This past semester at university I had a Contemporary Spanish Cinema course. It was optional, but I took it for my own curiosity as, I have to admit, I don’t think I had seen any Spanish movies before. Here I mean Spanish from Spain. Some names were familiar, such as Almodóvar, but I still didn’t really know what to expect and if I would like it or not. Well, I did. The teacher was interesting and I loved almost all the movies we watched! The course is over now, but in good memory of it I’ve decided to do a…. top list! However, here I won’t only include Spanish movies from Spain, but Spanish speaking movies in general. So, some South American movies will be included on this list (actually, I think there’s only two) and movies produced by Spain, but not Spanish speaking won’t be included (here I can think of The Others with Nicole Kidman. We watched it in class, it’s very good, but not a word of Spanish is spoken in it).
Before I start the top, here are some new, and not so new warnings:
As I’ve just discovered the world of Spanish movies, I haven’t seen them all! So it’s no use saying “you should have put this film on your list.” If I haven’t seen it, I just haven’t, so I can’t include it. Among all the Spanish films I saw, I think that maybe 4 or 5 are not included in the list, so it’s not that much as you can see. And those are not like the “obvious” Spanish films that everybody should see. But of course, if you are curious to know if I have seen some particular film that might be among the 5 that are not on the list, you surely can ask! 🙂
I don’t say that any of these films are better than another one. This is a very subjective list. These are my personal favourites. Please respect my choices.
My course was about contemporary Spanish Cinema, meaning that the list doesn’t include Spanish movies from the 40s or the 50s for example. The oldest one is a 1980’s movie. However, if you know some good “old” Spanish films I should watch, please don’t hesitate to recommend them!
I think it would be important to mention that I did see all these films in class, but most of my viewings were related to the course, except for one.
All the Almodóvar’s films I saw are included in this list.
Ok, here we go!
10. La Mala Educación (Bad Education) – Pedro Almodóvar, 2004
I chose this film for my final essay of Spanish Contemporary Cinema and I got an…. A! 😀 Look what the teacher said about my text: “This was an excellent paper, with an outstanding engagement with both historical context and literature on the subject. Great work! Only as a minor comment, the paper, is 1000 words larger than the word count asked for, be sure to double check these things (I appreciate the effort but usually its better to try and not overdo too much). At any rate, this paper shows an excellent engagement with course topics and it was very insightful and complete assignment.” Ok, I write too much, but hey! I got an A you know! 😉
9. Flores de otro mundo (Flowers From Another World) – Icíar Bollaín, 1999
8. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al bored de un ataque de nervios)– Pedro Almodóvar, 1988
7. La piel que habito (The Skin I Live in) – Pedro Almodóvar, 2011
6. XXY – Lucía Puenzo, 2007
A very interesting and touching Argentinian movie about the complex subject of intersexuality. I actually saw this one in a different class.
5. Todo sobre mi madre (All About My Mother) – Pedro Almodóvar, 1999
Definitely my favourite Almodóvar’s film so far, and the first I’ve seen.
4. El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) – Guillermo del Toro, 2006
Ok, I think everybody knows this one. I loved it, but I actually thought she would spend more time in the labyrinth!
3. Pa Negre (Black Bread) – Augustí Villaronga, 2010
Another great film about Spanish Civil War, still with the mean guy from Pan’s Labyrinth. Here I cheat a little as the film is not in Spanish, but in Catalan.
2. Y Tu Mama También (And your Mother Too) – Alfonso Cuarón, 2001
Another pretty well-known film. I watched it because of Gael García Bernal and I was not disappointed. Amazingly shot. A Mexican movie. The only one I watched that was not related to the course (or any other course if I think of XXY)
1. También la lluvia (Even the Rain) – Icíar Bollaín, 2010
The film that made me discover Gael García Bernal. I didn’t know what to expect from this film, but it’s just amazing. The story is breathtaking and the actors are excellent. Not to be missed.
Here it is. I know there’s much more I have to see such as Almodovar’s Talk to Her or Diarios de motocicleta with Bernal, but these films gave me a good preview of how great Spanish cinema is. If you are like me five months ago and haven’t seen any Spanish films, I hope this list will be useful to you!
It was good to be back! See you soon! 🙂
And Happy New Year too!