For Valentine's: Polvo and a Movie

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If you’re anything like “those couples” that are so damn pegados you couldn’t get a feather between them, we’re guessing you’ll be taking the sickeningly meloso y cursi route this Valentine’s Day. Erotic treasure hunts involving edible lingerie, roses and sappy poetry — we highly recommend Pablo Neruda’s slender Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair) collection — are probably on the top of your list.

Single and sad?  No reason for that. Remember, si andas solo, pair up with a dear friend or family member and celebrate what in Latin America is also known as el Día del Amor y la Amistad, or el Día del Cariño. Yellow roses, hello there. And if all else fails, remember that mejor solo que mal acompañado.

Not feeling up to it? Skip the date, wait until June 12 and join in with the brasileiros on their Dia de Namorados. Follow Brazilian tradition and fold up little pieces of paper with names scrawled on them, then pick one out of a hat to determine who you will marry. Juvenile, yes, but really fun.

Point is, whether or not you’re celebrating with your dog, your lover, or your mother, and even if it is a Hallmark invention, why would you not want to celebrate love as human being’s most redeeming, infatuating, all-consuming and inspiring quality?

Yet as we all know, and if you’ve seen any of Spanish director Pedro Almodovar’s films — where there’s, you know, impregnating a girl in a coma, pushing women down a flight of stairs, storing ex-husband’s stabbed bodies in a freezer et al –, love can be tricky.

Speaking of Almodovar, are you looking for a movie to, err… set an inspiring mood this San Valentín? Then update your Netflix queue with our steamy picks:

Lucía y el sexo (Spain, 2001). Sex, loads of nudity, sex, psychosis, sex, infidelity, sex. See photo above of a young Paz Vega and Tristan Ulloa.

Los amantes del Círculo Polar (Spain, 1998). Incest, true and impossible love, coincidence, moonlit makeouts; very romantic and heart-warming.

Rosario Tijeras (Colombia, 2005). Gun-for-hire Rosario is fast, violent, sexy, steamy and very Colombian. Drugs, guns, street life and loads of nudity.

Orfeu Negro (Brazil, 1959). Black-and-white art house classic. Killer soundtrack, Brazilian jazz hipsters falling in love, carnivals, and incredible art direction.

Viridiana (Spain, 1961). A Spanish classic by the réquete-famoso Luis Buñuel that was banned by the Catholic church in 1961. No wonder; in it, a nun leaves behind her devout life to seek out romance and liberty.

Y tu mamá también (Mexico, 2001). Two hot young boys (Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, of course) embark on an adventure with an older woman. Threesome, adventure, surprise ending.

En la cama (Chile, 2005). Strangers engaging in casual sex in a motel, over and over again. Their pasts are slowly revealed. They never leave the bed.

El Lado Oscuro del Corazón (Argentina, 1992). Bohemian poet on a quest to find a “flying” woman. Bonus: Poetry by Mario Benedetti sets the mood. Truly romantic.

Machuca (Chile, 2004). A beautiful story of pubescent friendship. Noteworthy dulce de leche make out. Expect to shed some tears.

We also recommend La teta y la luna, Jamón jamón, Los abrazos rotos, Hable con ella, La puta y la ballena and Cilantro y perejil.

If you’re wondering why there are no run-of-the-mill romantic films on our list, you ought to know that we’re a realistic bunch. We know Valentine’s Day is mostly about the mushy love poems and the red roses imported all the way from Ecuador, but we also know that most people like to get busy. In other (and many) words: chingar, chimar, chichar, cachar, chinquecha, clavar, culear, dale leña, tirar un polvo, hundirle los pelos, follar, joder, limar, ponchar, pisar, singar, rapar.