In a forgotten Mexico village Tita and Pedro fall in love, but their marriage is forbidden as to traditions. Mother Elena sees Tita's role as her caretaker for life - no youngest daughter ...
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In a forgotten Mexico village Tita and Pedro fall in love, but their marriage is forbidden as to traditions. Mother Elena sees Tita's role as her caretaker for life - no youngest daughter has ever married and her daughter will not be the first to break tradition. Tita's heart breaks when her mother offers Pedro her sister instead of her, and he accepted it just to live near Tita- he says. Now they live in the same house, and mother Elena cannot forbid their love as she did their marriage. Written by
Like Water for Chocolate is a masterpiece in that it conveys the essence of our ancestors' knowledge forgotten in the fast pace of modern living.
It centers around the wonder of cooking: a sacred ritual, not a boring chore; and when done right, with love, it creates magic. Raised and taught to cook by her old Mayan nanny, Tita (exquisitely performed by Lumi Cavazos) masters the near-magical ability of transferring her love and other feelings into her creations passed into one who eats them.
The characters senses are so refined, they enable everyone involved in this family drama to be tuned to the finest nuances of their world, opening the door to non-material pleasures. Rich with metaphors, their language reflects the skills of keen and sometimes humorous observation. The story brings our perception to a different level - as its characters' empathy borders on miracles and magic, and things we only sense and feel become real. Tita's virgin breasts, feeling `like dough kneaded' by strong hands, turn into mature breasts under Pedro's burning eyes (to later start lactating) - their glances, just like her food, becoming the means of communicating their forbidden love.
Yet all magic becomes wasted in the face of a man's choice. The Universe may scream into Pedro's ears about the path he is to take, but if he doesn't follow it, no magic can save him. We witness the story of a fatal attraction between two soulmates, whose passion, confined by an enslaving family tradition, lights up everyone around them... But for themselves, it's so intense, it literally engulfs the lovers in flames. Did they have an alternative? It is for the viewer to figure out.
You may ponder, however, over the young doctor's Indian grandmother saying that `each of us is born with a box of matches inside but we can't strike them all by ourselves; we need oxygen and a candle to help. The oxygen would come from a lover's breath; the candle could be a food, a melody, a word, a caress, or a sound...' He remembers her warning, though, that `it is important to light the matches one at a time' because otherwise the heat generated would produce too dazzling a brilliance.
Thus the wisdom of the ages, just like the power, is passed here through women and the men who are in tune with them. And the intense interactions between the colorful characters of five generations extend to dead family members who continue to counsel or despise the living.
When coming into her room with Pedro after 22 years of their waiting for each other, Tita is greeted by her long deceased nanny lighting her bed and the room with multiple candles. And the consequences of one's actions carries on beyond time - as each person continues her path notwithstanding death.
Hot yellow-red colors intermixed with dense lighting rekindle one's passion for living and appreciation for the gifts and mysteries of the Mexican land. The magic realism becomes a way of living in a culture connected with its heritage.
I recommend Like Water for Chocolate to anyone who feels like he/she is lacking color and passion in life - if watched with an open mind and heart, this beautiful and enigmatic film will stir your senses and imagination and light up your box of matches!
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