Maria's and her grandmother's love for cooking, and Maria's energy and creativity to change those around her. The importance of Mexican food and family traditions.Maria's and her grandmother's love for cooking, and Maria's energy and creativity to change those around her. The importance of Mexican food and family traditions.Maria's and her grandmother's love for cooking, and Maria's energy and creativity to change those around her. The importance of Mexican food and family traditions.
A few countries are blessed with stunning biodiversity and a blend of different cultures, and are well-known throughout the world for the resulting culinary traditions -- Mexico is one of them. To me, passing down traditions to the next generation is critical; a society that does not understand its past, cannot chart a meaningful path and identity going forward. That does not mean being closed to modernity or innovation; rather it means finding a balance between your cultural identity and new ideas, instead of innovating for innovation's sake.
That is the message I believe this film espouses, and that I think is worth sharing with each next generation - embrace change while keeping an eye on the compass.
My family (teenage children along with their grandparents) enjoyed the beautifully shot views and food scenes, making the work a multisensorial experience -- although admittedly we love Mexico, its colors and its cuisine. Also in part, I think several people in our family identified with certain characters, such is their familiarity (somewhat clichéd) as written. This is a feel-good, charming family movie, with many laughs, and yes, a tear or two here and there. The soundtrack is at times too loud, but that did not detract from our enjoyment of the central themes and delicious food.
In addition to Canela, many other films explore this theme - Ratatouille (animated), Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Babette's Feast, Eat Drink Man Woman, Like Water for Chocolate (also from Mexico). And since 2012, an explosion of documentaries (most recently and notably, Netflix's Street Food series). In many of these films, there is not much action, so if that's what you are looking for, you may be disappointed. Instead look to these films if you are interested in understanding culinary traditions and reflecting on the impact they have on the idiosyncracy of a people -- and vice versa.
- Feb 9, 2021