Diego Luna Pairs Crucial Issues with Brilliant Food on New ‘Pan y Circo’

Gabe Zaldivar

“The global landscape no longer seems of this world,” Diego Luna says in a Spanish voiceover to start the series “Pan y Circo.” Images of desolate streets float by. “We watch it from the window, inaccessible.”

Luna then goes on to address the first thing you would notice about a show filmed with a group of friends and strangers around a dinner table, it was filmed largely before the global pandemic of COVID-19 made our world shrink, brought us all inside and away from so many faces we took for granted.

The title of the series comes from a Juvenal work “Satire X,” to which Luna explains to NPR, “The title was not my idea." 

"When I heard it that first time, I was like, it's perfect. It's perfect because it has the irony that the show wants to have. Also, it's kind of like the show. It's the reaction of many years of bread and circus in this country,” he said

Growing up in my own home, the dinner table was where all manner of things were discussed, from the most pressing to the most trivial.

Family was brought together, examined and we ate. Diego Luna is diving into some of the most important topics of the day, and he’s doing it with brushstrokes of family and familiarity.

There is indeed confrontation. But as Luna puts it in the first episode, more often there is reconciliation and strengthening of family and love.

The drug war, gender violence and systemic racism are just some of the topics volleyed about the table as people discuss, share and try to understand alternate perspectives.

“If you say that, wherever you live, you’re not in touch with gender violence, if you say that, where you are in whatever community you live in, there is no show of racism…if you say that migration is a local issue, or an issue of Latin America, I think you’ll be missing a lot,” Luna states, via The Guardian.

The 40-year-old actor known for roles in movies such as “Y Tu Mamá También” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” also discussed activism (h/t The Guardian).

“To me that is what happens when you don’t want to listen to others – you think you’re part of a solution, it’s easy to feel part of a solution, you can put a like on a post, or retweet something and you’re part of a solution, you’re there, you’re doing something, but you’re not.”

Luna is doing something, bringing a spotlight to topics that continue to burden so many around the world. And he is doing so in a way that will garner attention, through a captivating series that is at times light but always engaging.

Subsequent episodes will resemble life before COVID, when it was possible to carouse and make merry in each other’s company.

And instead of an extremely cool food delivery box as seen in episode 1, Luna gets to interact with chefs in person, such as the renowned Enrique Olvera of Pujol fame.

You might disagree at times or shake your head in affirmation. You might nudge your binge-watching partner and opine on the mushroom soup being served.

Luna is holding a dinner party for luminaries and through it all, you feel invited.

The first three episodes of “Pan y Circo” are streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.