A Latino Christmas movie
The romantic comedy 'Christmas With You,' directed by Argentine Gabriela Tagliavini, stands out on Netflix and has a diverse cast.
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Beyond the revelry, celebrations, binge eating and gifts, “couch, movie and blanket,” are also infallible parts of the equation in many homes this Christmas.
The film Christmas With You, starring Puerto Rican-Mexican American actress Aimee García (known for her role in Lucifer) and Freddie Prinze Jr. (Fred Jones in the Scooby-Doo Movie), has been added to the traditional list of movies for this time of year.
The feature film tells the story of pop star Angelina Costa (Aime Garcia) who, tired of the repetitive Christmas hits, decides to seek inspiration in the suburbs of New York City. There she meets a big fan: Cristina Torres (played by Deja Monique Cruz), whom Costa will help make a dream come true for her quinceañera.
What the renowned singer doesn’t know is that the project will also lead her to meet Cristina’s father, Miguel Torres (Prinze Jr.), with whom she will write an exciting chapter of her life in the middle of Christmas.
Garcia, Prinze Jr. and Cruz are joined in the cast by Kyndra Sánchez, Socorro Santiago, Zenzi Williams, Gabriel Sloyer, Grace Dumdaw, Helena Betancourt, Lawrence J. Hughes, Matthew Grimaldi and Cedric Cannon.
With screenplay by Jennifer C. Stetson and Paco Farias, Argentine writer/director Gabriela Tagliavini (A pesar de todo and Cómo romper con tu idiota) was chosen to direct the film, shot during the pandemic and premiered on Netflix on Nov. 17.
“I’m very proud of the film, and one of the decisions that led me to direct it is because we have Latino producers, Latino writers, Latino musicians, Latino actors. Showing a culture that is not cliché, but from a more realistic point of view, makes people tell us that they feel the family is real,” Tagliavini told AL DÍA.
Brave, tenacious and persevering in her fight for the inclusion of diverse talent (and not only Latino) in her productions, the filmmaker believes that representation on the small and big screen depends largely on the decision of directors and executives, who also need the backing and trust of large entertainment corporations.
A global success
Since its premiere, the romantic comedy has been number one on Netflix's most-watched productions in 26 countries and in the top 10 for two weeks in 80 countries, including the United States.
“It’s incredible that a Latin family can reach Austria, Luxembourg, the Bahamas. That makes me very proud and happy because, in the end, if the film has heart, the audience identifies with it, even if it is not their culture. In the film there is a scene of pozoles, a scene of tamales, Latin music and I can ask myself: Now people in Austria, where the film was number 1, will be making tamales? Will they be listening to the soundtrack that is on Spotify? That’s the beauty of art, it transcends cultures and borders,” she added.
Christmas With You, an hour and thirty minutes long, is suitable for all audiences and its director hopes the story will draw many smiles and provoke more than one sigh this holiday season.
“It has a Christmas spirit, of family, of love, of being together. It is very beautiful. It has reggaeton, but it is also romantic,” she said.