Walking around Mexico City it would seem its cinematic possibilities are endless. The city has set the stage for stories famous and forgotten with Hollywood stars and ordinary people. Here are eight films in which this surreal place is a character you are forced to pay attention to.
Los Olvidados (The Young and the Damned)
Los Olvidados follows a group of rough and tumble street kids as they struggle to survive the streets of turn-of-the-century Mexico. the movie was filmed almost entirely in La Romita, one of the original isla towns that got gobbled up by urban sprawl. The neighborhood had a reputation for being a rough place and this film didn’t help!
As James Bond tries to foil attempts by the criminal organization Spectre to set up a global surveillance system, he is hopping rooftops and running through plazas in downtown Mexico City. The opening scene – often thought to be in the Zocalo – is actually the Plaza Manuel Tolsa that sits in front of the National Museum of Art on Tacuba Street.
Said to be a quintessential watch for anyone interested in Mexico City, Amores Perros is a violent and seedy representation of the backalleys and deep neighborhoods of the city, though ironically it was mostly filmed in the very upscale Colonia Condesa. This film was said to have launched the career of famous Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal and is a favorite among movies about Mexico City.
This coming-of-age movie tells the story of two brothers, one (Santos) living in Mexico City and part of the 1999 student strikes at the National University, and the other (Tomas) sent by his mother from his small town to live with him. Shot in black and white, the brothers are searching for a rock and roll artist that they love, which takes them all across Mexico City.
One of Mexico City’s most loved and complex celebrities, Frida Kahlo’s life was depicted by Selma Hayak in this 2002 film in all its wild and beautiful glory. The movie was shot in Mexico City – where Frida and Diego Rivera lived for many years – and out at the Teotihuacan pyramids, one of Frida’s favorite places to while away a few hours. The city’s colorful nostalgia comes through in every scene.
Días de gracia (Days of Grace)
A story of narcoviolence, gangs and life in the barrios of Mexico City, Dias de Garcia’s real protagonist is the city itself, and maybe the king of Mexican sports – soccer. The aerial shots of the city and its neighborhoods are beautiful in their ugliness and orderly in their chaos. Its critics claim the film glorifies and exaggerates violence in Mexico, but it’s a thrilling watch.
Todos tienen a alguien menos yo
The story of a romance between two unlikely women Maria (Naian González Norvind) and Alejandra (Andrea Portal), Todos tienen a alguien menos yo is beautifully filmed in black and white by Mexican filmmaker Raúl Fuentes. A big age difference and the peculiarities of the women make their romance fraught with trouble, but enticing to watch. Filmed all over Mexico City, this Netflix film is a must see for anyone who loved DF.
Temporada de Patos
This story, filmed in black and white, tells the story of three neighbor kids, stuck in their apartment during a power cut with nothing to entertain them. Each character is trying to work out their own personal conflicts and the day is full of ridiculous antics and touching moments. The kids live in one of the famous Tlatelolco apartment buildings in Mexico City, where much of movie is filmed.