Even though not very rich in movies and with pretty modest cinematography, the ones they have to offer are definitely worth watching. Intriguing, interesting and original, they deal with a country’s socioeconomic issues and very often individuals who are forced to go through many obstacles to obtain what they want.
From dramas to crimes and thrillers, we are guaranteed to have a good time, since their stories often make us relate to the characters and try to put ourselves in their shoes. These movies are realistic, about ordinary people often facing the most difficult moment of their lives. This list brings you the 12 best Venezuelan movies of all time.
Pelo malo (Bad Hair, 2013)
This movie deals with a number of topics, such as the beginning of adolescence and parents’ issues with their children, in this case, related to the possibility of a different sexual orientation than wanted. Set in the conservative Venezuelan society, it shows us a strong connection between the social picture and expectations and the way people deal with that.
Julian lives in Caracas with his widowed mother and a baby brother. His biggest problem is his hair since he has “pelo malo”, a Spanish term for curls. But this starts being his mother’s problem, too, since she sees Julian’s actions as a sign of possible homosexuality. He is constantly trying to strengthen his hair which drives his mother crazy and makes her do things no mother should ever do.
Hermano (Brother, 2010)
This beautiful drama about devotion, dreams and friendship tells the story of two best friends, raised as brothers who spend their days playing football in their slum. Daniel is a gifted player, a natural leader and an ambitious boy who wants more than what he is offered from birth and Julio doesn’t have time to daydream, since he needs to feed his family which he does with dirty money.
When a football scout reaches them and invites them to try and play for the town’s best team, these two boys have to decide what is the most important thing to them. In the meantime, a tragedy occurs and they are torn between revenge, their dreams and family.
Azul y no tan rosa (My Straight Son, 2012)
This romantic drama brings the story of Diego, a successful professional photographer who loves his life. He is spending time among the celebrities, surrounded by flashlights and fame, but also shallowness and excess. His life starts to change when his partner ends up in a coma after a tragic accident. And at the same time, another surprise comes knocking on Diego’s door.
His teenage son Armando needs him and Diego finds himself in an unexpected situation where he doesn’t know to who to dedicate himself to. And his son also needs to change his life, all of a sudden he has to adapt to his father’s homosexual world, which is completely unknown to him and Diego must find a way to make his shy son open up.
Once Upon a Time in Venezuela (2020)
It is always interesting to watch a documentary about countries that people don’t know a lot about. We have the opportunity to learn new things, discover beautiful landscapes and cultures, but also see the ways people live there, situations they struggle with and many other related topics that hide behind these beauties that first come up.
This documentary follows villagers in the Venezuelan community of Lake Maracaibo who live in a place that was once an example of prosperity and abundance, but now they are fighting against corruption, pollution and much more just to keep their homes and the way of life their ancestors were used to.
La hora cero (The Zero Hour, 2010)
One of the most famous Venezuelan movies is this adrenaline-filled drama thriller that takes place during the 24-hour long controversial medical strike in Caracas. Parca is a hitman who is forced to take an elite hospital hostage in order to save his wounded girlfriend. Everyone arrives immediately and surrounds the hospital, the police, journalists and bystanders.
Soon, Parca becomes a town hero and his actions divide the whole nation and encourages many to turn to violence and that way put his girlfriend and her child in jeopardy. Even though told from a somewhat different perspective, through an action thriller, this is a universal love story about courage, but also the ability to face the consequences of someone’s decisions.
Secuestro Express (Express Kidnapping, 2004)
This crime drama was the first Venezuelan movie to be distributed internationally to a big Hollywood studio. It is a story of a love couple, an ideal material for three kidnappers who want to get easy money from their wealthy parents. Carla and Martin are forced to wait with their kidnappers, driving through Caracas and waiting for Carla’s father Sergio to send money.
Even though physically and emotionally hurt, they try to make a bond with their kidnappers but constantly fail. Somehow Martin manages to escape and abandons his girlfriend who is now waiting for her kidnappers to decide what to do with her.
Maroa is the story of an eleven-year-old girl living in the slums of Caracas with her evil grandmother, surrounded by local criminals. Her life changes when she is sent to a reform home where she gets in touch with music and starts taking her first classes. She falls in love with Mozart and her teacher Joaquin, the first person who showed some affection toward her.
Joaquin soon realises what a gifted young girl he has in front of himself and decides to change her life forever by teaching her so much more than just music. This special bond between them will change their lives forever. This movie perfectly portrays the way children are treated in the slums of Caracas, but also gives some hope and faith in their future by showing us what the Venezuelan state-sponsored musical training has offered those children-
El Amparo (2016)
This interesting crime drama takes us to the Colombian-Venezuelan border where two men survived a shooting where 14 of their mates were killed. It happened at the end of the 1980s by the creeks of the Arauca river. They had to go through many unfair accusations by the Venezuelan army, even though they tried to convince them of being mere fishermen.
They treated them as guerilla fighters and tried to intimidate them in every possible way, even removing them from the cell they were put in and guarded. Their neighbours managed to prevent that, but their path to freedom was covered in sticks and stones and they had to endure a lot before being finally released.
La distancia mas larga (The Longest Distance, 2013)
This drama shows us two sides of the same country, its beauty on one and violence and chaos on the other. It is a story of two characters that find each other at a crucial moment in their lives, and of two journeys. One begins as an adventure and ends up on the other side of the country and the other is organised and determined.
We will meet an estranged grandson and his grandmother whose lives will become intertwined after his mother’s death and this encounter will change their lives forever. And we will be faced with the fact that we are the ones who choose our own destiny.
La casa de fin de los tiempos (The House at the End of Time, 2013)
This is the most internationally-distributed Venezuelan movie of all time and one of the best horrors coming from this country. It is the story of Dulce, a mother who is faced with supernatural incidents in her home that end up in a tragedy. She is sent to prison innocent and gets out after spending 30 years of incarceration. But she is not done, since she has to stay home under house arrest.
Brought to the place that caused her so much harm and sadness, Dulce once again has to deal with the supernatural forces that ruined her family. She will be drawn into this house’s secrets and through different means manage to solve the mysteries from many years ago.
Oriana is a beautiful, heartwarming story told through flashbacks where we meet the main character Maria’s aunt Oriana at the time when Maria was a young girl. Oriana is now dead and Maria is the one who inherited her hacienda where she spent a short time as a child. Oriana was always there, never leaving her hacienda and Maria always wondered why.
Maria wanted to find out who the mysterious Sergio was and at that time used to fantasise about their love story. What was behind everything, why was Oriana’s father so cruel? And now, as a grown woman, Maria is about to make one more important discovery while going through her aunt’s papers.
El pez que fuma (The Smoking Fish, 1977)
The title of this movie refers to a brothel on the outskirts of Caracas where the main protagonist heads to after being released from prison. He is hired by its owner La Garza as a handyman but soon he takes the place of an administrator and becomes La Garza’s lover. It is the policy there, the middle-aged La Garza hires young handsome men as administrators and pleases them.
This is one of the most influential Venezuelan movies and undoubtedly one of its best, a must-watch for everyone who decides to discover more about this country’s cinematography. It is an excellent example of the harsh social reality of the country and its individuals who need to do everything to get by in a society like this one.