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THE MYSTICAL PROPERTIES OF FOOD...
on 5 November 2002
This film is a feast for the eyes. Based upon the best selling novela of the same name by Laura Esquivel, who also wrote the screenplay, the film successfully captures this tale of forbidden love. Well directed by Laura Esquivel's husband, Alfonso Arau (The Magnificent Ambersons, A Walk In the Clouds), the cast delivers wonderful performances in this mystical tale.
During the early twentieth century in Mexico, just south of the border, a girl catches the eye of boy. A number of years later, the boy, Pedro, now a young man, speaks to the girl, Tita, now a young woman, and declares his heartfelt, passionate love for her. Pedro (Marco Leonardi) wants Tita (Lumi Cavazos) to marry him.
He and his father meet with Tita's mother, Elena (Regina Torne), and ask if she would give her consent to a union between Pedro and Tita, Elena's youngest daughter. Elena forbids such a marriage to take place, as it is an unbroken family tradition that the youngest daughter remain single, so that she may take care of her mother until the mother dies. Such is the destiny of Tita. Elena, instead, cruelly offers to have her oldest daughter, Rosaura (Yareli Arizmendi), marry Pedro.
Surprisingly, Pedro agrees to marry Rosauro, his twisted logic being that this is the only way he can be close to Tita. Thus, begins an untenable situation. Tita, forced by her selfish, harridan of a mother to prepare the wedding feast for Rosaura and Pedro, begins a lifelong sublimation of her passion and emotions with food. Its mystical properties become self evident in the expert hands of Tita, as she becomes a superlative cook. She has the ability to imbue the food that she prepares with the fervor and feelings, both good and bad, that she dare not express. Her love, her pain, her passion is evident in every delightful and delicious dish that she creates, and her feelings manifest themselves in those who ingest her meals.
This is a glorious film about love, filled with mystical, magical, and supernatural portents. Sensual and evocative, it details the road that Tita and Pedro must travel before their journey is complete. Wonderfully acted and beautifully told, theirs is a story that will long linger in the mind of the viewer. Awash in amber tones, the brilliant cinematography contributes to the mystical properties of this film. Sumptuous and surreal, it is a feast for the eyes and not to be missed. Bravo!