Of all the many streaming services — a list that seemingly won't stop growing as each studio decides it needs its own — not a single one will have all the films in a festival coming to Maya Cinemas this week.
Both the Bakersfield and Delano theaters will screen nine special films Friday through Oct. 3 as part of the Hola Mexico Film Festival. Each movie will run at least twice, offered at different times throughout the week.
The program is "not only award-winning movies but also films that have done well in the Mexican box office," said festival founder Samuel Douek.
The Hola Mexico Film Festival flagship event happens every spring in Los Angeles. Now in its 11th year, the weeklong event is the biggest Mexican film festival outside of Mexico. For the last four years, the festival has expanded with a tour, which has stopped in Bakersfield since 2016.
"We have a really great program we're excited to bring across the country," Douek said. "We share a bit of Mexican cinema in other places."
The films include drama, comedy and suspense, Douek said, and all will screen with English subtitles.
One film Douek is particularly excited about is "Las Niñas Bien," a period drama about an opulent woman named Sofia de Garay, whose life of luxury is turned upside down following Mexico's 1982 economic crisis. Douek said it is one of the best films in the festival.
Another is "Mirreyes Vs Godinez," a comedy about low-level employees who have to deal with their boss's spoiled rich son who will take over the company.
"It's one of the best comedies," Douek said. "It's just a pleasure."
"Dulce Familia," which festival materials described as "a bittersweet comedy with a message of body positivity and acceptance," tells the story of baker Tami. She is happy with her life, especially after her boyfriend proposes, but her family insists she loses weight before the wedding.
And the body-swap comedy is not just a staple of American film. In "Si Yo Fuera Tú," or "If I Were You," husband and wife Claudia and Antonio switch bodies following a rare planetary alignment.
"El Ombligo de Guie'dani," or "Guie'dani's Navel," is a coming-of-age story about Guie'dani, a Zapotec teen who faces anti-indigenous racism after she and her mother move to Mexico City. Festival materials say the film includes a "star-making performance" by Sótera Cruz.
In "Ocho De Cada Diez," or "Eight Out of Ten," Aurelio fights for justice following the murder of his son and a corrupt police force that seems unmotivated to solve the crime. The film is described as "a fierce and psychologically complex drama."
"108 Costuras," or "108 Stitches," tells the story of two best friends with dreams of playing professional baseball. It follows them through the years as the pressures of fame close in on them.
The final two films have storylines that might sound a little familiar. "Como Si Fuera La Primera Vez," or "50 First Dates," is a remake of the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore film from 2004. "La Boda De Mi Mejor Amigo," or "My Best Friend's Wedding," is a retelling of Julia Roberts’ classic ’90s rom-com.
With a small budget, it's not always easy to tell people about the tour, Douek said. Though the films don't typically come close to selling out their screenings, he said it's worth bringing the festival back to Bakersfield each year.
"The cinemas are very happy to do something for the local community," he said, "and we're happy to do this (regardless of audience size). It's something we enjoy doing."
Douek encouraged anyone who is interested in international cinema to come out for one or more of the Hola Mexico films. For most of these films, it's the only way American audiences will get to see them.
"If you want to see original films and entertaining Mexican cinema, come and watch them," he said. "Many are not going to go to streaming platforms. ... Not every film has the distribution and marketing they deserve. This is a way to see well-made films in Mexican cinema."