There is no greater or more heartwarming bromance than the one between Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna. They met, as they’ve shared many times, when they were barely conscious. No, really. Gael’s mom took him to visit Diego in the hospital where he was born. It took a few more years before they became friends and later co-stars. But the breakout success of Y tu mamá también meant the world got to know them as a pair. Even after starring in Oscar nominated films and multi-million dollar franchise films, they remain the best of friends, producing partners, and the most handsome duo to rock a red carpet.
In addition to the sexy Mexican road trip film that made the pair an instant queer icon, Gael and Diego have worked together a handful of other times. They yukked it up with Will Ferrell in Casa de mi Padre and played to their strengths in the soccer comedy Rudo y Cursi. But mostly, they’ve each found ways to soar on their own, starring in critically acclaimed historical dramas, working with some of the best directors around, and not coincidentally, committing to projects that are socially conscious and elevate stories you wouldn’t otherwise see on screen.
What better way to celebrate their bromance than to program your very own Gael/Diego film festival from the comfort of your own home? We found a dozen or so their films that are just one click away, so check out the list below and Netflix away!
Tackling the ever timely issue of immigration, the younger Cuarón’s Desierto takes that one crossing-the-border plot line from Babel, adds in a ruthless minuteman (Watchmen‘s Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and for good measure, gives us Gael García Bernal in full-on survival mode. When a group of Mexicans try to cross over into the United States, they are forced to face a rifle-toting vigilante who’s intent on putting a bullet in them before they get any further along the border.
Set right before the events of the OG Star Wars (aka A New Hope), Rogue One tells the story of how the Rebel Alliance stole the plans for the Death Star—yes, the ones that we see being smuggled out of a ship in a certain beeping android by Princess Leia herself in the 1977 film. Teaming up with a ragtag group of rebels, which include Diego Luna’s dashing Cassian Andor, his witty android K-2SO, a young woman named Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) sets out to infiltrate an Imperial databank where she knows the coveted plans for the infamous superweapon are stored. Even without featuring any of the franchise’s most beloved characters, Rogue One may well be the series’ most serious attempt at capturing the war-like feel its title suggests.
Y tu mamá también
Sounding for all the world like a teen rom com meets road movie, bromance at the beach, or other take-out/toss-out formulaic genre film, Y tu mamá también manages to be all of those things while being limited by none of them. Tenoch and Julio (played by then up-and-coming heartthrobs Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna) are on the loose for the summer while their girlfriends are away, when they meet a gorgeous Spanish older woman. Though only 10 years older than the lads, she might as well be light years away with the worldly understanding that sets her apart from the guys. Does “worldly understanding” suggest in its cheesy wording sex? Well yeah, but the sex here is far more real, playful, and complicated in the best possible ways than in your average film of this ilk. Combining coming of age with a realization of the complexities and inequities of their country, Cuarón captures the dualities of Mexico in a gorgeous road movie that showcases a restless new generation of millennials ready to take it all on.
Casa de mi Padre
Parodying some of the overly exaggerated Mexican soap operas your abuela probably watches, this comedy actually features Will Ferrell speaking Spanish for the entire film. In the comedy, Ferrell plays Armando Álvarez, a Mexican rancher who gets in over his head when he falls in love with his brother’s (Diego Luna) fianceé (Génesis Rodríguez) and angers a dangerous drug lord known and Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal). Listen for Rodríguez’s father El Puma’s song “Whiter Shade” on the movie’s soundtrack.
Gus Van Sant’s no-frills biopic of LGBTQ rights pioneer Harvey Milk (Sean Penn) transports audiences to the 1970s in San Francisco. The Oscar-winning film traces Milk’s rise from being a staunch activist in The Castro neighborhood to becoming the first openly gay man to be voted into major public office in California. In addition to capturing the radical politics for which he’s become well-known, the film also finds time to offer a chance to see Milk’s personal life, chronicling his relationships with Scott Smith (James Franco) and later with Jack Lira (Diego Luna). An instant queer classic and a powerful portrait of resistance politics in action, Milk may transport you to the 70s but it remains as urgent as ever.
Eva no duerme
Eva Perón remains one of the most iconic figures of twentieth century history. When she died in 1952 at the age of 33, an expert anatomist embalmed her so as to leave her looking her best; you could be forgiven for thinking she was merely a sleeping beauty. In Pablo Agüero’s film we see the impact she still has on a country run by the Armed Forces who will stop at nothing to eradicate her image from popular memory.
Those looking for a straight-up biopic of famed Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, have come to the wrong film. In its place, Pablo Larraín has crafted a meta-poetic treatise on fiction and politics. Ostensibly, we’re being told the story (in first person voiceover narration) of how police officer Óscar Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal) is trying to capture Neruda (Luis Gnecco), now a wanted man by the state. But with a dreamlike, fragmented shooting style that disorients you from line to line, Larraín is as interested in evoking Neruda’s artistry as he is in crafting a thrilling chase through late ’40s Chilean landscapes.
Grab a pencil and paper and imagine your ideal man. Start drawing the shape of his face, then fill in the hair, eyes, nose; now move down to the arms and torso. Is he starting to look like Gael García Bernal? That’s the premise of a new film by Brazilian director Pedro Morelli, who is perhaps best known for his previous father-son directorial outing, Entre Nós. In Zoom, the artist in question is a young lady who happens to work at a sex doll factory and moonlights as a comic book artist. When she’s disappointed by a breast augmentation surgery and her boyfriend’s reaction to her new bosom, she starts doodling her way to her ideal man, bestowing him with some exceptionally large loins before erasing and reducing them to a minuscule stump. In the cartoon world that Gael García Bernal’s character inhabits, this sudden and unexplained reduction in his manly vigor sets off a creative crisis just as he is filming his latest feature.
También la lluvia
Spain’s entry for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Y también la lluvia, centers around the making of a grand historical epic about Christopher Columbus’s first journey to the New World and the subsequent rebellion he faced by an Indigenous group led by Hatuey. Opting to lower his costs, director Sebastián (Gael García Bernal) and his production head to Bolivia, where they’re able to pay extras a measly $2 a day. Once he discovers the young man he’s cast as Hatuey is involved in the protests against the Bolivian government’s decision to privatize the country’s water, Sebastián realizes his film may not survive this 20th-century uprising. Shot with the scope of an epic historical drama, Icíar Bollaín’s film is an urgent reminder of how little has changed in 500 years when it comes to Indigenous populations in the Americas.
An American couple tries to mend their relationship while on a trip overseas. A Mexican nanny decides to take the children she’s taking care of across the border for a wedding. Two young Moroccan boys play around with a newly acquired rifle. A deaf Japanese teenage girl spirals in and out of depression. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s multicultural ode to the ways language connects and distances us has an A-list cast that includes Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael García Bernal, Rinko Kikuchi, and Adriana Barraza. The Oscar-nominated production may be a tough watch but Chivo’s gorgeous cinematography keeps you hooked as we watch how these four stories eventually intertwine.
The closest I’ve ever been to being trampled is in a Cuban mob fighting to get in to see this film. (OK maybe the closest I’ve been except for some embarrassing mosh pit incidents, but really, who’s keeping track?) And you know what, it was well worth the crush. The original badass film of the New México scene (and no, not New Mexico as in Breaking Bad: notice the accent, people!), Amores perros inaugurated a new millennium with the guts and grit of a new style of filmmaking, and Iñárritu has not ceased to be a badass ever since. In one of his first big screen appearances Gael Garcia Bernal plays Octavio desperately on the run from an armed thug but still giving his all to make sure he gets to the vet in time to save his injured dog. And so this unexpected take on a chase scene kicks off the film’s intricate three-part story structure. It hinges on a car wreck that impacts the characters in each story line, and in turn each story line involves dogs — be they mangled, maimed, rough and ready. Love’s a bitch, there’s no doubt. Amores perros finds the poetry in, not despite, the harsh reality of that statement.
Jon Stewart famously left his post at The Daily Show for a few months to shoot this passion project of his. Starring Gael García Bernal, this based-on-a-true-story drama began with an appearance by London-based Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari on Stewart’s late night comedy show. The playful bit, as well as some in-depth reporting on violence against protesters during the Iranian election led Bahari to be detained in Iran. He was help captive for 18 months, during which he was subject to intense interrogation methods—the title refers to the only characteristic Bahari could remember about his interrogator; his smell. Featuring a fearless portrayal by García Bernal as Bahari and shot with a bleakness that befits its subject matter, Rosewater is not for the faint of heart.
Salt and Fire
“An ecological thriller directed by Werner Herzog” sums up Salt and Fire pretty nicely. On the surface, it merely follows two ecologists (Veronica Ferres and Gael Garcia Bernal) as they head to South America to investigate for the U.N. a disaster in Salar de Uyuni. Soon they’re kidnapped by the CEO of the company who may be responsible for the fallout they’re to look into. The cultural differences between them, though, get swept aside once the nearby volcano Uturunku shows signs of waking up. Of course, Herzog’s signature sensibility (breathtaking cinematography, off-kilter characterizations, a keen attention to the sublime beauty of natural landscapes) is all intact.