One of the best ways of improving your language skills is through watching a country’s cinema. Even if you have to add English subtitles, you will be surrounding yourself in a language and will find yourself picking up a few words and phrases. Hollywood brainwashes us into thinking that the only countries producing quality cinema are English-speaking nations, when actually the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are just a few Spanish films you can watch today to improve your language skills (I have included a mixture of genres so there is something for everyone.)
Disclaimer: Although directors Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu are not Spanish, their films mentioned are set in Spain and depict important aspects of Spanish culture and history.
El Laberinto del Fauno (2006)
Perhaps the most well known movie on the list, El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) is a fantasy fairytale set against the harrowing backdrop of Spain during the civil war. The result is a haunting yet enchanting tale of a young girl trying to escape the hellish landscape that surrounds her.
Starring Javier Bardem and directed by Alejando González Iñárritu, Biutiful tells the story of Uxbal, a man who’s every move is guided by his terminal illness. This heartbreaking and touching film is one on Iñárritu’s lesser know films, but definitely one his most powerful.
Tres Metros Sobre el Cielo (2010)
She’s a girl from a upper class family and he’s an ex-convict with an eye for the rebellious. Together they learn how to accept each others differences in this Romeo and Julietesque love story.
Created by one of the most innovative and surrealistic directors in the history of cinema, Luis Buñuel, Viridiana explores themes of guilt, incest and religion. The film was banned in Spain on it’s released and was denounced by the Vatican for it’s controversial subject matter.
Shot as a false documentary, [Rec] follows a young reporter and her cameraman who are spending an evening following a firefighting team for a news report. However, when the squad is called in to rescue an old lady from an apartment building, things take an unexpected turn.
Ocho Apellidos Vascos (2014)
The most successful movie at the box office in Spanish history, Ocho Apellidos Vascos pokes fun at the Andalusian and Basque stereotypes in this lighthearted love story.
This one is kind of a cheat, only because I couldn’t chose just one Almodóvar film. If you like unpredictable and sometimes twisted stories, you will love this director’s work. From his La Mala Educación (Bad Education) and Todo Sobre mi Madre (All about my Mother) to like La Piel que Habito (The Skin I Live in) and Volver, Almodóvar is the king of the unexpected.
What is your favourite Spanish film? Let us know in the comments below!