5 excellent films to learn Spanish!

Who says you can only learn a language from textbooks or by going to the country where they speak the language? There are so many different ways to learn a language. One of the most enjoyable ways, especially if you like watching films is to watch a subtitled movie. Not only does it improve your listening and understanding skills, but you also get to hear how the language sounds, the rhythm and accent of native speakers as well as the everyday words and expressions they use which you probably won’t find in any textbook or dictionary.

In this blog we will look at 5 popular films to learn Spanish:

1. Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries)

Released in 2004 this film is based on a true story recounting the adventures of Ernesto Guevera (who later became the revolutionary Che Guevara) and his friend Alberto Granado who went on a road trip across South America in 1952. The four month trip takes them across the Andes, through Peru, Chile to end in Venezuela.As well as just a road trip adventure, through the people they meet they witness the poverty and division of society within Latin America.

2. El laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth)

This is a Spanish-Mexican film written and directed by Mexican film maker Guillermo del Toro in 2006. It is set 1944, five years after the Spanish Civil War. It is a fantasy-drama which mixes the mythical world with reality of Civil War. It features mythical creatures such as a mysterious faun, who interacts with the main character Ofelia, a lonely girl who has to keep herself amused whilst her mother and new stepfather, an fascist army captain move into their new home. The film shows how reality and fantasy are intertwined. The special effects are spectacular making the film visually stunning hence why it has won three academy awards and three BAFTA awards.

3. Como agua para chocolate (Like water for chocolate)

Released in 1992 this romance/drama is based on the novel by Laura Esquival about a love story across spanning decades concerning Mexican family traditions. The film focuses on Tita, the youngest daughter who is not allowed to marry her true love due to the family tradition that the youngest child must not marry as they have to look after their mother until she dies. The film is centred around the kitchen and how food and cooking relate to their emotions. The title is linked with the phrase in some South American countries that means that someone is very angry. If you can read the book first, this will really  help your understanding of the film.

4. Volver (To go back / return)

Volver is a Spanish drama written and directed by Pedro Almódovar, released in 2006. The themes behind the film include loneliness, sexual abuse and death. The story follows an eccentric family who live in a region to the south of Madrid.  It focuses Raimunda, a working class woman who does everything she can to protect her 14-year-old daughter, Paula from her stepfather who tries to rape her however, she stabs him in self-defence. Raimunda’s sister, Soledad, claims to have seen their dead mother’s ghost who it turns out that has not really died after all. The rest of the film deals with their mother’s issues she wants to resolve as she returns to stay with her daughter.

5. Hable con ella (Talk to her)

This film, released in 2002, also by Almódovar is about the friendship between two men that are brought together in strange circumstances. Benigno is a male nurse who lives opposite a dance school. He often watches one of the students of the school, Alicia and becomes infatuated with her. Alicia is badly injured in a car accident and ends up in a coma at the hospital where Benigno works. He then goes to look after her every day, even though he barely knows her. Another man, Marco, a journalist interviews Lydia, a well-known bullfighter who is gored by a bull in her next bullfight and ends up in the same hospital in a coma. Both men go to visit women they are devoted to but who cannot return their love.

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