movie about Spain?


Hi, one of my way to know a new country (culture, nature, food) - watching a good movie. Now focus in Spain. Could you suggest some interesting movies (drama, history, comedy)?

Do you really mean a film ‘about’ Spain, i.e. examining Spanish culture/history? Or do you mean films made in Spain?

Pedro Almodóvar is probably the most famous Spanish director, certainly at this point in time and now maybe ever. He has a singular, identifiable style that people either tend to groove to or not. For those of us who love his films we can't get enough of him. I wouldn't say you'll learn much about Spain per se, certainly not historically, and even culturally Almodóvar's movies are very personal and I suspect you are getting a view of Almodóvar and not Spain. It would be like coming here to Baltimore, MD where I live and expecting everything to be a John Waters movie. But it is an excellent place to start and Almodóvar's films should be relatively easy to find.

I would start out with maybe All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Volver, and Pain & Glory. If after a couple of those you are liking what you see, welcome to the wild, wonderful, colorful cinema of Pedro Almodóvar. If you don't groove to them you probably don't have to bother with his earlier films.

The other internationally famous Spaniard filmmaker is Luis Buñuel. Buñuel too is very singular, and he also happens to be a Surrealist, so again if you are looking for a sense of Spanish culture and history you will find it only in the margins and through satire as by design his films are not supposed to be realistic. His four masterpieces that any big fan of cinema should see at some point are The Exterminating Angel, Belle de Jour, The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie, and That Obscure Object of Desire.

As for one about Spanish history, the one that comes first to mind is made by an Englishman. Ken Loach's Land & Freedom (1995) which is about a British Communist who gets involved with the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. The Spanish Revolution is the historical period that will be the easiest to find movies about, I expect, including For Whom the Bell Tolls, Behold a Pale Horse, Pan's Labyrinth, and Guernica.

"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

Almodovar is a great suggestion.

If you want something a bit lighter, there's a comedy called L'auberge espagnole (The Spanish Apartment) that follows a french exchange student living with several other international students in Barcelona.

Guillermo del Toro has two films that take place during the Spanish Civil War: The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth.

I thought that the film Goya's Ghosts was, well, pretty bad actually. But it does give some history of the Spanish inquisition.

For other good films set in Spain, I'd also recommend Open Your Eyes (the original, Abre los Ojos, not the Tom Cruise remake) and Tesis.

If you are open to something pretty disturbing, there's a horror/thriller called In a Glass Cage that addresses the issue of fascism and trauma through a story involving a paralyzed man and the young man who becomes his caretaker. But please be warned that it's pretty heavy thematically and there is some graphic stuff.

Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Aside from Almodovar, one of the best movies I've seen so far from Spain is Cell 211 (2009). It also has plot elements of Spains struggle with the Basques, which I found interesting.