La Cocina

It is the lunchtime rush at The Grill, a New York tourist trap that serves thousands of customers on a regular Friday like today. Money has gone missing from the till and all the workers are being questioned. Most of them are illegal immigrants and they struggle to defend their job, their only rightful place in the world, as they prepare an endless array of dishes, trying to keep up with the constant stream of orders coming in from the dining room. One of the cooks is Pedro, a young Mexican who is seeking more from life than this job has to offer. He is a dreamer and a troublemaker, and he is in love with Julia, an American waitress who cannot commit to a relationship with an undocumented alien. Rashid, The Grill’s owner, has promised to help Pedro with his papers. But when Pedro is accused of stealing the money, and then discovers that Julia has had an abortion, he sees red and spirals towards an act that will halt the production line at the kitchen once and for all. Based on the acclaimed stage play by Arnold Wesker, La Cocina is a tragic and comic tribute to the invisible people who prepare our food.
by Alonso Ruizpalacios
with Raúl Briones Carmona, Rooney Mara, Anna Diaz, Motell Foster, Oded Fehr, Laura Gómez, James Waterson, Lee Sellars, Eduardo Olmos, Spenser Granese
Mexico / USA 2024 Spanish, English 139’ Black/White & Colour World premiere


  • Raúl Briones Carmona (Pedro)
  • Rooney Mara (Julia)
  • Anna Diaz (Estela)
  • Motell Foster (Nonz)
  • Oded Fehr (Rashid)
  • Laura Gómez (Laura)
  • James Waterson (Mark)
  • Lee Sellars (Chef)
  • Eduardo Olmos (Luis)
  • Spenser Granese (Max)


Director Alonso Ruizpalacios
Screenplay Alonso Ruizpalacios
Cinematography Juan Pablo Ramírez
Editing Yibrán Asuad
Music Tomás Barreiro
Sound Design Javier Umpierrez
Sound Isabel Muñoz Cota, Jaime Baksht, Michellee Couttolenc
Production Design Sandra Cabriada
Costumes Adela Cortazar
Make-Up Itzel Peña García
Casting Bernando Velasco, Nanw Rowlands, Susan Shopmaker
Producers Ramiro Ruiz, Gerardo Gatica, Alonso Ruizpalacios, Lauren Mann, Ivan Orlic
Executive Producers Marco Polo Constandse, José Nacif, William Olsson, Patrick Pfupajena

Alonso Ruizpalacios

The Mexican writer, film and theatre director studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. His debut feature, Güeros, had its world premiere in Panorama and went on to win over 40 prizes at international festivals including the Best First Feature Award at the 2014 Berlinale and Mexican Premio Ariel awards in five different categories. His second feature, Museum, won the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at the 2018 Berlinale and awards for Best Director at the Athens and Morelia film festivals. His third, A Cop Movie, screened in the Berlinale Competition and won a Golden Ariel for Best Documentary.

Filmography (selection)

2005 Fonda Susilla; series 2008 Café Paraíso (Paradise Coffee); short film 2009 Expedición 1808 (Expedition 1808); series 2010 El último canto del pájaro Cú (The Last Song of the Cu Bird); short film 2014 Güeros (Gueros) 2016 Verde (Green); short film 2018 Museo (Museum) · Aquí en la tierra (Here on Earth); series, 2 episodes · Vida (Life); series, 1 episode · Narcos: México (Narcos: Mexico); series, 2 episodes 2021 Una película de policías (A Cop Movie) 2022 Outer Range; series, 2 episodes 2024 La Cocina

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2024