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With the release in 1992 of Like Water for Chocolate El Mariachi and Tie Me Up Tie Me Down Mexican cinema was once again gaining international acclaim In this essay I will explore in detail the curious Mexican film Like Water for Chocolate Como Agua Para Chocolate Like Water for Chocolate upon first viewing is likely to create a certain feeling of uneasiness in the viewer Yet it is doubtful that the viewer in this initial experience will notice the complex of relationships I describe herein The analysis I describe is one arrived at after repeated viewings analysis and research Like Water for Chocolate does not lend itself well to linear analysis To subject the film to a traditional western analysis or even to a strict close reading would likely provide little insight Like Water for Chocolate is not a linear film it is more configural-- narrative in structure A close analysis only brings one back to larger overarching structures On close inspection it appears quite ephemeral it seems to dissolve away It is only by standing back and looking at the completed craftwork that one sees the patterns It is overtly simple The metaphors are stock It is merely a love story with a magical penchant But concealed at its heart is a revolution a breaking of oppression a liberation of the spirit Like Water for Chocolate is a tenuous nexus of narrative structures sensuality and metaphor These shifting seemingly insubstantial components when combined create a work of substantial subversive strength The film Like Water for Chocolate is based on the book Como Agua Para Chocolate by screenwriter Laura Esquivel The original 1989 novel was a bestseller in Mexico for two years before being released in the US in 1992 The English version was translated by Carol Christensen and Thomas Christensen That same year the film version was released with screenplay by Esquivel and direction by her husband Alfonso Arau The film was distributed
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