If you are learning Spanish and want to know more about the history of Spain, you should definitely dive into the world of Spanish cinema. Spanish cinema is not only a mass entertainment medium, but also a first-class historical and artistic form of documentation. Even though it is only of secondary importance compared to English-speaking cinema, it had great influence in Europe (before France) and Latin America (before Mexico). Some of the best known directors are: Florián Rey, Luis García Berlanga, and Antonio Isasi-Isasmendi. There exists a variety of festivals dedicated to the Spanish cinema. Examples are the International Film Festival of San Sebastián, the Seminci (International Film Week of Valladolid) and the Film Festival of Gijón. There are also some more specialized festivals like Animadrid, Festival Punto de Vista and Docúpolis (Comedy Film Festival of Peñíscola).
Spanish cinema can be classified into 13 different genres: Historical cinema, films about the bullfight, religious and classical films, musical cinema, Spaghetti Western, Landismo, touristic cinema, striptease, deracinated cinema, military films and films about sports. Typical for Spain are of course the films about the bullfight as well as the Landismo. Films about the bullfight tend to treat the topical issues regarding the life of the bull and the bullfighter. They show aspects of the national festivities, criticism about the bullfight, and the enthusiastic fans of the “Matadors”. The Landismo is a sub-genre named after the actor Alfredo Landa. These films are generally low budget showing the Spanish prototype of that period: short, dark-skinned and obsessed with women.
Popular Spanish films are: The Others, the Orphanage, Pan’s Labyrinth, the Sea Inside, Bad Education and Talk to Her. A recent blockbuster is the film Tengo ganas de ti which is already boasting sale figures of more than €3 million. Watching Spanish films does not only help to improve, refresh or learn Spanish, but also to experience the Spanish culture and to get to know more colloquial language, which is often what distinguishes the fine difference between a Spanish and a foreigner speaking Spanish.
Whilst watching films is a very convenient way of learning Spanish in the sense of improving your listening comprehension and learning new vocabulary, a Spanish immersion program in Spain is much more effective if you want to talk, learn the grammar and experience the Spanish culture first hand. Furthermore, due to the low prices, you can enjoy Spanish cinema after a day of your Spanish course on the big screen in Spain! Also in our language schools in Spain we regularly offer film nights in which we watch and discuss Spanish films and talk about the history of Spanish cinema.