SpanishBlackBelt

Home       

   Practice Resources
Movies
Search Now:  
Amazon Logo
Home > Learning resources > Practice Resources > Spanish movies

Spanish Movies

Available for Rent on Amazon as Instant Video AND Netflix Streaming
   

Diarios de Motocicleta

The beauty of the South American landscape and of Gael Garcia Bernal (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Bad Education) gives The Motorcycle Diaries a charisma that is decidedly apolitical. But this portrait of the young Che Guevara (later to become a militant revolutionary) is half buddy-movie, half social commentary--and while that may seem an unholy hybrid, under the guidance of Brazillian director Walter Salles (Central Station) the movie is quietly passionate. Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna, a lusty and engaging actor) set off from Buenos Aires, hoping to circumnavigate the continent on a leaky motorcycle. They end up travelling more by foot, hitchhiking, and raft, but their experience of the land and the people affects them profoundly. No movie could affect an audience the same way, but The Motorcycle Diaries gives a soulful glimpse of an awakening social conscience, and that's worth experiencing

 

Como Agua para Chocolate

Director Alfonso Arau (A Walk in the Clouds), adapting a novel by his former wife, Laura Esquivel, tells the story of a young woman (Lumi Cavazos) who learns to suppress her passions under the eye of a stern mother, but channels them into her cooking. The result is a steady stream of cuisine so delicious as to be an almost erotic experience for those lucky enough to have a bite. The film's quotient of magic realism feels a little stock, but the story line is good and Arau's affinity for the sensuality of food (and of nature) is sublime. You might want to rush off to a good Mexican restaurant afterward, but that's a good thing.

 

Voces Inocentes

Based on the true story of screenwriter Oscar Torres's embattled childhood in 1980's El Salvador Innocent Voices is the poignant tale of Chava an eleven-year-old boy. Chava suddenly becomes the "man of the house" in a time when the government's army is forcibly recruiting twelve year olds to battle against the peasant rebels of the FMLN. It is a story of life love the hope of peace and the ennobling power of the human spirit

 

Bajo la Misma Luna

Even across thousands of miles the special bond between a mother and son can never be broken. It gives hope to Carlitos a scrappy nine-year-old boy whose mother Rosario has gone to America to build a better life for both of them. While Rosario struggles for a brighter future fate forces Carlitos hand and he embarks on an extraordinary journey to find her. Critics and audiences alike have praised this inspirational and heartwarming tale of a mother s devotion a son s courage and a love that knows no borders.

 

 

Available for Rent on Amazon as Instant Video, NOT available on Netflix Streaming
   

Mar Adentro

(aka: The sea inside) Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of 2004, The Sea Inside is a life-affirming film about a man who wishes to die. That may seem like a massive contradiction, but in the hands of director Alejandro Amenábar (Open Your Eyes, The Others) and actor Javier Bardem (Before Night Falls), this fact-based Spanish drama concerns the final days of Ramón Sampedro, the quadriplegic poet who waged a controversial campaign for his right to die. He was denied this right for 30 years, and ultimately arranged for his own assisted suicide, but this remarkable film--and Bardem's keenly intelligent performance--examines the hotly-debated issue of assisted suicide with admirable depth and humanity, just as Sampedro did until his death in 1998.

 

Hable con Ella

From Pedro Almod var the director of the Academy-Award® winning All About My Mother (Best Foreign Language Film 2000) comes his most acclaimed film yet. TALK TO HER is the surprising altogether original and quietly moving story of the spoken and unspoken bonds that unite the lives and loves of two couples. Two men (Benigno and Marco) almost meet while watching a dance performance but their lives are irrevocably entwined by fate. They meet later at a private clinic where Benigno is the caregiver for Alicia a beautiful dance student who lies in a coma. Marco is there to visit his girlfriend Lydia a famous matador also rendered motionless. As the men wage vigil over the women they love the story unfolds in flashback and flashforward as the lives of the four are further entwined and their relationships move toward a surprising conclusion.

 

Abre Tus Ojos

This film rewards multiple viewings, pushing the viewer toward one perception of reality, then switching to another until reality itself is called into question. Melodrama, love story, and psychological thriller combine with a dash of science fiction, forming a plot that is both disorienting and deceptively precise.
Set in Madrid, the story defies description, but this
much can be revealed: young, handsome Cesar (Eduardo Noriega) is vain, rich, charming, and--following a botched suicide-murder scheme by a jilted lover--horribly disfigured. He'd fallen in love with Sofia (Penélope Cruz) but is now an embittered husk of his former self, stuck in a "psychiatric penitentiary" on a murder charge and hiding behind an expressionless mask. His reality has crumbled, but as the film's agenda is gradually revealed, we realize that there are other factors in play.


Todo sobre Mi Madre

Todo sobre mi madre is a 1999 film written and directed by the Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar. The film deals with complex issues such as AIDS, transvestitism, sexual identity, gender, religion, faith, and existentialism, but always with his classical tragicomedy touch, the film presents these serious issues with an edge of dark humour. It won the 1999 Academy Award for Best Foreign-language Film and seven Goya Awards including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress in a Leading Role for Argentinean actress Cecilia Roth. It was named by Richard Schickel of Time Magazine, among other critics, as the best film of the year.

 

Buena Vista Social Club

Buena Vista Social Club (1999) is a documentary film by Wim Wenders about the music of Cuba. It is named for the Buena Vista Social Club in Havana, a hotspot for Cuban music in the 1940s. The film documents how Ry Cooder, long-time friend of Wenders, brought together legendary Cuban musicians to record an album (also called Buena Vista Social Club), and to perform a concert in the United States. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary feature in 2000. It won as best documentary in the European Film Awards as well as many others. The album Buena Vista Social Club features studio versions of the music heard in the movie.

 

El Laberinto del Fauno

Following a bloody civil war, young Ofelia enters a world of unimaginable cruelty when she moves in with her new stepfather, a tyrannical military officer. Armed with only her imagination, Ofelia discovers a mysterious labyrinth and meets a faun who sets her on a path to saving herself and her ailing mother. But soon, the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur, and before Ofelia can turn back, she finds herself at the center of a ferocious battle between good and evil.

 

 

Available on Netflix Streaming
   

¡Átame!

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (Spanish: ¡Átame!) is a 1990 film by Pedro Almodóvar, a Spanish drama starring Antonio Banderas and Victoria Abril. This film created controversy and was denounced by women's rights groups in Spain and the United States and German feminists for its light-hearted depiction of kidnapping. It was also instrumental in creating the NC-17 rating, along with Henry & June in light of a lawsuit brought on by Miramax and Almodóvar to the MPAA for being certified with an X rating, which carried the stigma of being associated with pornography. The film was initially released unrated and later re-rated NC-17 for video after the Henry & June controversy. Surprisingly, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! contains very few instances of explicit sexuality, despite its risqué subject matter.

 

La Historia Oficial

This is one of those rare political films that transcend politics with a stirring emotional story. Argentinean first-time director Luis Puenzo tells the story of a strong-willed teacher who tries to learn the true identity of her adopted daughter's father, coming to suspect that he was a political prisoner. Her political awakening is actually an emotional one as well because of her detached persona. Ironically, even though she is a teacher, she doesn't connect with people very well, thinking of history in the most abstract terms. But she learns the painful truth of present-day life. Tautly directed by Puenzo, The Official Story was a 1985 Oscar-winner for Best Foreign Film, with a riveting performance by Norma Aleandro.

 

 

Available on Netflix DVD
   

Volver

Spanish for "Coming Back," Volver is a return to the all-female format of All About My Mother. Unlike Pedro Almodóvar's previous two pictures, the story revolves around a group of women in Madrid and his native La Mancha. (The cast received a collective best actress award at Cannes.) Raimunda (a zaftig Penélope Cruz) is the engine powering this heartfelt, yet humorous vehicle. When husband Paco (Antonio de la Torre) is murdered, Raimunda makes like Mildred Pierce to deflect attention away from daughter Paula (Yohana Cobo). After telling everyone the lout has left, she struggles to conceal his body. The other women in her life all have secrets of their own.

 

Valentin

VALENTIN has won the coveted Audience Award at the Newport International Film Festival (2003), the Golden Calf Award at the Netherlands Film Festival (2002), and seven Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards (2004) including Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay. In VALENTIN, a precocious and imaginative 8-year-old boy named Valentin is raised by his grandmother. He dreams of becoming an astronaut and spends his time developing space suits made from whatever materials he can find. He also dreams of having a normal family and misses his mother, who abandoned him. During a visit from his father, he finds out about his father's current girlfriend, Leticia. Valentin asks to meet her with the hope that she will become his mother. This encounter between Valentin and Leticia opens up old secrets but also creates an opportunity that Valentin just can't pass up.

 

La Mujer de mi Hermano

Adapted from the best-selling novel by Peruvian author Jaime Bayly LA MUJER DE MI HERMANO (English translation--MY BROTHER'S WIFE) is a soap-operatic tale complete with adulterous transgressions hysterical breakdowns devastating betrayals and a shocking finale. Barbara Mori is the focal point of this Byzantine affair entrancing viewers with her nuanced performance as Zoe who is wildly unhappy and frustrated with her dying marriage. Peruvian director Ricardo de Montreuil leads this production with a sure hand eliciting performances more complex than in the typical soap opera. Though it can veer toward slightly over-the-top melodrama the film is too intelligently written and acted to be passed off as fluff and instead is a serious deep look into the eternal problems of love sexuality and betrayal.

 

Conversaciones con Mamá

Mom is eighty-two years old and her son Jaime is fifty. They live in completely different worlds. Jaime is married, has two children, a beautiful house, two cars and a mother-in-law to attend to. Mom manages on her own and endures her old age with the same dignity with which she has lived her entire life. Unexpectedly, the company for which Jaime works downsizes and lays him off. His regrettable situation forces him to make drastic decisions because he can no longer support his lifestyle.

 

Nueve Reinas

Nine Queens joins a line of sly thrillers about master-pupil con artists and games within games within games that includes The Sting, House of Games, and Heist. In the first five minutes, we watch an overt scam--a young Argentinian named Juan (Gastón Pauls) running the two-10s-for-a-5 hornswoggle on a convenience store clerk--then find that we have been tricked along with the bystanders as another brand of deception kicks in. And so it goes as Juan, with both trepidation and excitement, drifts into partnership for a day with an older, more cosmopolitan conman, Marcos (Ricardo Darín). Knocking around Buenos Aires--from gritty downtown to cozy neighborhood side streets to a swank hotel where wealth murmurs behind every door--these damnably resourceful scoundrels try not to miss a bet, including an epic swindle involving the titular "Nine Queens," a set of ultrarare stamps. Writer-director Fabián Bielinsky keeps a taut rein on everything, including his own cleverness. The end result is an entertainment as bracingly disciplined as it is ingenious.

 

Maria Llena de Gracia

(aka): Maria full of grace Maria Alvarez (Catalina Sandino), a bright, spirited 17-year old, lives with three generations of her family in a cramped house in rural Colombia. Desperate to leave her job stripping thorns from flowers in a rose plantation, Maria accepts a lucrative offer to transport packets of heroin-which she must swallow-to the United States. The ruthless world of international drug trafficking proves to be more than Maria bargained for as she becomes ultimately entangled with both drug cartels and immigration officials. The dramatic thriller builds toward a conclusion so powerful and revealing it could only be based on a thousand true stories.


El Orfanato

The Orphanage (Spanish: El Orfanato) is a 2007 Spanish horror/suspense/drama film. It stars Belén Rueda as Laura, a woman who returns to the orphanage where she stayed for a period as a child. She purchases the house, with plans to turn it into a home for disabled children. Everything seems to be going well for Laura, her husband Carlos (Cayo) and their son Simón (Príncep). However, the parents soon realize their son has an imaginary friend and horror begins to unfold. The film is directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, produced by the Spanish production company Rodar y Rodar, co-produced by Telecinco and presented by Mexican director Guillermo del Toro. The film was nominated for 14 Goya Awards, including Best Picture. It won seven.

 

 

7 días

Set in the city of Monterrey in Mexico this comedy from director Fernando Kalife follows the fortunes of Claudio Caballero (Jaime Camil) a man determined to bring global superstars U2 to the city. The band is hugely popular in Monterrey so Caballero decides to gamble $500000 in an attempt to raise the necessary funds to stage a concert by the group. Comedic hi jinks ensue as Kalife weaves his film through some funny and inventive material.

Al Otro Lado

Al otro lado is a Mexican film directed by Gustavo Loza. The film follows the story of three children, one from Mexico, Cuba, and Morocco, as they attempt to deal with realities of immigration in their societies. The film won three awards at the Lleida Latin-American Film Festival in 2006, including Best Film and the Audience Award; Vanessa Bauche won best actress at the festival for her performance. Al otro lado was also the Mexican candidate for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 78th Academy Awards, but was not selected as one of the final five nominees.

Carne Trémula

Live Flesh (Spanish: Carne Trémula) is a 1997 Spanish film, written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, starring Javier Bardem and Francesca Neri. The film is loosely based on Ruth Rendell's book Live Flesh. The action starts in 1970, with a messy childbirth on a bus; twenty years later, the boy born that night, who has grown into an aimless youth called Víctor (Liberto Rabal), lands himself in trouble over a junkie (Francesca Neri) and is accused of shooting a cop; later still, we find the junkie reformed and married to the cop (Javier Bardem), who is now in a wheelchair, and Víctor coming out of prison to settle old scores. And so the farce spins on-played, as usual, with impassioned gravity, yet somehow bereft of the high spirits that used to grace the director's films. A sort of vivid despair seems to have settled over his characters, and the happy ending feels like wishful thinking.

 

 

Amores Perros

Amores Perros roughly translates to "Love's a bitch," and it's an apt summation of this remarkable film's exploration of passion, loss, and the fragility of our lives. In telling three stories connected by one traumatic incident, Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu uses an intricate screenplay by novelist Guillermo Arriaga to make three movies in close orbit, expressing the notion that we are defined by what we lose--from our loves to our family, our innocence, or even our lives. These interwoven tales--about a young man in love with his brother's pregnant wife, a perfume spokeswoman and her married lover, and a scruffy vagrant who sidelines as a paid killer--are united by a devastating car crash that provides the film's narrative nexus, and by the many dogs that the characters own or care for. There is graphic violence, prompting a disclaimer that controversial dog-fight scenes were harmless and carefully supervised, but what emerges from Amores Perros is a uniquely conceptual portrait of people whom we come to know through their relationship with dogs.

 

El Hijo de la Novia

(aks: Son of the Bride) This is a heartwarming story of love and the appreciation of life. This award-winning Argentine feature was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and stars Ricardo Darin ("Nine Queens," "The Stranger"), Hector Alterio ("Burnt Money," "The Official Story") and Norma Aleandro ("Cousins," "Vital Signs"). Rafeal's whole life is put into perspective when a series of unexpected events happen that make him re-evaluate his life. With the help of a childhood friend, he is able to restructure his past and appreciate life's little details.


Nada+

Carla, a postal worker in Havana, fulfills her romantic longings by opening letters and rewriting them into passionate prose before sending them out again to their intended recipients. After her co-worker Cesar catches her, Carla turns her amorous talents on him. But the dictatorial new postmaster and her overexcited assistant begin to suspect something’s up. Cuba’s 2003 Oscar entry, Nada+ combines visual humor, poetry, satire of Cuban bureaucracy and a lighthearted love story.

 

Derecho de Familia

(aka: Family Law) This is a beautiful movie about the process of going from being a son to being a father. The role of the son is played by the Uruguayan Daniel Hendler, and he plays this part to perfection. He also gets the opportunity to be the narrator of the story, which is a prominent feature of the movie, and which he performs with a great versatility, giving his voice the necessary tone to convey the mood of the situation. Daniel Hendler portrays Dr. Ariel Perelman, a lawyer that works as a professor at the university and as a defense attorney for the state. He has a peculiar relationship with his father, sometimes showing admiration, and at others being distant. The father, Perelman Sr. has a colorful set of clients, and he uses his people's skills to get through his day as quickly and efficiently as possible. The narration of one of his normal days at the beginning of the movie provides great insight into how things usually work in Latin America.


Boca a Boca

Critics everywhere can't stop talking about this outrageously sexy comedy treat! (Mouth to mouth)To make ends meet, a struggling actor (Academy Award(R)-nominee Javier Bardem -- Best Actor, BEFORE NIGHT FALLS, 2000)reluctantly takes the only "acting" job he can find ... as a phone sex operator! But the real fun begins when he falls for a sultry, mysterious caller who wants to do more than just talk -- setting in motion a hilariously madcap, sexy adventure! Prepare yourself for nonstop laughs and unforgettable fun. This is a charming and funny comedy gem from Spainsh director Manual Gómez Pereira. Javier Bardem does a fine job as Victor and really carried the film.

 

Amor Perjudica Seriamente la Salud

Penélope Cruz stars in this screwball comedy about a hotel bellboy and a beautiful, but crazed Beatles fan who accidentally come together inside John Lennon's hotel room. The on-again, off-again affair of Diana and Santi stretches over the next 30 years, through marriages, children, and notable world events. Unable to let each other go in the best and worst of times, LOVE CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH is a glorious romantic lark. Also stars 5-time Goya award nominees Ana Belén and Gabino Diego, and Juanjo Puigcorbé.


El Día que Me Amen

Two childhood friends reunite as adults. Both have embarked on different journeys, come to personal impasses and now find themselves looking for answers where their journeys began. Mara and Joaquín were childhood friends, next-door neighbors. They are now in their early 30s. She's returned to Acassuno after eight years abroad, ostensibly to audition for a part in a musical. Joaquín has been a recluse in his parents' house, perhaps because Mara left without a word years before. Mara seeks to renew the friendship, which may be good for Joaquín, but it soon becomes clear that both face formidable obstacles to a lasting relationship with anyone. The past contains both causes of unhappiness and keys to change.

 

El Crimen del Padre Amaro

This excellent movie El crimen del padre Amaro is a 2002 Mexican film directed by Carlos Carrera. It is loosely based on the novel O Crime do Padre Amaro (1875) by 19th-century Portuguese writer José Maria de Eça de Queiroz. When it was first released, El Crimen del Padre Amaro was very controversial; Roman Catholic groups in Mexico tried to stop the film from being screened. They failed, and the film became the biggest box office draw ever in the country. The film starred Sancho Gracia, Ana Claudia Talancon and Gael García Bernal.


Tango

Flamboyant. Colorful. Sensual. This is the seductive world of the TANGO, stunningly brought to life by acclaimed director Carlos Saura ("Flamenco"), Grammy-winning composer Lalo Schifrin (TV's "Mission: Impossible") and Oscar-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. Set against the backdrop of a director's passionate love affair with his art and the beautiful young woman who captures his heart, Tango is a mesmerizing experience, a smoky lush blend of muted light and color, of intoxicating dance and the richest tango music you could ever imagine.

 

¿Qué He Hecho Yo para Merecer Esto?

Pedro Almodóvar scored his first international hit with What Have I Done to Deserve This?, cementing his reputation as Spain's bad-boy director of darkly comedic melodramas. Many of the themes that dominate Almodóvar's later films are evident here, especially his sympathetic affection for downtrodden women like Gloria (Carmen Maura), an exhausted housewife who's addicted to No-Doz tablets and spends 18-hour days cleaning apartments and tending to her teenage sons, neglectful husband, and looney-tunes mother-in-law--all of whom have a particular knack for getting on her nerves. Toss in a prostitute neighbor, an accidental murder, and a pet lizard named "Money," and you've got the makings of a soap opera by way of Luis Buñuel and John Waters, served up with Almodóvar's distinctive blend of compassionate humanity and kinky outrageousness.

 

Pantaleon y las Visitadoras

Captain Pantoja and the Special Service (1973) (orig. Spanish Pantaleón y las visitadoras) is a relatively short comedic novel by the acclaimed Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa. It deals with the eponymous Captain Pantoja's astonishingly efficient drive to bring a service of prostitutes to accommodate the desires of the men of the Peruvian armed forces who are stationed in what is portrayed as a strangely aphrodisiac Amazon jungle.

 

El Espinazo del Diablo

The Devil's Backbone (Spanish: El espinazo del diablo) is a 2001 Mexican/Spanish gothic horror film written by Guillermo del Toro, Antonio Trashorras and David Muñoz, and directed by Guillermo del Toro. It was independently produced by Pedro Almodóvar. It is set in Spain, 1939 during the Spanish Civil War. During the director's commentary in the DVD, del Toro stated that, along with Hellboy, this was his most personal project. He has called Pan's Labyrinth a spiritual sequel to The Devil's Backbone.

 

El Callejón de los Milagros

El callejón de los milagros (English: The Alley of Miracles) is an award-winning 1994 Mexican film written by Vicente Leñero adapted from the novel by Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz, the film was directed by Jorge Fons. The film deals with complex issues such as gay and lesbian related topics, the lower-middle class of Mexico City, and the lives of many people. The story is told from three perspectives: Don Ru (Ernesto Gómez Cruz), the owner of a cantina where most of the men in the story gather to drink and play dominoes, Alma (Salma Hayek), the beautiful girl of the neighborhood who dreams of passion, and Susanita (Margarita Sanz who won an Ariel Award for this role), the owner of the apartment complex where Alma and many of the other characters live. To date the film is well known to be the greatest Mexican film of all-time, the film was critically acclaimed by international critics, it earned 11 Ariel Awards including Best Picture and more than 49 international awards and nominations.

 

SBB SBB SpanishBlackBelt SBB         SBB SpanishBlackBelt

Please report errors to Webmaster

© Copyright 2004-2014. SpanishBlackbelt.com - All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of SpanishBlackBelt.com is prohibited.