If you are one of our blog’s readers, you should know by now that we love to make lists! Especially because at AIL Madrid, we are always encouraging our students to look at novel, fun and creative ways to assist them to learn Spanish. One method that our students find very useful is by watching Spanish films. That’s why we’ve listed below just a handful of suggestions of the best films to help you learn Spanish.
This carefully chosen selection will assist your Spanish learning. It will also entertain you and expand your Spanish vocabulary, as you set out on your exciting and rewarding journey to learn Spanish. The recommendations we make use common, colloquial language that you’ll find yourself using all the time while your knowledge of Spanish grows, no matter what level you find yourself starting from.
So here are a few of our suggestions to get you started:
Pan’s Labyrynth, “El laberinto del fauno” 2006
Guillermo Del Toro’s masterpiece! Set in 1944 Spain, Ofelia and her sick mother arrive at the post of her mother’s new husband, a sadistic army officer who’s tasked with quelling a local insurgency. While exploring an ancient maze, Ofelia meets the faun Pan, who tells her that she is a legendary lost princess and must complete three hazardous tasks in order to become immortal. Part war story, part fairy tale, this magical fable will remain with you forever. Once seen, never forgotten, Pan’s Labyrinth is a truly enriching experience. The story isn’t complex but if you’re a beginner, you’ll need a dictionary by your side.
Arrugas (Wrinkles) 2011
Arrugas is a heart-breaking, warm and funny animation from Spain that’s a perfect starting point for beginners. Based on a graphic novel, it relates the story of two elderly men living out their final days in a nursing home. The plot is easy to follow, and the main characters speak very slowly and clearly, making it ideal for students who are starting to learn Spanish. Be warned, you should have a packet of hankies close to hand, you’re going to need them!
La Comunidad (UK title The Commonwealth) 2000
A delicious Spanish black comedy by Alex de la Iglesia that brings out the darker sides of human nature. Great pacing, full of atmosphere and tension, this edge of the seat horror/thriller is perfect for intermediate level Spanish learners.
Mar Ardentro (The Sea Inside) 2004
Starring Javier Bardem, this film tells the true story of a thirty-year legal battle for the right to end of own life of a Spanish ship mechanic, and part time poet, who is left paralysed after a driving accident. Although the synopsis might not fill you with glee, you’ll find this a movie profoundly inspiring and deeply moving experience, and we thoroughly recommend it to all Spanish students.
Tesis (Thesis) 1996
Is a horror/thriller from director Alejandro Amenábar, that balances Hitchcockian red-herrings with terrifying jump scare scenes. It gets a big thumbs-up from us, especially for intermediate level Spanish students.
Watching some of the best Spanish films to help you learn Spanish is a brilliant way to hear the nuances of spoken Spanish from native Spanish speakers. Besides, you will alsoou immerse yourself in a language that’s rich in idioms and proverbs, dialect, slang, emotion and humour. This is where the soul of the Spanish language resides.
We would emphasise that learning Spanish by watching films will require a little more effort from you than just sitting back and enjoying while soaking up the vocabulary. You’ll be actively involved in what you’re seeing and hearing, and if you hear an unfamiliar word or saying, write it down! And remember, you’ll need a good dictionary by your side too.
Not for a moment would we suggest that all you need to do to learn Spanish is to watch movies! But seeing a few of the best Spanish films to help you learn Spanish in conjunction with studying Spanish at AIL Madrid is a really fun way of improving your listening skills. Plus, you will be developing your use of spoken Spanish and broadening your knowledge of Spanish language and culture.