Film Guides


Love films? So do we.

Start with our film collection guide here: 2015-2016 Film Library Catalogue

This film collection features more than 500 videos and DVDs available to borrow. Please visit to browse the online catalog or view and download the most up-to-date version (recent acquisitions are added to the online catalog as they arrive).

These documents have been created to help in teaching the films that we recommend for K-12. Not all K-12 films have these guides.

Alsino y El Condor
This film rewrites the Nicaraguan folktale of the boy who wanted to fly as the story of a boy living through the brutality of Somoza’s war on the Nicaraguan people and the corresponding rise of the Sandinistas.
Benedita da Silva
A profile of the first black woman to be elected city councilor and member of the Brazilian Parliament from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.
Betty and Pancho
A portrait of the 50 year marriage of Elizabeth Catlett, the renowned African American sculptor, and the Mexican painter, Francisco Mora.
Boca del Lobo
La Boca Del Lobo graphically depicts the violent struggle between the Peruvian military and the Shining Path guerrillas, focusing on the peasants that are caught in the middle of abuse from both sides.
You are invited to the wedding of Elizabeth and Artemio in Nuevo León, Mexico. The video introduces a young couple whose lives and community have roots in Mexico while they encounter the challenges of migrant life in the United States.
Borderline Cases
This documentary reveals the complexity and magnitude of the environmental situation created by over 2000 “maquiladoras,” or factories run by international companies on the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border.
This film highlights some of Brazil’s most impressive features. From economics and industry to geography and culture, this documentary serves as an informative introduction to a country unlike any other. It focuses on major cities like Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazilia and Salvador da Bahia, while also placing emphasis on the country’s rural culture and diversity.
Break of Dawn
Oscar Chavez, a great Mexican singer and actor, is the leading role in this story about the life of Pedro Gonzalez, the host of a radio show in 1930s Los Angeles. His life was filled with romance and music until he challenged a powerful and corrupt political system.
Buena Vista Social Club
Wim Wenders, a German filmmaker, author and playwright, made this documentary about the Cuban musicians in the Buena Vista Social Club.
Cabeza de Vaca
This film portrays the adventures of a group of Spanish soldiers in Mexico. Their leader, Cabeza de Vaca, is considered to be one of the first Spaniards to come to some appreciation of the indigenous people of the Americas, and his conflicting interests provide valuable insights into the friction between the goals of empire and the concerns of basic humanity.
This is a celebration of the death of the “Aguascalientes” and the birth of the Caracoles and the Good Government Assemblies. Zapatista leaders discuss how changes will affect internal political and economic processes, gender relations, and their relationship to international civil society.
This film traces the history of Chicana and Mexican women from pre-Columbian times to the present. It covers women’s roles in Aztec society, their participation in the 1810 struggle for Mexican independence, their involvement in the US labor strikes in 1872, their contributions to the 1910 Mexican revolution, and their leadership in contemporary civil rights causes.
Chile: Memoria Obstinada
In this documentary on the military takeover of the Chile, Guzmán presents various ideas and bits of information that circulated at the time.
Christmas in Mexico
This film looks at the Christmas traditions of Mexico, which feature influences from both Spanish and Native American backgrounds. It is intended primarily for younger audiences, and includes highlights of the celebrations.
Cinco de Mayo
This film is aimed at the North American secondary school audience. It effectively explains the historical context of the two most celebrated days in the modern Mexican calendar: 16th of September (Independence Day) and the 5th of May.
Cine Mamembe
A pair of filmmakers journey to the interior of Brazil, screening short films to audiences in town squares. From Bahía to the Amazon, they discover a vast country going to the movies, seeing themselves on the big screen for the first time.
Columbus Didn’t Discover Us
This documentary features interviews with indigenous activists from North, South, and Central America who gathered at the First Continental Conference of Indigenous Peoples in July 1990.
Compadre Mendoza
This film exemplifies classic Mexican cinema while examining the corrupted ideals of the Revolution in the story of an opportunistic landowner who faces the choice of remaining loyal to a general in Zapata’s army and being financially ruined, or saving his own skin.
Couple in the Cage
This film documents the traveling performance of Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Coco Fusco, in which they exhibit themselves as caged Amerindians from an imaginary island, providing a vivid and provocative interpretation of cultural encounters.
Cuarto Mujeres
Pablo Milanés and Silvio Rodríguez, two well-known representatives of the Latin American nueva trova (“new song movement”), interpret songs about women written by themselves or other Cuban composers (including Sindo Garay, author of “Perla Marina” and Manuel Corona, author of “Santa Cecilia”).
Cuba Va
This documentary takes a critical look at Cuba’s social and economic situations today, through the eyes of its youth.
Day Without a Mexican
This “documentary” is about a day when Mexicans disappear from the United States. Reporters scour the streets looking for Hispanic people, and people who have an opinion on this occurrence.
De Cierta Manera
A revolutionary love story combining elements of fiction and documentary, this film examines the roots of machismo and the changing relationships between women and men in early 1960s Cuba.
Dedos de Luna
A poetic combination of words and paintings, Dedos De Luna tells the story of Toño and his grandfather, Don Gregorio.
Deus o Diabo Na Terra Do Sol
This is a story of the social movement growing out f the poverty and misery of the dry back lands in northeast Brazil. It is a dark and allegorical sketch of the human condition in the drought- and tradition- ravaged region.
Eva Peron
A film biography about Eva Perón, the work seeks to portray the political acumen and skill of a consummate politician–“the power behind the throne”–of the populist Argentine president, Juan Perón.
Fiesta Quinceanera
This video depicts a young Mexican-American woman’s fifteenth birthday celebration. The first part shows the preparations, planning, and logistics of this important social event and the second part observes the actual ceremony.
Five Suns
The animator who created “Popol Vuh” has taken authentic images from ancient Maya ceramics and turned them into a retelling of the Maya creation myth.
Flight of Pedro Pan
Experience the heartache and uncertainty of the 1960s flight of more than 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children to the United States. The children of Operation Pedro Pan share their personal stories of the sacrifice, survival, broken hearts and new beginnings through interviews and archival footage.
Frida Kahlo
This documentary depicts the life of Frida Kahlo through her own paintings and the surroundings of her home in Coyoacán, an artistic neighborhood in southern Mexico City.
Gallo de Oro
This movie is based on a story by Juan Rulfo in which a poor man is given a near-dead fighting rooster and he nurses him back to life.
Gertrudis Bocanegra
Gertrudis Bocanegra, a criolla woman who participated in the Mexican war of independence, is the central character of this film.
“Gringo-thon” is a personal expression of protest of an expatriate living abroad and a meditation of the complexities of “gringo” identity.
Havana Nagila
This documentary traces the history and presence of the Jewish community in Cuba. It explores the impact of the 1959 Revolution on the five percent of the original community, the community’s recent resurgence, and the international issues that affect its future.
Historia Oficial
Set in the 1980’s, this film follows the sheltered wife of a wealthy businessman. Things go downhill when she begins to realize that her adopted daughter may have been taken from one of the families that “disappeared” during the harsh military rule of the 1970’s.
Hombre de Exito
This is the story of two upper-class brothers, Javier and Darío, who participate in the struggle to overthrow Machado during his dictatorship in the 1930s.
I Am Joaquin
This documentary marked the emergence of film as a distinct cultural and aesthetic practice within the Chicano Movement. In the film, Luis Valdez gives a dramatic interpretation of Rudilfo “Corky” Gonzalez’s epic poem: I Am Joaquin.
In Search of the Mayas
Deep in the rainforest of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula are the lost Mayan Cities of Chichen Itzá and Palenque. Discover their magic, learn about the Mayan culture, and explore some of the region’s most exquisite pre-Hispanic American architecture.
Justicia Esta Con Ella
This short film highlights the laws against the violence towards women and their families in Ecuador.
Last Revolutionary
The Last Revolutionary is an intimate account of Cuba’s leader, Fidel Castro, comprised largely of speeches and interviews.
A Cuban woman who went into exile in the US returns to Cuba after many years to see the son she left behind. She comes back with suitcases filled with clothes and appliances.
Lucía is an anthology film, three separate stories related by the common theme of women in revolution.
Maria Llena de Gracia
Maria Alvarez, a bright, spirited 17-year-old Colombian is desperate to leave her job picking the thorns from roses in a flower shop.
Mexico for Children: Geography
This volume focuses on how Mexico’s geography has shaped its history, society and culture. See how the various land formations and regions, from deserts to lush rainforests, have impacted Mexican culture as well as its major industries.
Mexico for Children: History
This volume focuses on Mexican historical topics from the time of the Olmec to the time of independence fights, as well as other more contemporary events. Learn about important figures like Father Hidalgo and Benito Juarez, and see why freedom has been so important to this proud nation.
This documentary depicts the story of the two Cuban worlds of Miami and Havana, and the social, cultural, and political processes that have created this divide since 1959.
Muerte de un Burocrata
The story of a young man’s attempt to fight the system is an entertaining account of bureaucracy and the tyranny of red tape in Cuba.
Negra Angustias
This Mexican classic, by the pioneering director Matilde S. Landeta and adapted from the novel by Francisco Rojas Gonzales, is based on the like of a mulatto woman who served as a colonel under Emiliano Zapata during the revolution of 1910-1916.
Ninos de Zapata
This film looks at the Zapatista National Liberation Army’s struggle to attain justice for the Maya Indians of Chiapas.
No Nos Tientes
This film, narrated by Edward James Olmos, presents a forceful analysis of the possibilities for radical change through Guatemalan student protest.
El Norte
Mayan Indian peasants organize in an effort to improve their economic situation. After the army destroys their village and kills their family, a teenage brother and sister decide they must flee to “El Norte”.
On the Case of Rosalie Evans
A historical discussion among North American and Mexican historians about the diary and life of Rosalie Evans, a disgruntled North American property owner who lost her land during the Mexican Revolution
Orfeu Negro
Based on a major work of Brazilian literature, Orfeu da conceição by Vinicius de Morales, this film is a classic of Brazilian cinema in the 1950s and an example of internationalist interest in Brazil.
Based on a story by Marvel Moreno, Oriana is an exploration of memory, time, and desire initiated when Marie returns to the family hacienda where she spent time as an adolescent.
Panama Deception
The Panama Deception gives an account of the events of 1989 when 26,000 U.S. government troops invaded the country searching for one man, Manuel Noriega. Made by a group of independent filmmakers, the film documents the atrocities that the official story omits.
This drama chronicles the last three years of the life of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador.
The Revolution will not be Televised
This documentary about political muscle and media manipulation captures the short-lived overthrow of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Two independent filmmakers were present in April 2002, when the president’s powerful political enemies forcibly removed him from office, and  48 hours laterwhen he returned to office.
Video Nas Aldeias
This tape provides an overview of the “Video in the Villages” project organized by the Centro de Trabalho Indigenista in which different Amazonian Indian tribes have been given video equipment and training.
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