This luxuriant adaptation of Laura Esquivel's much-loved novel (directed by her then husband Alfonso Arau) broke box-office records for a Spanish-language film, not least in the United States. In a Mexican border town in 1910, neighbours Pedro and Tita wish to marry, but Tita's mother Elena refuses to give her consent, since she wants her youngest daughter to stay living with her as a full-time carer. So Pedro marries Tita s sister Rosario instead and Tita pours her innermost feelings into her cooking, triggering similar responses in anyone who samples it, whether lovelorn grief or overwhelming passion. But Tita's concoctions are just one of many magical-realist touches in this sensuous and intoxicating film, which offsets the real-life historical background of the Mexican Revolution with tales of ghosts, mysterious lights and an ancient legend that claims that human beings are essentially matches, combustible at any moment when given the right trigger.
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