Is watching anything in Spanish good to improve your Spanish? Hum mm, no! If you want to learn Spanish, you have to choose wisely, luckily, most of the best movies set in Madrid. For example, La Casa de Papel a series set in Madrid has rocketed the number of Asian students wanting to learn Spanish just as a great number of Europeans have chosen to learn Japanese due to their fascination with Manga or Anime. all of us have strived to improve a foreign language or even learn a few words of a totally unknown language simply by watching some foreign movies subtitled on Netflix.
Hold on! Before we unravel the list. Why have I chosen precisely those 4 movies set in Madrid?
Obviously, since all the movies are set in Madrid. However, all of them also exhibit some typical and peculiar perspectives of Madrid. The cultural aspects portray Madrid as a perfect melting pot but watch out! don’t catch Madrid Syndrome. You will learn while studying Spanish in Madrid because Madrid is a good city for a Spanish beginner. Frankly, what counts here is that you will not only improve your Spanish but also enjoy four highly rated movies set in Madrid.
Number 4: “La comunidad” (Alex de la Iglesia)
Be ready! It’s what we could call a Gore Comedy.
The plot: Julia, around fortyish, discovers by accident a significant fortune hidden in the apartment of a deceased man while visiting the place. A lucky strike for an ambitious and greedy real estate agent like her. Unfortunately, the neighborhood consisting of shabby and immoral characters who think otherwise are ready to do anything to satisfy their greed. The film is definitely Gore, but hilarious, quite intelligent, and witty.
The assets: An amazing cast of actors including world-famous Carmen Maura. Brilliant photography, interior setting, and special effects.
Carmen Maura in the movie “La Comunidad”
The connection with Madrid: The film takes place in a stunning, emblematic building of the famous Gran Via of Madrid and on its vertiginous terrace. The ambiance and hectic action are reminiscent of a well-known French movie called Delicatessen. The characters are a perfect representation of citizens of Madrid from diverse social backgrounds and origins.
The Spanish will you learn: Slang, for sure, cuss words too, no denying, but in the end, slang and cuss words are part of Spanish you have to understand, not systematically use though.
Number 3: “Truman” (Cesc Gay)
A delicate, profound, and elegant drama-comedy.
The plot: Truman is the dog’s name that belongs to the middle-aged protagonist named Julian. Julian makes a crucial decision following his cancer diagnosis and shares his decision with his best friend Tomás who is coincidentally in Madrid for a few days.
The assets: Very few movies have been capable of approaching such a delicate topic as cancer and the probabilities of a fatal outcome. Truman is a sincere and soul-touching movie with a subtle sense of humor and that masterfully never falls into the trap of weepy melodramas. A truly beautiful story praising the beauty of human relationships and the emotional links we create with animals.
The connection with Madrid: Both protagonists share long strolls around the old districts and gardens of Madrid, always in the company of Truman, the dog. Julián, Tomas, and Truman often end up sitting in emblematic spaces, cafes, and bodegas of Madrid.
The Spanish will you learn: Truman is a social and intimate movie, be ready to enrich all vocabulary and expressions that relate to intimate and profound dialogues in variable tones ranging from casual conversation to subtle arguments. The pace of the dialogues is slow but never dreary. It will be your opportunity to become familiar with the Argentinian accent thanks to Ricardo Darin’s amazing acting.
Number 2: “Abre los ojos” (Alejandro Amenábar)
Welcome to this Madrid’s psycho-thriller.
The plot: How a young, rich, and handsome womanizer’s life can accidentally become a horrible nightmare when jealousy and revenge seem to have no limits.
The assets: “Abre los ojos” is probably one of the best masterpieces of Spanish cinema, at least as a thriller and in terms of genre mixing. Not surprising that Tom Cruise decided to take up the American remake just after watching it (Vanilla Sky).
The connection with Madrid: Among other settings such as the beautiful Parque del Retiro, this film offers a unique chance to see Madrid’s Gran Via and surrounding areas as if the film has been shot during the pandemic, a sort of prophecy.
The Spanish will you learn: Certainly, a good balance of the formal and informal mix. Some of the dialogues will help you acquire the essence of flirting while others related to fear, dreams, sensations, and psychology.
Ta daa! and the winner is…: “Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios” (Pedro Almodóvar)
Welcome to the unique and fantasy world of Almodóvar.
The plot: Pepa is an advertising and dubbing actress also renowned for a washing powder ad. She is pregnant from Iván, a (married) co-worker. Pepa tries to reach Iván to inform him about the pregnancy but he seems to have disappeared. Ivan is actually about to flee away with another woman. Things start messing up when a series of people start popping in Pepa’s friend Maria’s superb penthouse in Madrid. Maria unwillingly hides some terrorists. A young man, who along with his girlfriend, plans to rent the penthouse turns out to be Ivan’s son…this is only the beginning of a series of events.
The assets: No one who pretends to grasp the essence of contemporary Spanish cinema should miss out on this hilarious and witty comedy. It is an emblematic icon of the Spanish cultural boom of the ’80s known as “Movida Madrileña”. It is also an opportunity to watch a very young rising star: Antonio Banderas.
The connection with Madrid:
The movie offers a permanent panoramic view of Madrid since Pepa enjoys a rooftop terrace in Madrid. The rest of the scenes take place in different areas of the city as well as in the district of Chueca, where Pepa jumps on the most extravagant taxi.
The Spanish will you learn: As usual, a mix of informal Spanish and slang, a slang that is very representative of the times of the “Movida Madrileña”. The advantage of this excellent comedy is that it is so hilarious and entertaining that you could see it several times without getting bored and therefore reinforce your listening skills.
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Have you ever heard about the Madrid Syndrome? If not, this article is for you!