Dad All learning Spanish
    We purchased this video based on other Amazon evaluations. We are so happy we purchased this video. We wish it was on DVD, but it's not available that way. Even still, it's no big deal to fast forward past the very brief intro (no commercials for other videos, YEA).

    We got this for my son when he was 8 mo. old (now 18 mo). He loves Bilingual Baby - Spanish even over the Einstein Videos - of which we have like 10! He happily watches it without getting distracted.

    Additionally, I think this video quickened his learning of the concepts of yes and no.

    It's so easy to watch. My husband and I have learned - especially the pronounciation. The video focus is on phrazes and words babies and toddlers use most, making it practical too!

    As a Mom (and the primary cargiver) I find none of it offencive. Which is saying a lot for this neurotic Mom!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not that good
    My seven and three year old were interested but some of the images in this video were confusing. It's definitely not worth buying. You're better off getting it from the library or buying some cartoons in Spanish instead.

    5-0 out of 5 stars My 2 year old son loves it
    My 2 year old son loves this tape. We knew he was entertained by it, but didn't expect him to pick up much of the Spanish. He's surprised us by using several Spanish names for things and actions, like eating, drinking, ball, cat, etc. all spontaneously. I feel like it's really helped his lingual development. ... Read more

    3. A Place Called Chiapas
    Director: Nettie Wild
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $29.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00004WZ3U
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 5351
    Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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    A trip into the perilous state of Chiapas in southern Mexico is taken in this documentary, which focuses on the Zapatista National Liberation Army and its mysterious leader, Subcomandante Marcos. The narration notes that The New York Times has referred to the struggle of the Zapatistas as the "world's first postmodern revolution," and there is a remarkably surreal air at times. At one point Subcomandante Marcos is filmed while posing for the French fashion magazine Marie Claire, yet there can be no denying that the residents he champions are extremely poor. The interviews with farmers who fear they will be murdered by government troops are moving, and a press conference in which tape recordings of death threats are played is disturbing. The film's director, Nettie Wild, has a definite point of view and notes stoically that a memo from American bankers may have inspired the violence directed against the local rebels by the Mexican government. The background of the rebellion in Chiapas is told concisely with most of the film consisting of atmospheric footage showing life in the troubled and violent region. The film crew was itself threatened by right-wing paramilitary death squads, and the paranoia that is an asset in such an environment is tensely translated via filmed encounters with government troops. --Robert J. McNamara ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not bad but could have been better...
    This video is for everyone: hardcore supporters of the Zapatistas and for those who know next to nothing on the struggle. It details the history and cause of the uprising in Chiapas but leaves much out of Marcos' personality. If you'd like to know more of his agenda you'd be better off reading his speeches in the internet. I also liked the way the documentary depicts the culture of those living in Chiapas.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A too gringo vision of Chiapas
    I saw this movie without previous warning, following the advice of intellectuals' reviews seemingly to the left of US political arena. I can only admire the camera of Netie Wild's. The best part of this documentary is undoubtly the photography, to which Chiapas geography and people contributed generously. Most of the interviews are well-conducted and some just missed the point entirely. In some passages of the film, the title of this review becomes embrassingly obvious. Wild demonstrates why in Latin America many social movements don't often trust pseudo-progressive artists and intellectuals. In her unsuccessful effort to surgically separate the armed movement from the communities, Wild's film becomes amateurish. For instance, she forces the script to describe the Zapatistas as cold-hearted when dealing with the displaced communities from Tila, after attacks from paramilitary groups. In her efforts, she provokes the Zapatistas into turning untrustful of hers. No wonder! Nobody who has been into Zapatistas communities in Chiapas could believe this side of Wild's story. In the end she forces herself into pretending to be an "objective" observer, while in a few parts of the movie you can see she really loses her coolness in front of the camera. In the end, this is a barely accurate vision of Chiapas, told by a typical USian (born in the US, "Americans" are all those born in the Americas) with a mentality of a charity tourist.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Place Called Chiapas
    This film serves as an excellent presentation in summarizing the Chiapas plight. While it has been criticized, which I don't believe is justified, Wild and team weaves factual events - regardless of your viewpoint - to provide a unique perspective. Chiapas is closer than you think and while Mexico shares in this predicament, it is a real problem as oppressed people eventually gain the courage to say Basta!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars An informing documentary about the Zapatista uprising
    I found this documentary to be essential to my understanding of the indigent peoples' movement for independence and recognition in Chiapas and other parts of Mexico, under the leadership of Subcomandante Marcos. I really think that Nettie Wild did a great job of making this documentary. Although she is a zapatista sympathizer like most of us, she was very brave in showing the other side. There was a part where the rich ranchers told how the Zapatistas had taken their land. However, it was hard to feel bad for them when they were sitting in a very nice parlor with nice clothes, food, and educated manners, and the children, adults, and elderly of Chiapas are accurately pictured as almost naked, starving, homeless, terribly undereducated, etc. Although it is hard to agree with everything Marcos says and does, there is no doubt he is a brave and good human being and this film captures both parts of him - the actor who knows how to play the media just like his readers to get what he wants, as well as the human and indigent rights champion who is fighting for an awesome cause - very well. It contains exclusive interviews with him and many other leaders in the movement, as well as some heart-breaking interviews with the people of Chiapas themselves. It is important to the understanding of the situation in Chiapas, just as much as Marcos' book "Shadows of Tender Fury" and other correspondence by him is. If you want an accurate and moving look at the problems in Chiapas, this film is a must to watch. I recommend finding a library to rent it from as I did or waiting until the price goes down, but if you have the money now it is worth it, because this documentary is invaluable in its originality, source of information, and inspiration.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Please See This Film!
    I was fortunate enough to see this film at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. i highly recommend it because it is not only a facinating look into the life of the Maya in the highlands of Chiapas, but there are very rare interviews with Commandante Marcos. a HUGE THANKS to Nettie Wild for being a woman of great courage and compassion! May Peace be restored to Chiapas. ... Read more

    4. The Neverending Story
    Director: Wolfgang Petersen
    list price: $14.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6302816564
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 20711
    Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Reviews (219)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia for children of the 80's
    Let's face it. Most of us who rate this movie highly do so because it invokes all those rosy-hued memories of our childhood decade. One only has to bring it up to another Gen-Y-er, or whistle a few bars of the opening theme song, to see eyes light up with recognition amid wistful sighs for a more innocent time.
    It is the characters and rich settings that pull this film off.
    Leads Barret Oliver and Noah Hathaway are both on the verge of being too beautiful to be boys. They display a rare depth for young actors, Oliver's over-dramatic portrayal being unbelievable only for those who are never around play-acting children. Hathaway's subtle facial expressions are riveting, and he deserves respect if for no other reason than for nearly carrying the entire movie. The breathtaking Tami Stromach as the Childlike Empress was every young girl's dream character before the era of the Disney Princess, and she played her enigmatic role with suitable poise and mystery. Who of this generation did NOT, sometime in their childhood, convene with schoolyard cronies to "play Neverending Story" and then argue about who would "be" the Empress, Atreyu, or Bastian? Obviously these characters strike a chord with kids.
    The story bears a somewhat faint resemblance to the book on which it is based, though the original author was so dissapointed with the result that he did not want his name associated with the film in any way. I have read the book, and found it to be rich in imagination, depth, and dare I say it, moral psychology, much of which contrives to be muddy and confusing to very young readers. The film simplifies it rather starkly, but in a way I think is satisfying. Classic themes of identity, of an underdog's triumph, of imagination empowering reality, are clearly emphasized. Complaints that the movie ends halfway through the book are valid, but the truth is that the book almost becomes two stories, with the second half diverging wildly from the pacing and characterization of the first, and to try and fit it all into a two-hour film would have done neither film nor book proper justice.
    Special effects were groundbreaking for the time, some more successful than others. I didn't realize until several years ago that Engywook and Urgle were supposed to be tiny gnome-like creatures! I always assumed, even as a child, that they were exactly what they are - normal sized people shot in skewed perspective with Atreyu. It wasn't until noticing that they used different sized props between them and Atreyu that I realized the perspective was actually deliberately forced! Ah was a long way to Lord of the Rings.
    A few complaints: some sets seem cramped. The scene in which the "ambassadors" from all over Fantasia approach the Ivory Tower sets it up as an enormous landmark where masses of representatives from every one of the no-doubt vast peoples are to convene, yet when we are given an internal view of the structure, we see a claustrophobic ballroom in which a handful of creatures loiter, and in spite of their various weird and fantastic appearances, we are given no more than a brief glimpse of a few. Costumes of the leads are simple and convincing, though.
    Altogether, an enjoyable movie, and one I will definitely show my own children. There are some dark moments for kids not yet jaded by too much modern special-effects violence, so use caution. And please, please, spare anyone else from the appalling sequels...part II had little merit and was vaguely eerie, and part III was not only frankly awful as a film but downright blasphemous from the literary perspective.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Probably the best fantasy movie of all time!
    "The Neverending Story" is a great fantasy movie from the 80s about a boy named Bastian (Barret Oliver) picturing a story unfold as he reads it from a book called "The Neverending Story." In this fantasy-filled story, a great land called Fantasia is being destroyed by a terrible enemy called the Nothing. It's up to a boy named Atreyu (Noah Hathaway) to find The Childlike Empress (Tami Stronach) and help her before Fantasia and all its habitants get wiped away completely. Atreyu is the only one that has a chance of rescuing Fantasia because he's a warrior and he doesn't know it yet, but he will make many new friends along the way, including one very special friend named Falkor that happens to be a dragon that looks kind of like a dog.

    I'll leave it up to you to watch "The Neverending Story" and find out what happens, but I don't recommend watching it. I recommend buying it instead. A lot of people probably think that "The Neverending Story" is a movie that is only suit for kids, but they're wrong. I used to watch this movie with my mom all the time when I was a kid, and now I'm 21, and I still enjoy the movie just as much now, if not more than I did when I was a kid.

    When you or your kids first watch "The Neverending Story," neither of you will probably remember everything about the movie, but what you will remember are the spectacular special effects and the entertaining characters such as Falkor the dragon, a HUGE rock creature, the mean wolf, a giant turtle that has a face that resembles that of E.T., and many other interesting creatures. But trust me, whoever you are, you will want to watch this movie over and over again for years to come and you will learn new things about it every time you watch it.

    "The Neverending Story" not only has its special effects and plot working full force for it, it also has great acting and an unforgettable and catchy soundtrack.

    "The Neverending Story" is in my opinion one of the best movies that a kid can watch for many reasons, but it's a great movie for ANYBODY of any age to watch, especially if you're a kid at heart. When I say that a movie is probably the best ever made in its genre, I don't exaggerate any, I compare it to all the others that I've seen of its type. Therefore, you know that I really do like "The Neverending Story" a lot! Purchase "The Neverending Story" for yourself or for someone you care about as soon as you can. You won't regret it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Triumph of human Imagination
    Sir Adam got it almost right! Good review, by the way.

    This is an awesome story about the importance of the story. Yes, the moral lesson of "The Neverending Story" is the importance of the story itself (and by extension the importance of human imagination). If one has read some of Joseph Campbell's "The Power of Myth" one understands this completely. It is that Native American idea of "he who does not have the stories has nothing."

    The key force of destruction in this tale is "the Nothing" literally non-existence or the lack of imagination. The world in which "The Neverending Story" takes place, Fantasia, is a conglomerate universe composed of the dreams and hopes of all people. Every story ever told and every character who has ever lived exists somewhere in Fantasia. So that somewhere in Fantasia, Paul Atreides wanders a desert landscape while somewhere else in Fantasia Alice falls down the rabbit hole.

    Fantasia, this conglomerate world of human dreams, is dying. The reason is that people in the real world no longer dream... of anything. It is a very modern tale about the death of the human capacity to, as John Lennon put it, IMAGINE. Without the capability to imagine anything, people become easily manipulated by forces greater than them... this is where the real villain comes in (more about that after the next paragraph).

    The main protagonist, Atreyu, is the alter ego of the real life boy who is reading the story. The real life boy, therefore, is filled with imagination, brimming with it, in fact. He exists in a real world where nobody imagines anything anymore. Therefore, the alter ego (in Fantasia) of the real life boy with imagination is a young champion who is trying to save imagination itself and its conglomerate world, Fantasia.

    The real villain of the story is, at least from a Christian context, Lucifer, or the Devil himself. He is the "force behind the Nothing" who is attempting the death of all imagination. This explains the creature known as the Morg. As Sir Adam mentioned in his review, this is the major adversary for Atreyu (and the real life boy who is his generator). The Morg is, in his own words, "a servant of the force behind the Nothing." The Morg is, I believe, a demon, or fallen angel servant who has somehow crossed the border into Fantasia and put on the guise of that mythical creature of destruction, the werewolf. The Wolf image is only a guise used by the demon to try to blend in with his surroundings.

    Of course, we know who wins in the end. This is a very complex movie and a VERY relevant one to the times in which we are living. I see people around me who are quite literally mental cripples who are incapable of imagination. Without the stories, we are nothing.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Best fantasy of the 80s
    I grew up on this movie, but I hadn't seen it in years until I bought this DVD. I view it with and adult's perception now, so it's not as good for me as it was when I was a kid. However, because I can see that kids would love it, I think it still holds up well. Heck, I still like it.

    I wish this DVD had more special features, but alas it does not. What really bothered me was that it didn't have a subtitle for when Bastian shouts out a name for the Child-like Empress. I was so looking forward to finally finding out what the heck he shouts out for her name, and I get nothing. But I researched it on the net, and apparently it's "Moon Child." It does sound like that's what he's shouting. But I'm baffled that that was his mother's name (unless he changed his mind further into the film and decided to give the Empress a random name rather than his mother's).

    So overall, the movie's good and the DVD is so-so. Great picture and sound quality, but no special features and no subtitle for when he shouts out the Empress' new name. But it's the only one in the series worth buying I think. Well, maybe the second one was ok.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Speaking as an adult
    Having only seen this movie for the first time two years ago, I beg to differ with those who claim that it's allure is lost to those not having been exposed to it at an early age. What makes this movie significantly superior to many other such children's films is heartful, caring use of non computer generated special effects. The challenge comes with letting yourself go on the wings or backs of the several beautifully crafted creatures we share this adventure with. It's shabby chic artisty is everywhere to be found including that great Moroder new wavey score. The best film fantasy film since the 80's? Quite possibly. ... Read more

    5. Tango
    Director: Carlos Saura
    list price: $21.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 076783495X
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 11629
    Average Customer Review: 4.03 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Reviews (35)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Choreographic Tour de force
    This is an impressive cinematic experience which borders on pure ballet. What Evita achieved in some measure in its operatic effort (for all that it was worth)the movie Tango unleashes a continuous virtuosic display of stunning dance sequences which is not unlike that of classical ballet. To be sure, the visual (not special) effects assume precedence over any character development, although the main character's angst is to some degree fairly well defined. There is some philosophical adumbrations, some of which betray influences of Jorge Luis Borges; namely, the omnipresence of mirrors, which suggest the reality/illusion references; the encapsulated, closed environment of the mise-en-scene, the inveterate lonliness of the protagonist. Overall the film tends toward the abstract, not unlike a painting in perpetual motion.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Saura does not take a back seat to Spielberg
    Much of this extraordinary movie deals with the Tango; its origins, its importance to the Argentine culture. The dancing is superlative, the music is wonderful. Amidst the music and the dancing, is a taut, dramatic love story. The depth of the story is not necessarily in the character development, but rather in the blurring of the imagination and reality experienced by the main character. This "back and forth" between reality and the imagination is marvelously portrayed as a result of Saura's sophisticated direction. At times you think you are looking at the characters only to find that you are looking at reflections. The cinematography and lighting are superb. A moviegoer does not have to have an affinity for the Tango to appreciate this movie. The terrific acting, beautiful use of light and color and the surreal thought processes of the main character are worthwhile in their own right, but the music, dancing and insight into the production of the "show within the show" are truly wonderful. Definitely an eleven on a scale of ten.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent cinematography, a motion picture art piece
    Tango is an amazing movie in its exceptional combination of dance, music, camera technique, color, mirrors, and lighting.

    At several points in this movie I thought to myself: "Wow, this lighting/camera perspective is perfect, why don't we see more of this in movies?" After watching the movie once, I found myself immediately going back to re-watch some specific scenes just like one may be drawn back to an especially interesting piece of art.

    The plot of this movie *is not* what makes this a great picture, although it does effectively tie together the various scenes and the overall context of the film. What makes this a great film are the actors/actresses, dance numbers, music, and cinematography.

    The english subtitles were clear and easy to read at all times.

    Overall a very different and entertaining movie... Recommended.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A movie about a Tango movie, but not really...
    This movie is definitely different than most American movies. It is by far abstract. This is my warning to you folks. Be glad there is definitely Tango in this movie. This is a movie about the making of a Tango movie where the real life of the director is blended into the movie he's making. There's also a dark political message in there.
    There are some dramatic Tango and some fun and playful tango during practice. There's a female voice over working on her craft. And an intro to the musicians. This movie really shows the audience every that goes into Tango, not just the dancers. Everyone. Including the lighting director. It has some social aspects of tango, although it could have gone deeper into this.
    This movie is great for people exploring Tango, movie making, or the inner workings of a musical.
    This movie won't appeal to people who only like mainstream or are irritated by abstract art or ideas. You might even walk away thinking..."was that a movie?"...not really.

    There aren't many Tango movies out there. This is better than Assassination Tango. I would give this a 3star if there are better ones out there. The main actor in this movie is really good. I've never seen him before, but I can see he would fit in
    perfectly with any American movie.

    Now to answer a previous review:"No talent movie". I don't think this movie have to have the BEST TANGO dancers. Just because someone can Tango doesn't mean they can act. In fact, as the movie shows, they make mistakes in the audition and practice.
    Would it be realistic to be perfect from dance school to audition to practice to show?

    1-0 out of 5 stars Tedious with not much tango
    Long boring monologue about a director's midlife crisis with a young dancer. We don't see much dancing (or even much of her), just his dreary voice and self, with uninspired artsy pseudo-ballet tango fitfully in the background ... Read more

    6. Like Water for Chocolate
    Director: Alfonso Arau
    list price: $9.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6303153305
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 6827
    Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential video

    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 ... Read more

    Reviews (98)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Superb - One of the Great Foreign Language Films of Our Time
    A thrilling, intoxicating masterpiece, "Like Water for Chocolate" will leave you hungry, happy and hung over with its surreal vision and unforgettable performances. Some of the film's charm lies in its uncompromising vision of what it must be like to be a poor, Mexican woman, surrounded by angry sisters and petty jealousies. The food is a miracle of texture and authenticity that makes the book a recipe lover's dream. But the spiritual aspects of the movie take it someplacve else tying food and unseen forces together, the author and director have fashioned love as a cycle of human emotion coupled with betrayal and passion. Believers and non-believers alike are asked to suspend judgement and just BE with this movie, for it raises issues and themes rarely imagined or acheived on film. A few sequences are startling - such as a wedding party where every guest is gastronimically infected by a soup that is stewed with the tears of our protagonist, and they all end up regurgitating the mixture, and in the end, understanding that true love should not be gambled away for money or superiority. Another sequence, where the middle daughter Gertudis, is literally kidnapped by a horse riding gunslinger while she sits alone in an outhouse doing her business, is hysterical, yet also painful to watch, because it symbolizes the woman's need for free choice in a world where men have so much of the power. Besides, any couple who has eloped or married without their parent's blessings will quickly make the connection to their own experience. If you can keep up with the subtitles, I'd advise against a dubbed version, for in its Spanish - eloquent, funny and dramatic - the film c aptures its truest form of communication. And food as metaphor - used in other terrific fims like "Babette's Feast" - has never been presented in such an awe inspiring manner. This is a feast to be savored every step of its delectible way.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A passion for cooking and romance!!!
    This has to be one of my all time favorite foreign films. I loved the book and I think the movie is equally good. The story is set around a young woman named Tita, who according to an unfair family tradition, must care for her overbearing, demanding mother. Because of this, she is unable to marry the young man she has fallen in love with and transfers her passion into the meals she prepares(with very interesting results!). Based on the book by Laura Esquivel and directed by her husband at the time (Alfonso Arau, who also directed the Keanu Reeves movie, "A Walk in the Cloud") this film is a captivating fairy tale that is sure to entertain.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a feast of the 5 senses, come to life
    after you watch this movie, you will either want to eat, cook (preferably one of the mentioned recipes), make love or all three! i saw the version dubbed in spanish, and also read 3 selected chapters from the book, for spanish class. it's a work of art and genius, and it must be watched all the way through without stopping. the characters are excellently portrayed, and it combines love, feminism, drama, sensuality, lust, hope, passion, and humour, topped with cultural tradition and folklore. i don't know which one is better, the book or the movie. all of the 5 senses are provoked on a deep and perhaps even primal level, especially taste and smell, feverishly yearning for a sum greater than their overall parts (gestalt) - which brings up the sixth sense, intuition.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Like Water For Chocolate
    In the novel, "Like Water for Chocolate," I found it very interesting that two young people, Tita and Pedro fell deeply in love and they could never marry each other. The best part about the book was that they had to hide their feelings from everyone but they knew they loved each other deep inside their hearts. I liked the fact that they loved each other until the day they died and they died making love to each other. I strongly recommend this book to other people.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Like water for chocolate!
    This is a very sensual movie about two lovers who could not be together. I loved it and would watch it again and again. ... Read more

    7. Buena Vista Social Club
    Director: Wim Wenders
    list price: $9.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000203Y5
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 4730
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    In 1996, composer, producer, and guitar legend Ry Cooder entered Egrem Studios in Havana with the forgotten greats of Cuban music, many of them in their 60s and 70s, some of them long since retired. The resulting album, Buena Vista Social Club, became a Grammy-winning international bestseller. When Cooder returned to Havana in 1998 to record a solo album by 72-year-old vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer, filmmaker Wim Wenders was on hand to document the occasion. Wenders splits the film between portraits of the performers, who tell their stories directly to the camera as they wander the streets and neighborhoods of Havana, and a celebration of the music heard in performance scenes in the studio, in their first concert in Amsterdam, and in their second and final concert at Carnegie Hall. The songs are too often cut short in this fashion, but Buena Vista Social Club is not a concert film. Wenders weaves the artist biographies with a glimpse of modern Cuba remembering its past, capturing a lost culture in music that is suddenly, unexpectedly revived for audiences in Havana and around the world. Wenders makes his presence practically invisible, as if his directorial flourishes or off-screen narration might deflect attention from the artists, who do a fine job of telling their own stories through interviews and music. It's a loving portrait of a master class in Cuban music, with a vital cast of aging performers whose energy and passion belie their years.--Sean Axmaker ... Read more

    Reviews (113)

    5-0 out of 5 stars So much talent. The spirit of music in the raw!
    After all that's been said about the Grammy award winner album by Ry Cooder, I had to watch this superb documentary. They were right, this film deserves, also an award. Reknown musician and singer Ry Cooder sits back as Dream Team coach and lets this long forgotten talents of cuban music tell him naturally their stories, like Ibrahim Ferrer's recording debut at age 72 or Compay Segundo's 90 year old romance intentions. The heartwarming side of this film probably is the chance that this very talented singers and musicians have to fulfill every musician's dream concert: full house attendance at the legendary Carnegie Hall and Amsterdam. They also get to know the Big Apple and display child-like innocence and awe. One of the mayor acheivements of the film is how Wim Wenders blends the cuban studio and city shots with the actual concerts in N.Y. and Amsterdam. This is Not a concert though. All the songs are blended with interviews or Havanna scenaries.The video quality is very good, but don't expect IMAX or so. The sound quality is impecable and there are some extras (a couple of full songs). If you want an experience beyond ethnic music (which is great) but into ethnic discovery (which is grater) buy this gem.

    5-0 out of 5 stars LIVING LEGENDS
    Directed by the german director Wim Wenders, THE BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB has received the 1999 best european documentary award. And please, take my word for granted, this movie deserves it. And more. Forget Martin Scorsese's THE LAST WALTZ and visit THE BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB !

    In 1998, the well-known american guitarist Ry Cooder decides to go to Cuba and to record his new CD with cuban musicians. After a few days in the island, he discovers that a certain number of the musicians who made the Cuban sound of the 1930's and the 1940's are still alive. Hypnotized by these legends like Ibrahim Ferrer and Compay Segundo, he produces the record THE BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB with these old guys and organizes two concerts with them, one in Amsterdam and the other at the Carnegie Hall, in New-York.

    These concerts, along with the studio sessions in La Havana, are the spine of the movie. Interviews with the members of this one-and-only record group in their homes, visits of the heart of La Havana are also going to capture your heart. I'm not a specialist of central america music but I was profoundly moved by these old timers who are certainly the fathers of a great part of what we are listening today.

    One can also feel the respect of Wim Wenders before these men and women who have preferred to stay, poor and forgotten, in their beloved island, rather than to seek fortune in the U.S.A.

    Oh yes ! I forgot. The music and the songs are wonderful. Extras are great, so is the quality of the images and the sound. Attention DVD Empire : it's a widescreen format (1:66). Overall, the DVD deserves the perfect 5.

    A DVD for your library.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Quit grousing, it's fun and great music!! Share discographys
    I was "introduced" to the Latin music by my Brazilian neighbor, but give Ry Cooder his due folks. Most of these marvelous Cuban musicians would still be only memories of your Grandparents had Cooder and Wender (sp)? not put the recordings and DVD together. Documentary or concert tape? who cares? I loved the music and since I've never been to Havana or Cuba, the video section of Ry and his son putting along on their motorcycle thru the city's streets to the recording studio were wonderful background for me.
    Am I going to quit searching for Cuban / Latin music because I "found" Buena Vista Social Club? Hell no... I'm looking for more!! Does Ry Cooder's steel guitar work blend in with the Cuban sounds? Ahhh... Who cares? How much Gerry Garcia / Jimi Hendrix crap did we have to listen to... to get to the meat of their talent?
    Give it a rest folks.. Or better yet- share some of the discographys of your favorite Latin players, young and old!!
    THAT would be really fun!
    But quit whining

    5-0 out of 5 stars The tapestry of life through their music
    A previous writer's comment, "The movie needs a story, a thread going all the way through," illustrates a major difference between North American and Hispanic thinking. While those of northern European descent tend to think and talk in a more or less linear fashion, as if following just one thread, Hispanics tend to think and talk as if weaving a tapestry of many threads. This film captures perfectly the tapestry effect in that you are not aware that a story is being told until the final scene at Carnegie Hall, when the impact, and the import, of the entire picture becomes crystal clear. You have to be comfortable with not knowing exactly where you are to handle this kind of exposition. If this is not a story of excellence forgotten and rediscovered, I don't know what it is. These people give me hope; their lives tell so many important stories! If I can create half the beauty in my old age as they do and have done with their music, I'll consider myself successful and fulfilled, indeed.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Musically Solid
    The film captures the live peformance of the wonderful musicians that were featured on the CD. From this perspective it is well worth owning. The ability to see Compay Segundo and Eliades ochoa perform Chan Chan live ,for example, is incredible.

    The documentary style and the scenes of streetlife in Havana are also very colorful and entertaining,

    However I must agree with some of the other reviewers that there is something off about Ry Cooder. I respect him for bringing this wonderful music and these artists the recognition they deserve but his attititude on film does seem strange and his guitar playing does not fit with some of the tunes. At one point he is performing with Rueben Gonzalez , the great Cuban pianist, and he sounds so out of place. In fact Gonzalez looks up from the keyboard with a look on his face that seemed to me to be saying."what are you doing?"

    I guess Cooder might have made the choice to let the music of Cuba speak for itself and just be content to film it but he chose instead to feature himself too frequently for my taste.
    That aside , this is still a fine documentary and a must for anyone who enjoys latin music. ... Read more

    8. I Don't Want to Talk About It
    Director: María Luisa Bemberg
    list price: $19.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6303407269
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 7877
    Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (4)

    4-0 out of 5 stars I do
    Dwarf romances are rare in the cinema. Even the 1938 Terror of Tiny Town was a midget musical western. Argentine director Maria Luisa Bemberg (Camila, Miss Mary) bases her tale on a short story by Julio Llinas. Marcello Mastroianni falls in love with and marries Charlotte, the piano-playing dwarf daughter of Luisina Brando, but the dwarf leaves him and runs away with a visiting circus. The title refers to Brando's refusal to highlight her daughter's condition. It is obvious but also never identified. Her revenge is to burn books - Tom Thumb, Snow White, and Gulliver's Travels. Bemberg's film is slow to start and lags after the wedding and before the circus arrives, but for the most part manages to sustain a mood of mythic wonder. The smashing costumes by Graciela Galan and the delicate photography, which employs a glowing haze white, contribute to the effect. Bemberg is not afraid to play on the weirdness of the concept and even gives Mastroianni a tiny pet monkey to complete the menage a trois. It's a relief when Charlotte's mother is brave enough to laugh at the sight of her daughter and Mastroianni walking down the aisle. What is disappointing is that when someone does an accurate and very funny impersonation of Charlotte, they get slapped down. As the androgynous Charlotte, Alejandra Podesta has the unfortunate bad luck of looking like the possessed Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Mastroianni manages to never look silly which is quite an accomplishment considering what he is called upon to do. Brando's performance is as masterly as her namesake. She displays a wonderful physicality in the opening scene when she destroys dwarf statues, and her resemblance to British comedienne Tracey Ullmann is both visual and in her sensibility. Her laugh, and her reaction to Marcello's request to marry Charlotte are pure Ullmann. Bemberg gives us a lyrical shot of Charlotte riding a white horse and uses this moment to reveal Mastroianni's lust. She cleverly films Charlotte's discovery of the circus at dawn with a subjective camera so that the lion and the elephant look straight at us. Those jumbo eyes speak volumes. Charlotte in circus clothes is pure Fellini and Bemberg also uses low humour with a running gag about the mumbling Mayor. At times her tone is wobbly and the tale becomes unnecessarily complicated but she ends it hauntingly and leaves the audience satisfied.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I don't want to talk about it
    This film is destined to become a classic. Amazing performances all around, great detail, and a wonderful theme--repression--perfectly executed. It bridges the gap between film and life. Deepens every time you see it. Not a false note in it. Not to be missed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Must see for Mastroianni Fans
    This is a gem of a movie. I highly recommend it. In addition the screenplay is fantastic.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece
    I think Lenny Maltin should get a heart and a set of emotions...anyone who's ever felt themselves in any way "different" will understand this movie immediately and likely be moved. The only thing different about reviewers like Malten is that they view films on a dissecting table, rather than encounter the real emotions that make life strange, sometimes frightening and ultimately beautiful thru the art of film. The dedication at the beginning of the film said it all to me: "This film is dedicated to the people with the courage to be different to be themselves." It's a movie about courage and beauty and all the dreams we dare to dream. and sometimes summon the courage to live. ... Read more

    9. All About My Mother
    Director: Pedro Almodóvar
    list price: $21.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 076783917X
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 12402
    Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (103)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
    This is an amazing film that gets better every time I see it. The first time I saw it was in Spain, without English subtitles. I figured I had probably missed a significant part of the movie because my spanish is far from perfect, so I rented it as soon as I got back home to America. I've seen it again, and again, and it never gets old. The reason might be that the concept is so original. Beware all people who like only like safe, conventional American movies, this film is not for you. It's plot centers around homosexuals, transvestites, a pregnant nun, a drug-addicted actress, and just about anyone you might expect to see on Jerry Springer. Any one without a VERY open mind might be frightened, worried, "weirded out" etc. by this movie. Nevertheless, despite it's odd cast of characters the movie is really about concepts that are universal. Funny, shocking, dramatic, disturbing, powerful, this movie hits all the bases. You'll want to read Bodas de Sangre (Blood Weddings), a Street Car Named Desire, and watch All About Eve, just to get more of of thisspectacular movie. Almodovar is a genius, the cinematography is great, the plot amazing, what can I say, I love this movie.

    5-0 out of 5 stars All About Las Mujeres....
    I bought this dvd recently at a discount as a previously viewed item. I've always enjoyed Pedro Almodovar's work, especially my favorite, "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown". I had read and heard lots of good things about "All About My Mother" and after watching it, I wasn't let down. Cecilia Roth is excellent as Manela, a mother her loses her only son, Esteban, to a car accident before her very eyes. Grief stricken she decides to run away from Madrid where she lived and return to Barcelona, the city that she left years ago as a young pregnant woman. Once in Barcelona she meets an old friend called La Agrado, a transsexual prostitute, who in turn introduces her to Rosa, a nun, who becomes a new friend. She also finds work with Huma Rojo (played wonderfully by Marisa Paredes) an actress who is touring the country playing Blanche DuBois in Tennessee William's great work, "A Street Car Named Desire". It was this play that she saw with her son the night he was killed, as he was trying to meet Huma Rojo. The story has lots of twists and is always interesting, as you would expect from Almodovar. But it is the relationships between these women that is the real star of this movie. Almodovar explores the depth of friendship and sisterhood between these women but never turns it into a Lifetime Movie. And due must be given to the actresses, in paticular Cecelia Roth, Marisa Paredes and Antonio San Juan. This movie is a great find and I recommend it to all.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's a womens' world-even the men want to be women!
    The death by accident of a mother's much loved son compels her to go to Barcelona and inform the father, who doesn't even know of the boy's existence. Finding the father is not so easy and by going to Barcelona, the mother digs back into a world she had left behind in order to bring up her son. It is a sordid but colourful world with transvestite prostitutes, junkies, an AIDs riddled nun, divas, and the usual associates of one's past. Remember that this is Almodovar, not Ivory-Merchant. However, these people are not displayed as freaks, but portrayed sympathetically. Almodovar celebrates their lives. He does not pass judgement.

    Like other Almodovar films, the complex story line shows the strains that pull apart and bring together relationships. The emotional lives of the characters are laid bare. While there may be melodrama, there is a strict avoidance of sentimentality. The acting is wonderful, especially Cecilia Roth, who for some reason reminds me of the British actress, Hannah Gordon.

    My only criticism is the use of coincidence. This is also a feature of other Almodovar's films; but here he stretches it a bit far. For instance, first the Cecilia Roth character steps in to take the part of an actress in a professional stage play, to great acclaim, and then when she leaves it, her transvestite friend, who as far as I know has never acted in his life, effortlessly takes over. This is a small criticism. "All About My Mother" is a splendid film by a great film maker. Without being a dreary feminist polemic, it is a celebration of women in all their roles: as mothers, as lovers, as carers; and to those who want to be women. Warmly recommended.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Family Ties
    Despite being utterly overrated, "All About My Mother" is still a compelling and well-crafted movie nonetheless. Avoiding the "style over substance" tendencies that marked some of his work, director Pedro Almodóvar delivers a tight and strong cinematic experience with enough drama and comedy to create a relevant achievement. This is a deep story about mothers, sons, and families (conventional or not), with some dysfunctions and problems along the way. The acting is pretty good, the dialogue is realistic and convincing and the direction is adequately intimate and close to the characters. Yet, the movie isn`t as great or remarkable as some seem to claim. Basically, it`s just a well-told story, not a landmark efort. Not great, or even very good, "All About My Mother" is still an interesting melodrama worth checking.

    Good enough.

    2-0 out of 5 stars All about What??
    The actresses are good. The subject/hidden feeling as explored are also good. However can't the director work out a better, compelling plot line, a reasonable/believable touching story instead of piece together his unconnected dreams?? ... Read more

    10. Strawberry & Chocolate - - Subtitled in English
    Director: Juan Carlos Tabío, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
    list price: $9.99
    our price: $9.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6303696805
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 12616
    Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (27)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A sincere film that speaks of the Cuban soul
    As, I'm assuming, the only Cuban-American to review this film online, I feel especially proud that my country was able to produce such an eloquent, intelligent and all around outstanding film. Many people unacquainted with our customs couldn't possibly begin to relish the cultural nuances that abound in this film. The slang, the attitudes and all-around mannerisms are unmistakibly Cuban and to me it was as if though I were watching a home movie of some old friends. Rarely, have I related to characters the way I did to David, Diego and Nancy. Jorge Perrugoria's Diego is a triumph. Anyone familiar with what's regarded as the quitessential Cuban homosexual (cultured, well-read, opera and ballet loving) will be able to savor this performance like a fine wine; it is absolute perfection. It is hard to believe that he is, in reality, heterosexual. He is just too, too perfect. The fact that this film captures the essence of Cuba is both a revelation and a devestation. One is made to see the crumbling glory that is Havana and it almost inspires heartbreak. Nevertheless, a terrific film through and through and one that I can't recommend enough!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Four stars for the movie, two for the DVD
    STRAWBERRY AND CHOCOLATE [Fresa y Chocolate] (Cuba/Mexico/Spain 1992): Used as an unwitting pawn by his pro-revolutionary colleagues, naive student David (Vladmir Cruz) is encouraged to develop a platonic relationship with flamboyant gay artist Diego (Jorge Perugorria), whose political allegiances have fallen under suspicion. But as their friendship deepens, David is transformed by Diego's resistance to the Cuban regime, even as the forces of oppression begin to close around them.

    Though based on a short story ('El Lobo, el Bosque y el Hombre Nuevo') by screenwriter Senel Paz which explores opposite ends of a political ideology, knowledge of recent Cuban history isn't a prerequisite for viewers of STRAWBERRY AND CHOCOLATE, a small gem from co-directors Tomas Gutierrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabio. Far from a mere political tract, this is a joyous celebration of life and non-conformity, distinguished by Perugorria's extraordinary performance as the camp but dignified Diego, who rejects his friend's unquestioning loyalty to the Cuban political system that is stifling their beloved homeland. Their budding relationship is complicated by Diego's unrequited love for David, depicted here with remarkable honesty and compassion, particularly for a mainstream film. But it's their political differences which ultimately unite the two characters, even as Diego is forced to reap the whirlwind of his public defiance. Much of the narrative unfolds within Diego's crumbling apartment building, where David enjoys a liaison with flaky neighbor Nancy (Mirta Ibarra), who introduces the inexperienced student to the joys of sexual liberation! It isn't a terribly cinematic film, but production values are solid, and the characters are so vivid, and played with such integrity, it hardly matters; this is a movie in which ideas take precedence over action, and the emotional payoff is quite powerful indeed. Beautiful music score by Jose Maria Vitier, too.

    Now the bad news: Buena Vista's DVD version is incomplete, missing approximately six minutes of footage. Absent material includes a brief conversation about racism during David's first visit to Diego's apartment, and a sad little sequence in which the two characters pretend not to notice each other after meeting by accident in a bookstore. These revisions were perpetrated before the film's North American theatrical release by Buena Vista's 'art-house' subsidiary Miramax, a company which is notorious for the cavalier manner in which it treats its foreign acquisitions (their version of THE HORSEMAN ON THE ROOF is similarly incomplete). The alterations imposed on STRAWBERRY AND CHOCOLATE seem completely arbitrary, and demonstrate little more than contempt for American audiences. For the record, the UK video version runs 105m 51s at 25fps in the PAL format, which corresponds to 110m 15s at the original 24fps.

    There are no extras, not even a trailer (there's a puff-piece which trumpets Miramax's involvement in a 'golden age' of cinema, which is ironic given the way they treat their movies). So, four stars for the movie, two for the DVD, and only because the sound and picture quality are so good, despite a worrying amount of grain in the film's opening sequence. The running time quoted below doesn't include the Miramax/Robert Redford logos which open the US DVD print and weren't part of the original film.

    103m 53s
    1.85:1 / Anamorphically enhanced
    Dolby Surround 2.0
    Ultra Stereo [theatrical]
    Spanish soundtrack
    Optional English subtitles
    Region 1

    5-0 out of 5 stars Where's the DVD???
    I was captivated by this charming little film many years back, what with its setting, performances, humour, and all the little nuances that foreign films have mastered over their Hollywood big-buck counterparts.

    My only complaint is why there hasn't been a DVD release of this movie just yet! With such vastly overrated mediocrities such as "Like Water For Chocolate" or "Babette's Feast" now available, it should only be a matter of time.

    A phenomenally enjoyable film, whatever your personal preference.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not a Bad Berry....
    It's a good movie, but not what I expected. From the amount of foreign films I've seen, there have been some outstanding ones like Central Station, City Of Lost Children, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Like Water for Chocolate and Amelie. I guess I hold all foreign (subtitled) films to this high standard. The actor who played Diego, Jorge Perrugoria was wonderful though. He's one of those few actors that uses his eyes to convey so much internal action. Over all, I'm not saying the film was bad, but it wasn't one I'd watch again and again. First film from Cuba nominated for an Oscar.. *** stars

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful film that transcends stereotypes
    The Cuban film, "Fresa y Chocolate," is the story of friendship between a young student (a loyal member of the Communist Party), and a gay political activist, who is critical of the government's censorship. It is an amazing film for a number of reasons. First, it presents a balanced and somewhat critical view of the Cuban political system. This is surprising since it was co-produced by ICAIC, essentially the official Cuban film production company. Second, though the main characters start out as stereotypes, they develop into very real people who go beyond what the audience would expect.

    Considered by many to have been a major catalyst in improving the treatment of gays in Cuba; this film presents a rich and interesting view of Cuban society. ... Read more

    11. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
    Director: Pedro Almodóvar
    list price: $14.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00000IQCG
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 2554
    Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (30)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A True Classic in International Cinema
    Filmed in the style of the screwball comedies of the 1950's, Pedro Almodovar's classic, "Women on the Verge of the Nervous Breakdown," is widely seen as the Spanish director's greatest directorial effort ever, due to his witty script, wonderful use of colors and schemes, and his ability to capture the range of emotions women possess.

    The story, which revolves around a jilted woman (Carmen Maura in her final film collaboration with Almodovar) in search of her lover (Fernando Guillen) might sound like a melodrama at first, however if you mix in a bit of zany subplot and an array of classic characters, and you got yourself a comedy classic.

    Pepa (Maura) finds out that her longtime lover Ivan has left her for another woman. Pepa, who works with Ivan dubbing foreign films into Spanish, discovers that she is expecting a child, and must convey this important message to Ivan in hopes of convincing him to return.

    In her search for Ivan, she discovers that Ivan's ex-wife Lucia (Julieta Serrano) has been released from the asylum that has taken care of her since her breakup with Ivan. She also discovers that Ivan has a son (Antonio Banderas) she never was told about, and due to a series of coincidental encounters, they encounter each other.

    Pepa doesn't seem to be the only person having love problems. Her best friend Candela (Maria Barranco) has discovered that her Arab boyfriend and his friends are actually Shiite terrorists planning to hijack the next flight to Stockholm. Scared, confused, and out of her mind, Candela finds refuge in Pepa's penthouse, and along with Pepa, Carlos (Banderas), and Carlos' fiance (Rossie de Palma), the madcap hysteria that will overtake the later half of the film takes place.

    Using a wide selection of colors that benefit from the film's use of Technicolor, Almodovar has definitely creating a visual feats of patterns, objects (notice the clocks at the beginning), cityscapes (Madrid's famous skyline), and especially colors (as the main character, Pepa is identified by reds, which probably is Almodovar's tribute to American director Nicholas Ray and his famous use of Technicolor red in the classic "Rebel Without a Cause"). Other eye-catching objects that make this film truly wonderful include Candela's coffeepot earrings (they became a major fashion accessory in Spain and Latin America in the early 1990's) and the campy cab decor that the driver of the Mambo Taxi (Guillermo Montesinos) has adopted for his cab.

    Almodovar also adopted a wide selection of beautiful and popular music and songs to tell his story. "Soy Infeliz," by Lola Beltran and "Puro Teatro," by La Lupe are eternal classics thanks to this film. His selection of the rarely heard, yet beautiful compositions by Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov ("The Story of the Kalandar Prince" from Scheherezade-Symphonic Suite, Op. 35 AND the "Fandango Asturiano," from Capriccio Espagnol. Op. 34) gives the film both a feeling of relaxation and fiery anger.

    "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," marks a totally new direction in Spanish cinema. The end of the censorship that was widely well known during the Franco regime of the past allowed Almodovar and many new Spanish directors to explore filmmaking without any restrictions. This film, which was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards in 1989, went on to win many awards including several Goya awards (Spain's highest film awards) and Maura went on to win Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival. Truly, this was her greatest role, and Almodovar knew that he wanted to give his audience a major overdose of Maura that the audience will likely beg for more. He was right, and Maura's performance is considered to be one of the greatest performances by non-English speaking actress in recent years.

    If you're looking for an amazing, funny, and visual film, then "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" is the best choice to fulfill your search. I have seen this movie over 30 times, and I can't get tired of it. It is a true cult classic, and it only illustrates the genius that Almodovar is. The DVD edition contains English, French, and Spanish subtitles and the film's promotional trailers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Watch it and tell your friends about it!
    Hollywood sure doesn't make movies like it used to. For instance, screwball comedies that immortalized the likes of Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Katherine Hepburn in the 30s and 40s were abandoned after Jack Lemmon and Billy Wilder stopped making them in the 60s. But no matter. That grand old wacky tradition continues; it just moved across the Atlantic to get updated with a European facelift at the hands of Pedro Almodovar.

    So hop on your motorcycle with your granny or catch a cab, run to the grocery store, grab yourself a glass of gazpacho (hold the sleeping pills!) and watch this hilarious movie. Subtitles be damned, you'll love this no matter what! If you can watch this without huge belly laughs, you're simply not human!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Universal Shennanigans
    In 'Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown', Pedro Almodovar subtley overturns traditional gender stereotypes. Outside of the shennanigans she encounters from place to place, Pepa takes stock of her situation in the taxi that carries her between buildings. Its here she recognizes that the mechanics of motorcycles are much easier to fathom than those of male psychology. Ivan's first wife Lucia, remains in the 60's fashion she was wearing when he left her. It's almost as if time stopped for her the moment he left. The array of colours seem to be used as a metaphor for the full and intense emotions of the women involved, compared to the grey and black of Carlos and Ivan.

    Apparently Almodovar had to film the balcony scenes in a studio because the downtown skyline of Madrid is now just a sea of office and apartment buildings. Almodovar has never made any secret of the fact that a director should "never borrow, but steal if it is justified" from another director. Witness his homage to Hitchcock's 'Rear Window' when Pepa looks across the street into Lucia's apartment building.

    It's ironic that in his native Spain, Pedro Almodovar finally broke free from being described as a 'cult' director to being appreciated by a wider audience with the massive success of this film. Meanwhile in the U.S., the film was specifically marketed by Orion as a 'minority' picture aimed at an Hispanic and female audience. They must have been pleasantly surprised when the audiences for this film crossed racial and gender barriers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars From an Almodovar fan, "like a child with his new toy"
    casually, while shopping, i found this DVD in a store... i remember i saw this movie once, a long time ago...the price was fine, a whole new movie for my eyes, i took it home... what happened next, i can't explain by words: just put the disc on the player, turn on the tv and begin laughing, just from the overture to the end!!! The music is excellent, the ideal song for every moment on the movie... the caracters, from the main to the most secondary, has its whole story inside the movie... the camera shows everything important, even smallest details... and the story, classic from Almodovar: a lot of people, that appears to be distant and different from each other, join at the end, to make one of the funniest movies ever!! Only from Almodovar's mind can come a story so complicated to explain by words, so insane and desperating, but that makes you get into it, understand it, and love it. Well, that's my appreciation from "Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios", in its original language, so i hope the translated version makes you feel the same

    5-0 out of 5 stars We can't help but stare
    We cannot help but stare in awe as this movie unfolds in all its technicolor glory and darkly twisted wit.
    Ms Maura's performance ranks up there with some of the best.
    Cinematography and Art Direction are spectacular.

    Perhaps not understood by all, Aldomovar's films borrow from those mundane moments of life and gives us all the range of human emotions that many films strive for but fall short. ... Read more

    12. High Heels
    Director: Pedro Almodóvar
    list price: $7.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6302530148
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 1508
    Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (8)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Women, their problems, and more women with their problems...
    ...typical Almodovar. If you happen to like him for that, then, you will enjoy this film. I like the fact that Almodovar keeps his style unchanged, from working with virtually same group of actors every time to using the same combination of colors every time. This repeatition creates a sence of continuity and familiarity, which allows us to enjoy every film to its fullest.

    While this film is not Almodovar's funniest one, it is definitely one of the most exploring, when it comes to the parent-child relationships.

    And again, Almodovar, is at his best, when he talks about women... Just how in the world does he manage that? Well, it does not matter how; what matters is that he DOES.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Almodrama
    Like all great Almodovar movies, traditional gender roles are subverted in 'High Heels'. In fact for WASP suburbanite America, much of this plot would seem like an episode of Jerry Springer. Mother abandons daughter for singing career, daughter marries mother's former lover, mother continues to have affair with son-in-law while daughter becomes pregnant through a night of passion with a drag queen. How ironic it is then that Almodovar takes much of his influence for this movie from Douglas Sirk. A director noted for his melodramas about late 50's/early 60's family life amongst WASP suburanites in America. In fact this meshing of a traditional film genre with more modern edgy characters has even been given a name - an Almodrama -.

    The title 'High Heels' refers to the time when Rebecca was a child and couldn't sleep until she heard the high heels of her mother click-clacking her way home from work outside her bedroom window. Despite being abandoned by her mother, Rebecca never lets go of her love for her and tries all her life to be as 'good' as her in her life and in her loves.

    While this movie was critically panned by many critics both in Spain and abroad, 'High Heels' went on to become the then, second highest-grossing film in Spanish history, ('Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown' being the first!)

    5-0 out of 5 stars "I'm whatever you call me."
    The Spanish comedy film, "High Heels" directed by Pedro Almodovar is the story of a daughter, Rebecca (Victoria Abril) who reunites with her mother, the famous actress/singer Becky del Paramo (Marisa Paredes) after years of estrangement. The mother-daughter relationship is already severely strained due to Becky's single-minded devotion to her career--and a string of unfortunate relationships with men, but Rebecca's marriage to the shady and rather unpleasant Manuel, her former step-father, makes the difficult reunion almost intolerable.

    Rebecca is now a successful television newscaster, but all her success and confidence is stripped away in her mother's presence. Rebecca has never quite managed to overcome her childhood abandonment, and she has yet to resolve many issues about her mother. Rebecca's desire to understand her mother has led to her fascination with Lethal--a female impersonator at a local night club. Lethal specializes in impersonating Becky's Pop years, and performs Becky's songs wearing a mini-skirt, platform shoes and fishnet tights. But is Lethal just another drag-queen or is he something more?

    "All About My Mother" is Almodovar's best film, but "High Heels" is my favourite. I have yet to see a film that depicts a mother-daughter relationship quite as well as "High Heels." This film covers all the usual nasty mother-daughter conflicts of rivalry, abandon, selfishness, aging, and jealousy, but these issues are resolved in the most beautiful way by the story. Victoria Abril is amazing (as always) in the role of Rebecca--the abandoned daughter who can't quite forget or forgive the childhood memories of her mother packing and leaving for professional engagements, and Rebecca's wounds are reopened when her mother returns to Madrid. Abril plays the role with vunerability veneered with toughness. Marisa Paredes, as the elegant Becky del Paramo, is the woman who failed as a mother but succeeded as a star. The reunion of the two women as they finally salvage their relationship is perhaps the most touching event I have ever witnessed on film. Almodovar's message is acceptance and forgiveness of the human failings we all share before the moment passes us by and the opportunity is lost forever.

    The film does include one sexually explict scene. Also the soundtrack to the film is simply marvellous, and it was through the soundtrack I discovered the Spanish popstar Luz Casal. She performs two beautiful songs in the film: "Piensa en Mi" and "Un Ano de Amor." Reviewer

    3-0 out of 5 stars BECKY DEL PARAMO E HIJA
    Although it's not a materpiece, a bit slow in some parts, every Almodovar film is always a gift for the senses, and Tacones Lejanos "High Heels" is not the exception. Exceptional acting performances by Victoria Abril and Marisa Paredes, amazing cinematography, marvelous songs by Luz Casal ("Un año de Amor" and the heartbreaking "Piensa En Mi"), funny impersonators secenes (Miguel Bose aka Letal), and a must-seen for all the fans of the House Of Chanel with big exposure of clothes, jewelry, bags, glasses (eraly 90s collections). At last, i recommend this film for just having a big time with this funny Almodovar.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An intriguing and riveting film.
    I watch many foreign films, and have always had trouble getting into the serious dramas, because I have to rely so heavily on the subtitles, which distracts me from immersing myself into the action. Foreign comedies are easy to get into. And, though this does have some humorous bits, it's one of the few foreign dramas with which I really became engrossed. I found myself guessing at every clue of the mystery and calculating every next step of the action. It may be bad form to give away clues to great mysteries, but here's a tidbit to keep you from being frustrated at trying to guess the mystery; the judge and the transvestite are the same guy. Almodovar is a great director. For a lighter fare, with a sadonic bite, try Almodovar's other masterpieces, TIE ME UP TIE ME DOWN or WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN. ... Read more

    13. A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings
    Director: Fernando Birri
    list price: $19.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6302027764
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 18834
    Average Customer Review: 3.33 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (3)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Teachers Beware!
    I was looking for a video of this short story by Marquez because my high school class was reading it in school. I borrowed the tape from a local library before I bought it to see if we wanted a copy in our library.
    I thought the movie was very true (overall to the author), and I enjoyed how closely the director kept to the story, but then the second half changed dramatically from the first half, so much that I became very thankful that I previewed the tape before I showed it to my class.

    There was quite a bit of profanity in the second half, AND there were several sexual scenes that could not be shown in the classroom. These scenes were not in the short story, so I guess they were added to give some spice to the video, but I thought it was very unnecesary, and of course, now my students can't enjoy it in class as we had hoped to do after we read the story. Obviously, Hollywood isn't the only production area that adds 'T & A' because they think it will help sell the video.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Faithful to García Márquez, but difficult to follow
    The dubbing of this film makes it difficult to follow. The actors' lips do not move in tandem with what appears to be dubbing in to Spanish. (The original may have been in Portuguese, filmed in Brazil.)

    There are, however, several interesting cinematic expressions of the magic component of García Márquez's new literary genre, magical realism. Making a movie out of a García Márquez novel or short story certainly gives the privilege of being able to depict, on film, extraordinary and magical events. The director of this film certainly had "literary license" to think up the surrealistic events you will see. Think of it as the cinematographic equivalent of expressionism or surrealism in painting (artistic movements often begin in painting and only much later find expression in literature). Expressionism portrays reality in broad strokes, making it more beautiful in an impossible way.

    This movie tries to be faithful to García Márquez's effort to portray (an often difficult) reality in a way that produces fascination and wonder. The film only partially succeeds; sometimes I found there was both wonder and puzzlement as to what was going on.

    The young actress portraying a protagonist has a beauty (candidly depicted in the film) that carries the film in some parts. Her youthfulness is well portrayed, as are her potential and her sexuality.

    Viewers enjoying this film should definitely see the intriguing and wide-open film "Eréndira", based on García Márquez's gem of a novella "La increíble y triste historia de la cándida Eréndira y su abuela desalmada" ("The incredible and sad tale of innocent Erendira and her heartless grandmother").

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fascination, wonder, fantasy
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez, excuse me if Ive mispelled the name, offers such a wonderful world of fantasy and yet such insite. I've watched this film again and again. Amazing. Not since I viewed "Seet Movie" was I so moved. ... Read more

    14. Los Olvidados
    Director: Luis Buñuel
    list price: $59.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6303593178
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 28844
    Average Customer Review: 4.91 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece.
    "Los Olvidados" is a masterpiece of a film, a true work of graphic realism in the cinema. Of course it is, it being directed by the great genius Luis Bunuel. "Los Olvidados" is a great film, richly photographed with a gritty, graphic feeling and superbly written and acted. Bunuel takes deep into the world of poverty and the consequences and events surrounding children living on the streets. It is not just an examination of juvenile crime in Mexico, but on juvenile crime as a whole. It examines what happens to people who grow without a good home, education or parents. "Los Olvidados" can also be seen as a study of the dark side of man. Bunuel looks at reality unblinkingly and makes a movie that can be hypnotic at times. It is beautiful, in a dark way. The realism can be felt vibrating off the screen and "Los Olvidados" can take on the disturbing feeling of a street documentary equipped with murder, lust and violence. Bunuel also adds a touch of eroticism that elevates the material. "Los Olvidados" is a slice of true cinema, Mexican or otherwise. It displays the masterful talent that Bunuel possessed for realism in the cinema. This is an effective, unforgettable movie. One of the greatest works ever made in Latin cinema.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Art And Compassion From Bunuel
    This superb Mexican film, beautifully written, composed and shot, was one of Bunuel's personal favorites. Its rough b&w suits very well its penetrating and compassionate, but pessimistic, look at the misery of indigent juvenile delinquents in Mexico City. This is a good example of how at times Bunuel's surrealism seems to be just a very deep realism.
    This film follows the story of Pedro and Jaibo, two youths destroyed by the squalid conditions in which they live. It is very easy at first to feel much more sympathy for the very likeable Pedro, with his endless bad luck, than for Jaibo who seems to be simply cruel, but by the end Bunuel very effectively shows that they are both equally tragic victims of larger forces. One of the most effective touches in this film is the way Bunuel contrasts these 'criminal' youths with the deeply self-righteous cruelty of a both literally and spiritually blind street performer who prides who himself on his law-abiding conservatism; then with Pedro's shallowly judgmental mother who regrets her attitude too late to save her son; and finally even with a seemingly sincere and very caring social worker who can not hold back the tide that sweeps Pedro and Jaibo into the void. The last frames of the film portraying the demise of these two youths are heartbreaking and reveal the great artistry and compassion of Bunuel. A great film. Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a natural classic
    I like Buñuel not just because he's a great director. I also like him because he made Los Olvidados. It is ripe with social issues, poverty, gang violence, ignorance, and the struggle to survive. I like Los Olvidados because the movie reveals an unusual but common side to Latin America, poverty. Los Olvidados also has strong symbolism throughout the movie and a CONVENIENT ending for those interested in Latin American class and social reality. It is not surprising that the protagonist ends up somewhere that is a common theme to Latin American Literature. Let me not give up the ending. I first saw this film in a Media Studies/ Art class in Spain. The focus of the course was Surrealism.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Buñuel.
    "Los Olvidados" remains a landmark in not only Hispanic cinema, but world cinema as a whole. It marked the return of Luis Buñuel after two decades of obscurity and proved he was more than just a memorable name from the Surrealist movement in Europe. "Los Olvidados" is gritty, surreal storytelling at it's finest, Buñuel masterfully mixes the storytelling with dreamlike touches to create a film that is unforgettable and timeless. The film follows the lives of children living in the poverty-stricken areas of Mexico City, there is little hope in their daily living for social advancement and they resort to crime to fulfill their needs. A murder for revenge eventually creates friction between two friends and sends them on a dangerous odyssey. "Los Olvidados" is a striking social commentary, even more so today because anyone who has lived or traveled through Latin America can fully relate to the issues the film explores. Consider that the youth culture in "Los Olvidados," made in 1950, is no different from that which is shown in a more recent, equally great Mexican film, "Amores Perros," made in 2000. Buñuel paints here on a canvas of love, death, revenge, lust and murder.The images are rich and the writing is on par with the visuals, especially since Buñuel takes what would in other circumstances be seen as simple storytelling and turns it into a work full of great depth and visceral energy, there is even a hypnotic dream sequence that reminds us that Buñuel was a surrealist first and foremost in his filmmaking. When the movie first came out it won him a Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival and played for months in Paris and London, influencing many a young aspiring filmmakers, including Roman Polanski who remembers seeing the film as true literature. "Los Olvidados" has survived the test of time, and like all great movies it only grows better with age.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Unrelentingly grim, but worth watching
    This is a rather unreletingly grim film about young people in Mexico City's barrio in the early 50s. Sympathetic and intersting characters draw you into the film, such as the orphan "Little Eyes" and his female friend, and Pablo, the street urchin hated by his mother because of her bitterness toward the boy's absent father. Audiences will be repelled at first by the boys' mugging of a blind and crippled man, but the film shows you both sides of the story. Not exactly the most uplifting material in the world, but it is a timeless example of the saying "Children learn by what they live." ... Read more

    15. Lovers of the Arctic Circle (Amantes del Círculo Polar)
    Director: Julio Medem
    list price: $19.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00001NI6X
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 15894
    Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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    Watching the Spanish film Lovers of the Arctic Circle is like slowly falling into a yearning and melancholy dream. Two children--Ana and Otto--meet and instantly know that they're soul mates. Their parents--one of whom is divorced, the other a widow--also meet and fall in love. Now that they share the same house, Ana and Otto (by now teenagers) become secret lovers. But troubles intervene: Otto's mother dies, for which Otto blames himself and his father, and he leaves Ana and becomes a airplane pilot. Though their paths cross again and again throughout their lives, they keep missing each other until the power of their love finally draws them together. But the hypnotic power of Lovers of the Arctic Circle lies in how the movie unfolds, deftly shifting back and forth between the different perspectives of Ana and Otto. The gradual interweaving of their lives accumulates into a metaphysical swoon; rarely is the notion of romantic destiny made so heartfelt and so mysterious at the same time. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (19)

    5-0 out of 5 stars i love this movie!
    This is a great movie. It reminds me a little bit of Abre Los Ojos, another of Fele Martinez's films, in its darkness and the melancholy feeling that both movies share of unpredictability. I had no idea what was going to happen in this movie until the very end. I really liked it and I want to see Nimri and Martinez in more films.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A M A Z I N G
    Am I glad I decided to rent this movie! Like the theme of this movie, it was a good twist of fate that I got it.

    I don't know how to put the brilliance of this movie into words. In the vein of "Pulp Fiction", "Run Lola Run", and "Before the Rain", "Lovers of the Arctic Circle" is a complex movie that dares to defy conventions of storytelling--using multi-perspectives, circular storylines, coincidences. This is not for everyone, since some people just like their stories to be flung onto their plates, challenges aside.

    The story penetrates into the psyche by not telling it through one person's eyes--but both--the two lovers, Ana and Otto. This method of storytelling heightens our perspectives and increases the depth of emotion and thought. The story tells how Ana and Otto fall in love as children, and how their love only grows stronger throughout the years, despite trials and tribulations. Both perspectives weave in and out, combine once--and split at the very end. One ending is happy, the other is tragic--one is Ana's, the other is Otto's.

    This movie will haunt you for days afterward. It will force you to think about love, life, coincidences, fate, destiny, the unique twists and turns that life gives us, and the beauty of it all . . .

    Of all the movies I've seen in a lifetime, and that's a lot for the average human being, this is one of the most profoundly unique I've ever seen.

    It is an unexpectated stroke of brilliance.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Something gorgeous...
    "Lovers of the Arctic Circle" is the romantic equvalent to the action of "Run Lola Run". I had the fortune of catching this amazing film on tv and fell in love from the start. An amzing story that keeps you wondering and rooting for the two main characters. If you enjoy film that makes you think, then rent "Lovers of the Arctic Circle" and then decide...i guarantee you, this movie will keep you trippin for days!

    Somebody PLEASE release this on DVD in America!!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Might as well be the best film ever made...
    ...and as for you, 1goodgame from North Bend, OR, you hit the nail on the head. How did everyone else seem to miss this???!!!

    Somebody PLEASE release this on DVD in America!

    4-0 out of 5 stars very strange, but worthwhile
    Creepy, beautiful, and, as someone else has already said, haunting. I don't desire to own my own copy of this movie, or really even watch it again for a few more years... but I was certainly glad I saw it. ...I'm not sure I would advise watching it alone, tho... it's just a little too "wait... what's going on?" for that. *shrug* Certainly, the disjointed style helps add to the ending, but it also started to feel kinda... unsettling after a while. (Then again, I'm easily confused... *grin*)

    Alert: Prudish types should watch out for the erotic scene between the children (tho I thought it was very cool, myself...) ... Read more

    16. Belle Epoque
    Director: Fernando Trueba
    list price: $19.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6303283713
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 25003
    Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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    This Spanish fluff from 1992 won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but its significance goes about as far as you can throw a flower petal. The story finds an elderly artist (Fernando Fernán Gómez) giving shelter to a deserter (Jorge Sanz) from the royalist army in provincial Spain, 1931. While on the premises, the young man naturally notes the beauty of all four of his host's daughters. Each takes her turn at seducing him, but this isn't late-night cable TV so much as it is a series of brief character sketches filled out by the way each woman takes charge. It's a clever idea made more clever by the fact that these sundry beauties are acting on the libertine impulses to which their free-thinking father subscribes in principle but has sheepishly abandoned for love. But the film, directed by Fernando Trueba, is rendered so lightly it could almost be mistaken for calendar art. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

    Reviews (25)

    5-0 out of 5 stars I love this movie!
    Rarely will I view a movie more than once. I've seen this one twice now. Anyone who has been to Spain will see the character and spirit of the Spanish represented by the personalities of the four beautiful sisters, their father, mother, and of course the deserter from the army. The opening scene with the two Civil Guardia definitely makes a statement about the mind-set in Spain of 1931. Trueba brings it all together to give us this wonderfully humorous, sexy, interesting, and altogether pleasing film. Muchas gracias Fernando! Bravo, cinco estrellas!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Lusty & Innocent Fun
    This movie is unequivocably recommended. The themes are mature and the subtitles use the most common of language. Fortunately the subtitles don't translate the most common of those words as often as they're said in this delightful Spanish farce. The movie is meaningless, but very funny and very entertaining with lots to recommend it.

    The movie has excellent character development, charming and humorous dialogues, lovely cinematography and an overall attractiveness.

    The male lead has led an innocent existence in which he spent some time in a seminary, and then has deserted from the army. Now when he meets the four daughters of a libertine aging artist who has befriended him, he wants to make up for lost time. The older three daughters use him for their forbidden pleasures, and don't take the encounters seriously. Being unsophisticated, he falls in love with each until the next one seduces him. He doesn't realize until almost too late, that the youngest actually loves him, although I can't see what qualities he has except for his looks. Oh, that's right, he cooks better than anyone in the family.

    The costume celebration and its aftermath is one of the most hilarious I've seen in a movie regardless of language.

    I'm sure there were social messages that without knowledge of Spanish customs and history, were not apparent. There seemed to be a strong association with death. The side story of the young man who is infatuated with the second daughter but can't break away from his mother or tradition, until his frustration causes him to falsely renounce everything his mother stands for, probably symbolizes certain hypocrises in Spain at that point in history as it tried to break away from a moonarchy but couldn't make up its mind.


    5-0 out of 5 stars Little Conan grows up! And gets laid a lot, I see....
    OK, I've actually never seen this movie, but I give it 5 stars anyway just for its great reputation and the presence of its star actor, Jorge Sanz.

    You see, I'm actually a huge fan of the movie "Conan the Barbarian", which was filmed in Spain, and so had several Spanish and European actors/actresses.

    I got to wondering one day about what happened to the cute little boy who played Conan as a small child in that movie. In the fabulous Opening Sequence of "Conan the Barbarian", little Conan gets to see his village wiped out by Thulsa Doom's thugs, and then watches as his mother is beheaded by Thulsa Doom as she holds on tightly to his little hand. Then little Conan is marched off to slavery....

    The Commentaries from John Milius and Arnold Schwarzeneggar sparked my interest:

    Arnold: Does the kid wear lipstick, or what is that? (commenting on little Conan's red lips)

    Milius: Naw! that's just a kid!

    Arnold: That's funny

    Milius: ....that was a tough kid, I remember that....

    Thanks to's thorough website linkages, it took just a couple of mouse clicks to find out what happened to little Conan....

    ...and so here he is, living it up with four beautiful young women in pre-civil War Spain!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars S. Maes
    This is a wonderfully fun, well-directed and acted film about the antics of a handsome young man and 4 tantalizing seductresses. Although the setting takes place in the 1930's, it is an ageless tale of youth and romance.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Belle Epoque, Beau Film
    Belle Epoque is a beautifully rendered film with a good sense of humor and a well-paced plot. Unlike what a previous reviewer wrote, it is actually set in the years PRECEDING the Spanish Civil War, that is, when a republic was established after the abdication of Alfonso XIII in 1931. The debate between Monarchism and Carlism versus Republicanism and Anarchism -a split in Spanish society that would culminate in the outbreak of the Civil War in 1936- is made accessible as expressed by the colorful characters in this movie: the pampered mollycoddle Juanito, the irreverent priest, the artist-patriarch (who nevertheless lives like a "scared old bourgeois"). The Civil War of the 1936-39 was only the last of the many civil wars that erupted in Spain during the modern era (e.g. the Carlist Wars of the Nineteenth Century). The movie will throw light on this turbulent time as it affected ordinary people, and for those of you not squeamish about the idea of a man sleeping with four beautiful women in the course of a few days, I recommend this movie highly. "Belle Epoque" is NOT fluff or late-night soft porn; it is only disguising its gravity behind a façade of lightheartedness. ... Read more

    17. So Smart - Spanish (For Babies 6-36 Months)
    list price: $12.95
    our price: $12.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00004STFF
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 1468
    Average Customer Review: 3.56 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars I was so surprised how my baby loves this video:
    When I saw the video for the first time, I thought "This is so boring" My son is very alert & into details so I thought he will not like it, but he stares at it without paying attention to anything else.
    It is my baby's favorite since he is 5 months old & he is 11 months now & I still have to put it on every day. I guess is the music together with the drawings, colors & spanish language etc...

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT!
    My Daughter absolutely loves this video. I bought it for her when she was 8 months and she was just captivated by the catchy and fun songs and simple colorful animation. She gets so excited whenever it comes on that she will actually sit and watch it for the full 1/2 hour. She just loves to bounce and dance to all the songs.

    4-0 out of 5 stars For entertainment more than education
    The sound quality of the video is not good enough to understand all the words, (a big drawback for a foreign language video), and ours also came with no book to help with this problem. The images are 2 dimensional graphics, but are bright and fun. The music is actually quite catchy, light and rhythmic. Most importantly though, my 2 year old triplets love it!!! They dance to it and enjoy the cute images.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's terrible - BUT my child LOVES it!!!
    The worst sound quality you've ever heard - the most primitive animations ever created... BUT my one year old stares at the screen and smiles and laughs and points and WILL NOT MOVE FROM HIS SEAT until it is over. We bought this as a set with two cassette tapes, a songbook and a video when he was 4 months old and he has been captivated ever since. He will not watch anything else on TV but when this comes on he will stop whatever he is doing and watch for the full half-hour. I'm not sure if he is learning anything, but the video has been a lifesaver if he is crying (it stops immediately) or if we have to put him down for a minute (he won't budge.) There must be subliminal messages in it! I highly recommend it for YOUR sanity, if nothing else! I'll keep you posted to see if he actually has learned any Spanish!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Nice try
    There are some good things here, and it's definitly better than nothing at all, but really - aeroplano? Try avion. Please watch the aglicisms. The goal is spanish, not spanglish. ... Read more

    18. Flamenco
    Director: Carlos Saura
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $29.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1567301606
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 16746
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (21)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great lineup, sterile handling
    Carlos Saura has cornered the market for flamenco movies today, from his 'Carmen' and 'Bodas de Sangre'. The long career has given him access to Spain's top artists working today. Unfortunately he has not seen fit to change his doggedly austere style, throwing artists into a stark empty room hoping to induce a more somber, and presumably purer, more dignified and more respectable Art.

    This may be good politics, but makes for bad art. Like it or not, the soul of flamenco cannot be torn from the Andalucian sun and earth and still live. Like Argentine tango and jazz, it is at its most vibrant and purposeful when it's at home among its people.

    A much better intro to flamenco, which showcases this living link, would be "Duende y Misterio del Flamenco", "Los Tarantos" by legend Carmen Amaya, or the many Spanish TV documentaries like "Caminos Flamencos" or "Años de Flamenco" (with many of the same artists), available from Catalina's (

    5-0 out of 5 stars All the power, passion and artistry of contemporary flamenco
    This is THE flamenco film. Carlos Saura, famous for his work with the great Antonio Gades ("Blood Wedding," "Carmen" and "El Amor Brujo") and for his portrait of Andalusian folklore in "Sevillanas," creates one of the best flamenco films ever made.

    The focus in this work is on the performers and their performances. Sets are minimal and there is no "story" except that generated by the lyrics of the flamenco songs themselves. The director is careful to capture not only the larger aspects of the performances but also to zero in on the emotional engagement of the performers with their art . Flamenco is as much about the performer's struggles with the art and the emotions that underpin it as it is about a stage presentation. This is an intimate film despite the fact that it was shot in a train station. The sets, lighting and camera work continually direct your focus to that intimate space created by the performers.

    The conceit of the film is a journey not only through flamenco's different styles as embodied by some of the art's greatest contemporary performers, but also a journey into the night. Not only is the night evoked through lighting effects, but the deep inner recesses of the soul are suggested as well, that inner wellspring from which flamenco itself arises.

    This is the most profound exploration of flamenco ever captured on film. To understand flamenco, there is no better place to start than with Carlos Saura's masterpiece, "Flamenco."

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not what I thought...
    I have listened to flamenco music all my life..I was born in Spain, and I'm telling you that this tape is not the true flamenco you would find on the streets of sevilla, or anywhere else in the south. ALso did not have enough dancing, which is the main atraction of the flamenco music.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Duende on film
    Those not in the know tend to think of Flamenco in terms of women with fans and flying skirts and men in boots and macho attitudes. Well, yeah, but there's more, much more. This movie, filmed in a converted Spanish railway station, presents the full range of the Gitano's art, from traditional to modern, individual to group, expressing all the pain and joy of a true, very serious artform. A delight.

    3-0 out of 5 stars not enough dance
    I am relatively new to flamenco and do not understand spanish. I like flamenco for the passion in the dance. I do not understand the music though, so my review might be that of a novice. I cannot even recognize the artists. I expected more dance in the video, though there are some very good pieces. I wanted to see more of the performers dancing like the world did not matter to them and the sound of the shoes was all the sound in the world, and the expressions in their faces. I am disappointed considering the price i paid for this. I wish I knew where to look for heart stopping flamenco dance. ... Read more

    19. Ernesto Che Guevara, The Bolivian Diary
    Director: Richard Dindo
    list price: $29.98
    our price: $29.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 157252233X
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 12373
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Following the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro's trusted comrade Ernesto Che Guevara found himself becoming a bureaucrat. Seeking a return to action, Che eventually traveled in secret to Bolivia in 1966, hoping to foment a revolution on the South American mainland that would spread throughout all of Latin America. This documentary, which relies greatly on a journal Che kept during his time in Bolivia, as well as interviews with contemporaries who fought in the hills with him, provides an insightful look at his thoughts during the last year of his life. Che's apparent intent in Bolivia was, of course, to copy the success of the Cuban Revolution, but the words of his journal, as read in the documentary, betray his increasing hopelessness. His band of guerrillas was tiny and hungry, often more concerned with killing birds for food than with any principles of global revolution. According to those who appear on camera tospeak of Guevara's final days, it seems the peasants were terrified of gettinginvolved. Tracking Guevara's movements through the Bolivian mountains, thedocumentary proceeds at a leisurely pace, but it also provides a great deal ofinformation about Guevara's final days, leading up to his execution by Boliviantroops acting, some say, under the direction of the CIA. --Robert J.McNamara ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great footage of Che's final journey
    Following the Bolivian trails where Che fought his last battles is quite moving. This documentary wore me out both emotionally, and in some strange way, physically.

    Included in this film are photos of Che's original diary. Also included were interviews with people who met him during the Bolivian struggle. The most impressive interview was with a village schoolteacher who had a conversation with him moments before his execution.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not the best book around
    Che Guevara's legacy goes way deeper that what the book makes it to be. The book is obviously written by a westerner who does not respect this figure of history a whole bunch. Try other books written by more serious writer to find out the real story of Che. Long live Che.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ernesto Che Guevara, The Bolivian Diary
    Excellent. This one cut deep. Not only the facts about Che, but the people interviewed were extremely interesting. Hint: read the english subtitles fast. Some subtitles obscured by the film color but not too bad. I recommend this film to anyone interested in Che. ... Read more

    20. "Ay, Carmela!"
    Director: Carlos Saura
    list price: $19.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6302253772
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 11922
    Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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    In a country torn apart by Civil War, two travelling entertainers find themselves trapped on the wrong side of enemy lines. Will a show to end all shows save their lives, or finish them? ' 'Funny, moving and irresistible!' ' (The Village Voice) ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great film set during the Spanish Civil War
    The great director Carlos Saura started with an outstanding cast and authentic detailed war time sets to create this superb film about republican vaudeville entertainers who take a wrong turn during their road show and wind up in the hands of fascist troops. Expecting to be executed, they are given a chance to entertain the fascists and obtain freedom by a stage struck Italian officer. But a chance encounter with Polish international brigade prisoners of war creates an emotional conflict for Carmen Maura. She must go through with an act that she finds distasteful and dreads the possibility that the POWs will be in the audience. The details of wartime Spain are excellent and the supporting cast is outstanding. The title of the film is taken from a charming Civil War song which also happens to be the name of the act, Carmela y Paulino. Saura has created a film that is both light and charming but with an underlying seriousness about this great tragic period of Spanish history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Novios de la muerte.
    The Spanish Civil War seen as a vaudeville show for the brutal Franco troops, where the terrified performers try to save their skins and their conscience, knowing they can't have both. Carmen Maura shines (what else is new?) as the outspoken partner in a sing-and-dance couple, but Pajares clearly steals the show as her chaplinesque, panic-stricken husband.

    For SCW buffs, the movie is top notch. Down-to-the-last-detail production truly re-creates wartime Spain in every aspect, from uniforms, vehicles, weapons, posters, fashions, jokes, songs and dances, to even the streets themselves, for it seems the producers had to destroy an entire Spanish village in order to shoot the film. The menacing background radio broadcasts real-life Franco speeches, war news bulletins and fascist hymns, whereas the movie score is powerful and nostalgic. A gripping, yet comic, tale about the unsung heroism of your fellow man, I personally prefer it to Benigni's much vaunted 'La Vita E Bella!'. Don't miss it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Burguesía y resistencia.
    En esta historia, enmarcada en la Guerra Civil Española, donde los Franquistas dominaban las manifestaciones artísticas no del agrado de ellos, encontraron la censura y el rechazo, manifiesto en la osbstrucción y el abuso. La resistencia que apenas se podia sostener, enfrentaba el fusilamiento o la desaparición imprevista. Carmela representa esa resistencia. Es la voz del pueblo que no se resigna a abandonar lo que cree y lo que vive, su arte, como expresión sublime del ser humano. Esta película es una de las mejores muestras de la lucha sostenida entre las clases dominantes de la burgesía y los trabajadores del arte.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Carmen triumphant
    This is a beautiful movie exploring the courage of a woman surrounded by confused, helpless, or cowardly men. Carmela during the Spanish Civil War faces down the fascists and turns the tables on them in a play they thought would ridicule their victims, but which Carmela forces to the logical exposition of the basic cowardice of fascists (from Francisco Franco and Benito Mussolini to George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon), whose courage consists in the murder of unarmed opponents, like the heroic actress. ... Read more

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