By Bridge Spanish teacher, Lillian Salazar
Hello, Spanish-language learners! My name is Lily, and I am one of the Spanish teachers at BridgeLanguages in Denver, Colorado. On this occasion, I wanted to share with you a pick of my favorite movies in Spanish. Remember, practicing your listening skills is key to being able to speak a language, and watching movies or listening to music in the foreign language you chose to study is a really fun way to do it!
The selection I bring for you today is a bit eccentric, but I am sure you will enjoy them as much as I did.
Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother), 1999 – Pedro Almodóvar
Although I like all the films on this list equally, the reason that I chose to put this one first is because it was done by one of my favorite movie directors of all time, Pedro Almodóvar, a Spanish director best known for the controversial subjects he picks as themes for his creations. In this movie, the tragedy of a mother who recently lost her son drives her onto a nostalgic adventure to track down her son’s father. The movie is a mix of tragedy and folklore.
El Angel Exterminador (The Exterminating Angel), 1962 – Luis Buñuel
Have you ever been to one of those parties where the music is so good and the people are so interesting that you don’t feel like leaving anytime soon? Well, the guests at the party that Edmundo Nobile threw were feeling just the same, until the following morning when they realized that for some inexplicable reason they weren’t able to leave the room! The director of this film, Luis Buñuel, was a well-known surrealist director who worked with personalities such as Salvador Dali. Buñuel’s films are thought provoking, and in this film, he seems to indulge in the idea that human nature is more monstrous than what we care to think.
Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries), 2004 – Walter Salles
This is certainly the most beautiful film on this list. The breathtaking imagery of South America’s landscapes serves as the setting for the adventures of two young friends during their dream ride from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Peru on their beat-up motorcycle “La Poderosa.” It turns out to be an inspirational journey that would change both of the traveler’s lives forever, but especially that one of the young medical student, Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth), 2006 – Guillermo del Toro
As children, most of us love fairy tales. Such is the case with Ophelia, except that her enchantment seems to come closer to home. The narrative of this film suggests two intertwined realities. On the one hand, Ophelia has just arrived with her pregnant mother to her new and evil stepfather’s place: a gloomy and scary house were a guerilla war is taking place. On the other hand, not far away from this house, she finds a labyrinth where she meets a faun (a mythological half human–half goat creature) that will reveal to her the truth about her royal lineage, but will also put her through various trials in order for her to gain immortality.
Amores Perros, 2000 –Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu
The last film on my list needs a fair warning: is not for the faint-hearted. This brutal film has been called the “Mexican Pulp Fiction” by some, but I will say is probably a much more pulp and realistic film than Tarantino’s masterpiece. A car accident intertwines 3 stories in which the central theme is dogs. The feeling beneath all of these relationships, between master and dog(s), might as well be love. Yes, this is certainly a love story, but one of betrayal and grief.