The films on this list made me feel that I was inside someone else’s life: no filters, no artifice, just pure, real life. I believed every character, every color, every emotion, every location, every song, every sound. I didn’t see actors; I saw people going about their lives, taking me with them into a world I would have never had access to.
Patricia Cardoso won a gold medal at the Student Academy Awards in 1996 and directed Real Women Have Curves (2002), which earned the Audience Award for best dramatic film and the Special Jury Prize for acting at the Sundance Film Festival.
In this movie, for the first time in my life, I saw the streets I lived on and people who looked like me on screen. It was the first Colombian movie I ever saw. It made me aware that I have grown up watching foreign films about foreign people and foreign places, and never about my own.
Wadja took me through her neighborhood in Riyadh, on her journey to buy a green bicycle. It reminded me of my childhood in Bogotá, where I also wanted a bike I didn’t have. It gave me a glimpse into the lives of a young girl and her mother in Saudi Arabia that were complex and rich and authentic. It is hopeful, universal, and unique.
Mosquita y Mari is a beautifully told coming of age story of two Chicana teens in their neighborhood of Huntington Park in Los Angeles. It is also a love story to these characters and this community.
The highly original and unexpected story of Victor and Thomas from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, that is tragic and humorous at the same time. The characters are treated with complexity, warmth, and respect, and the movie is skillfully written and directed.
Raimunda and her daughter go into a chilling and hilarious journey that made me cry and laugh and surprised me at every turn. A road trip from Madrid to La Mancha, with truth in every location and every character. And at the heart of it, a love story between a mother and a daughter.