As you peruse through your Netflix account and add movies to your queue, make sure not to overlook some of the hidden Latino gems that you may have missed over the last few years. A film like 2015’s drama East Side Sushi may have gone under the radar for many people, but it is definitely one you want to see sooner than later.
The film stars Mexican actress Diana Elizabeth Torres (Private Number) as Juana Martinez, a young, single mother who wants more out of life than pushing around a fruit-vending cart to make ends meet. When she lands a job working in the kitchen of a sushi restaurant, Juana recognizes she can take the opportunity to learn the skills of an authentic sushi chef. She makes it a goal to work at the front of the restaurant preparing dishes and not in the back washing them.
When Torres was cast in the film a few years ago, she knew right away that she had found something special. “The script was so sweet and had so many nuances,” Torres told Remezcla during a recent interview. “It broke my heart, and I knew I had to tell this story.”
Torres said working on East Side Sushi opened her eyes to the cultural clashes her character must confront in the film. Born and raised in Mexico herself, Torres understood the importance of a narrative centered on a group of people from different backgrounds coming together to create something stunning–in this case, Asian cuisine.
“I really feel this movie enlightened me in many different ways,” Torres said. “It’s important to create content that portrays [Latinos] in the way we see ourselves. There are many beautiful stories out there that should be told.”
Moving forward, Torres wants to continue making films where Latinos are positively represented in inspirational projects like East Side Sushi. “We want movies that speak to our hearts,” she said. “East Side Sushi is a movie that empowers and shows the diligence of Latinos, and not just the idea someone else has about our culture.”
East Side Sushi will only be available on Netflix until March 13, so be sure to stream it soon. It is also available to stream on Amazon Prime.
Along with East Side Sushi, here are a few other hidden Latino gems you should stream on Netflix today.
Lorena, Light-Footed Woman
The short documentary follows Lorena Ramírez, a young woman from Mexico’s Rarámuri community, who competes as an ultramarathon runner.
A 3-Minute Hug
Separated families on the U.S. and Mexico border share happiness and heartbreak for a few fleeting moments when they reunite during this short documentary shot in 2018.
Bird watchers from the U.S. and Mexico share a love for watching the migration of birds across the border each year. “The border wall is no barrier to birds,” a birder says during the short documentary. “I think birds bring people together from both sides of the Rio Grande.”