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Film Analysis: Like Water For Chocolate

Updated on August 7, 2017

Like Water for Chocolate(Como Agua Para Chocolate) is a film based on a novel by Laura Esquivel. It was first released in 1992, and was directed by Alfonso Arau. It is a two- hour film featuring Magical realism as a style. It contains a bit of humor too, but majors on Romance. The characters are many, Marco Leornadi, Lumi Cavasos, Regina Torne, Ada Carrasco, Mario Ivan Martinez, Claudette Maille and others. The main characters, however, are Lumi Cavasos, acting as Tita, Marco Leornadi, representing Pedro, Regina Torne, who is Mama Elena and Ada Carrasco who is Rosaura in the film. Tita is a last born (third born) in the family of Mama Elena. Rosaura is the first born. In between there is Gertrudis. Pedro is Tita’s love and later becomes Rosaura’s husband.

It takes place in a Mexican border town in 1910 where Tita and Pedro meet and fall in love. The film uses narration to set the picture of the story. Romance is the main idea in the film, but though Tita and Pedro love each other, they are never to marry. When Pedro asks for her hand in marriage from Mama Elena, she refuses. Her belief is that Tita being the last born has a duty to her mother. She believes Tita is to care for her. She goes on to suggest that Pedro should marry Rosaura who is the firstborn. Pedro agrees, and they marry. During the wedding dance, Pedro tells Tita that he married her sister to be close to Tita since he still loves her. Overcome by emotions, Tita goes on to prepare a cake for the ceremony. In the process, her tears get mixed with the ingredients. As the family feast on the cake, sad emotions are expressed by everyone. It seems Tita can present her emotions through food. In a later time, Tita receives flowers from Pedro; she uses the flowers to prepare a dish for the family. What follows is comical. Tita’s older sister Gertrudis, is overtaken by sexual feelings that she sets the shower on fire, runs out of the house and is carried away by a soldier. She comes back years later fully transformed. Tita can connect to her lover through the food she prepares in the kitchen. Later in time Rosaura delivers a baby boy. Tita is fond of him, but Mama Elena fears that Tita and Pedro could be having plenty of time together and thus sends the couple away, soon after the boy dies. The child dies due to lack of care that he had with Tita. At the end Tita and Pedro make love. Pedro dies from intense happy feelings. This leavesTita devasted since her only love is gone and never to come back. She swallows match sticks and the whole house is in flames.

The culture in this film is very diverse although it majors on family relationship. In the time the film is set, family members had responsibilities. It was the responsibility of the youngest child to take care of the mother. The film depicts this. Tita is required to take aid her mother. For instance, she is required to cook for her. In the past, the firstborn was expected to be the first in everything such as marriage, having children and the like. Tita here is not allowed to be married. Even when she falls in love, Rosaura gets her lover since she is the firstborn. In the olden times, aunts were vital people in the lives of a child. The film puts that to account in a remarkable way, as soon as the couple (Rosaura and Pedro) goes away with their son leaving Tita behind, he falls sick and dies.

This film makes me reflect on the diversity of cultures and ways of life, especially in the past were quite similar. I think what makes cultures vary is the time frame. Take 1900 for example; it was unexpected for a last born to be married first in almost every state. It was paramount for the first born to set the pace and be a role model that others would follow. However if one would compare cultures of a particular state say, Mexico today (2016) and cultures of a particular other state say, USA in 1900, the similarity would be very limited. This depicts that time is the changing unit of diverse cultures.

The film director aimed at showing the different kinds of people in the world today under their social contexts. In particular, there are those who have their rights respected and known and get what they want without much struggle, (Rosaura) those who are still trying to find themselves,(Gertrudis). There are also those still fighting to have their rights known and respected by others (Tita). Alfonso was able to put this through uniquely and in an entertaining way. I personally loved the movie, magical realism is an intriguing style for me and also it contained humor which makes any film worth watching if you ask me. I can not wait to read the book on the same. I learned a few things about films from it that I was not aware of in the past. It brought magical realism right to my doorstep in a way I had not experienced before. Most importantly, I learned a few of Spanish words I did not know. This film would be right for Span 110. It is enjoyable, keeping one on glued with a bit of humor here and a bit of magic there. It also carries on aspects of the Mexican culture, which is an essential aspect of learning the Spanish language.


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