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Some stories are meant for movies, but then again, there are times when I wish some stories remained stories, unless we had a French film director do them. Laura Ezquivel’ s novel is a treat. It stays with you as a fine dessert, or a fine food, and she knows it so well, and revels in it. In the film version, this gets lost because it cannot translate. The twelve recipes for each month get reduced to an occasional side story. In the novel, it is the food that brings about the results, and Tita has learned to make the most of the secrets of the culinary delights. The movie couldn’t possibly show us how Tita and her mentor ever decided the reasons why such and such a dish were done for whatever occasion.

This loss reduces the richness of the story into a film that is missing a third dimension, but never the less, it is still good.

Sometimes the food is sad…. the whole table has a tremendous cry upon eating such a magnificent dessert. Other times the food is so hot that the older sister has to leave to cool off, which is not enough even after a cold shower. And trot off she does in the hands of a military opposite to what the mother stands for. Tita’s revenge is working.

I, personally, love the writing of Laura Ezquivel, much better than I do the movie version. But I think that much of this problem may have been because I saw a version that was DUBBED and the voices were repetitive, unemotional, and so glaringly bland, that it ruined what looks like a good film. It also appears to have taken away the food part of the whole story, which is as tasty as anything else…. it matches the desires in all the film, but then, that must have not been the reason to make a film, or to distribute it to other nations.

Superb performances, if you can get by the lousy translations and often screwy sub-titles. Read the novel first, and then watch the film without the voices.

But a great novel, nonetheless… see it and read it afterwards.

More and more I see less and less in American releases … the fineness and rhythm of language are just not there … there is nothing to learn from the experience and the viewer does not touch *humanity*.

In LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE we *do* touch this humanity and this is why it is a special film. It is in Spanish and subtitled. And in this particular film the English goes by quite quickly. This is the first time I have rerun the film to catch all the dialog. And only in works by such masters as Wim Wenders can the art of language be compared. So take some time with this one. It’s worth it.


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