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Like Water for Chocolate [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Based on the best-selling novel by Laura Esquival, this internationally popular romantic fable from Mexico centers on a young woman who discovers that her cooking has magical effects. The tale's heroine, Tita, is the youngest of three daughters in a traditional Mexican family. Bound by tradition to remain unmarried while caring for her aging mother, Tita nevertheless falls in love with a handsome young man named Pedro. Pedro returns her affection, but he cannot overcome her family's disapproval, and he instead marries Tita's elder sister. The lovestruck young woman is brutally disappointed, and her sadness has such force that it infects her cooking: all who eat it her feel her heartbreak with the same intensity. This newly discovered power continues to manifest itself after the wedding, as Tita and Pedro, overcome by their denied love, embark on a secret affair.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
So, when her monstrous mother Elena (Regina Torné) tells Tita she’ll never be married, and that her true love Pedro (Marco Leonardi) will wed her sister instead, Tita’s tears poison the wedding banquet and cause the guests to collapse into sobbing themselves, and then violently vomit.
Opening in 1895, the film spans about 40 years, although it’s very fast-moving. There’s a birth and a funeral in the first five minutes. It’s a heady, dizzying narrative, with every melodramatic scene seemingly another revelation: another pregnancy or untimely death, as Tita and Pedro dance a merry (and not-so-merry) dance around the entrenched family values and traditions of the time.
Throughout, food is the real star, Alfonso Arau’s camera lovingly sticking its nose into myriad dishes while the humans bicker and weep. There’s something paradoxically powerful about a feminist story told mostly in kitchens. It’s a film about sensations; specifically, how social conventions deny human sensations. The “food of the gods” scene, which culminates in Tita’s sister trying to dowse her lust and setting the water-shed on fire, is wildly erotic. Jane Campion’s The Piano would be released the following year, and that too would make deeply sensual use of buttoned-down desires finally unleashed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Supplied in Spanish without subtitles, this was wasted money.
This is an interesting storyline - a mother insists her youngest daughter cannot marry but must spend her life looking after her. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Pauline Butcher Bird
There were a few films of this genre floating around in the early nineties: the above, Babette's Feast and The Piano (which seemed to ring the bell most strongly). Read morePublished 15 months ago by Dan Smith