February 16, 2021
If you are planning a trip to South America in the coming months or just want to learn more about the countries that make up this incredible continent we have rounded up below a few of the best films, series and documentaries to watch before your visit. From food shows, to telenovelas and documentaries we’ve got it all covered to suit everyone’s needs.
Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown
Countries include Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Paraguay.
In this travel and food show Chef Anthony Bourdain travels across the globe to find little known or spoken about countries and learn about their cultures and food rituals. During the series he travels to Colombia to discover a country that has changes vastly over the last ten years and offers so much variety with its food offering. He also visits Peru with his fellow friend and chef Eric Ripert and to-gether they explore the depths of the Andes in search of the rarest cacao beans in the world. In Bra-zil, he heads to Bahia and explores the region’s legendary food vendors and in Paraguay, Chef Bourdain delves into the country’s biggest industry, beef.
Bourdain’s show which spans 12 seasons and can be found on Netflix shows a different side to eve-ry country and provides insightful commentary on the importance of food in different cultures.
Chef’s Table; Francis Mallmann
Chef Mallmann is one of the most iconic chefs in Argentina and this documentary is an insightful por-trait of a chef who has returned to his roots and the basics of cooking to prepare his dishes.
Mallmann is an incredibly famous and popular chef in Latin America having authored a number of books as well as being a television presenter. He learned how to cook in some of the best three Michelin starred restaurants in France before moving on to other European countries such as Ger-many to continue his training. After having stayed in Europe for some time he decided to return to Argentina and move away from haute cuisine and return to his country’s root by incorporating local ingredients and tools such as fire in all its states and varieties to create new dishes.
The whole episode is a true showcase of the beauty and depth of the country. From the wildlife of Patagonia to the streets of Buenos Aires it is an ode to the country and Mallmann’s craft.
Somebody Feed Phil
Country: Argentina, Buenos Aires and Brasil, Rio de Janeiro
Somebody Feed Phil is an American television travel documentary presented by Phil Rosenthal. The show follows Rosenthal as he goes around the world discovering new cuisines and featuring differ-ent cities along the way.
The show has two episodes with South American countries, the first being Buenos Aires where Rosenthal discovers new delicacies such as dulce de leche and wild boar choripán. He also learns more about the importance of beef in the culture and how the country produce some of the best meat in the world.
In Rio de Janeiro, Phil discovers churrascarias which are restaurants that specialise in churrasco - any type of boneless cuts of beef that are sliced thinly and grilled over hot coals or in a hot skillet. He also samples one of the national dishes called Feijoada, a stew made of beans and pork that is commonly prepared in Brasil.
This is a series that will see you wanting to hop on a plane as soon as possible to try the mouth-watering dishes found in Latin America.
La Reina del Flow
La Reina del Flow or The Queen of Flow in English is a Colombian telenovela that fans of Latin mu-sic will thoroughly enjoy.
The story revolves around a talented songwriter who is wrongfully imprisoned for a crime she didn’t commit. After 17 years spent in prison she is released and returns to her hometown of Medellin to exact revenge on the people that put her there. The whole series in steeped in reggaeton music and culture. It will have you on the edge of your seat but also bopping along to the very catchy music in-terspersed in each episode.
Cuatro Estaciones en La Habana
This four-part Spanish series on Netflix is based on the best-selling novels “The Havana Quartet" by Cuban author Leonardo Padura. The show takes place in the 1990s and follows a police officer named Mario Conde whose dream is to become an author so as to be able to get away from the cor-ruption and crime that make up the city.
The show is compelling and beautifully made with a stunning backdrop of a city trapped in time. It is a series perfect for those looking for an out-of-the-ordinary show that tells a complicated story with brilliant, in-depth and multi-layered characters. The soundtrack of the show is also of the highest or-der and is composed of solely jazz tracks. It is a truly wonderful show that deserves much more recognition than it has gotten.
Embrace of the Serpent
Countries: Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina
Embrace of the Serpent tells the story of a life-altering friendship between an Amazonian shaman, the last survivor of his people and two scientists who over the course of 40 years travel through the Amazon looking for a sacred plant.
The story is based on the journals of the first European scientist and explorers of the Amazon, Theo-dore Koch-Grunberg and Richard Schultes. The extent of the film is dedicated to the exploration and discovery of small tribes that dot the riverbanks of the Amazon and learning about their culture and spiritual beliefs. In particular, it looks at the character of Karamakate who helps the explorers on their search and is an excellent portrayal of how the world can transform around people. The story really showcases how these indigenous tribes change and evolve with time and the interference of outsid-ers on their lives.
Embrace of the Serpent is the first ever Oscar-nominated movie in Colombia and is a visually stun-ning and poetic film that shows the often unseen parts of the country.
Green River, The Times of the Yakurunas
Green River, The Times of the Yakurunas takes you on a journey to the depths of the Amazon. Fol-lowing the flow of the river, this documentary show how connected the lives of the people living on the banks of the Amazon, in three separated and isolated villages of the rainforest. The beautiful landscape of the forest will draw you in and leave you in awe of the immensity and beauty of the landscape. You will be left fully immersed by the scenery and the spiritual sounds of the Ayahuasca chants that make the soundtrack of the show as you follow in the lives of those who live along the eponymous river. The documentary also illustrates the danger of these indigenous cultures disap-pearing due to the consequences of global capitalism. A must-watch.
The Sacred Science
The Sacred Science is a documentary film that takes viewers on a journey into the healing powers of indigenous plants as well as other spiritual practices of the Amazon medicine men. The film follows eight people as they travel to the Amazon rainforest in hopes of finding a cure for their illnesses. The filmmakers takes a deep dive into the practices of the local indigenous shamans and gives you a deep insight into the world of natural medicines and how traditional cultures approach illnesses in their own way. The documentary also touches on how these practices are slowly being threatened by deforestation and modernisation.
The Sacred Science is an intelligent and thought provoking documentary to watch for those interest-ed in traditional healing methods as well as how important it is to save the Amazon forest and cul-tures that live in it for their wealth of knowledge.
If after watching these you feel inspired to visit one or all of these wonderful countries let us know and we can work to create unique and one of a kind itineraries and experiences for you. Whether it be a foodie trip à la Phil Rosenthal or a nature trip to follow in the footsteps of Koch-Grunberg and Schultes, we are able to create something special out of what you love most.