OPTIONAL MOVIE PROJECT
Below is a list of Spanish films that are subtitled in English for your viewing pleasure. Students may rent one or two (maximum) of the videos below and write a composition on each one to earn some hypothetically much-needed points. Should you decide that you don’t need the points / have the time right now to rent a video, I recommend giving one or two a try in the future, as some of the films listed below are very good.
Final grades for this summer session are due on August 22nd, therefore should you choose to write on any film(s), I will need your composition(s) preferably on the last day of class (Friday, August 18th) or if absolutely necessary, by 5pm on Saturday, August 19th. Any compositions submitted on that Saturday may be placed under my door. I will be on campus at 5:00pm sharp to collect them. Any compositions not in my possession at 5:00pm on Saturday will NOT BE ACCEPTED.
Compositions should be typed, double-spaced, and have all accent marks either typed or written in. Font size should be no larger and no smaller than 12. The length of your essay(s) should be approximately one page. While I will set no "real" minimum, I WILL say that if you are serious about acquiring extra points, you will make it no shorter than ¾ of a page, and have your sentences be of good quality. Composition drafts can be submitted to me ahead of time, or can be reviewed with me during office hours or by outside appointment prior to the due date. We can jointly correct the most glaring errors, and help save you some points in the process.
Most films will be listed in video stores under their English titles. However, if you have difficulty in finding them, try the Spanish title as well.
While you are not limited to the films listed below, you ARE required to watch a film in which the dialogue is in Spanish. Also, the Spanish foreign films selctions at the area video stores is somewhat limited to those films listed below. Should you have another film or films in mind, it must be approved by me.
¿Cúal es el trama? ¿Quiénes son los personajes centrales? ¿Cúal es el conflicto? ¿Cúal es la resolución? ¿Qué piensas del filme o de los personajes? ¿Son realísticos? ¿Tienes un(os) personaje(s) favorito(s)? ¿Quién(es)? ¿Por qué? ¿Te gustó la película? ¿Por qué? ¿Recomendaría la película a otras personas?
Strawberry and Chocolate. (Fresa y chocolate). Director: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. Meet David- a naïve young college kid who is out on his own for the first time. With the help of two extraordinary new friends, David soon learns everything there is to know about things that aren’t taught in school! Diego is the writer who teaches him about the passion of life. . .and Nancy is the woman who teaches him about the passion of love. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 1994. Running time: 104 minutes.
Belle Epoque. (The Age of Beauty).Director: Fernando Trueba. Spain, 1931. As the days of the monarchy draw to a close, Fernando, a young idealistic soldier deserts the army. Fate leads him to the home of a wise and witty old painter, Manolo. The two become friends. But the day arrives when Fernando must leave to make room for the arrival of Manolo’s four daughters. Rocio, a born flirt; Violeta, rebellious, strong and dangerous; Clara, the oldest, a widow; and Luz, the youngest, spoiled and willful. Fernando finds a way to stay, much to the delight of Manolo’s daughters! ;) Luz, madly in love with Fernando, becomes increasingly jealous as each of her sisters seduce Fernando. Sexual entanglements, joys and sorrows abound as Fernando finds a home in Manolo’s family. He doesn’t know it, but these will always be the best days of his life. Won Best Foreign Language Film in 1993. Running time: 109 minutes.
Like Water For Chocolate. (Como agua para hacer chocolate).Director: Alfonso Arau. Based on the best-selling book. Tita and Pedro are passionately in love. But their love is forbidden by an ancient family tradition. To be near Tita, Pedro marries her sister. And Tita, as the family cook, expresses her passion for Pedro through preparing delectable dishes. Now, in Tita’s kitchen, ordinary spices become a recipe for passion. Her creations bring on tears of longing, heated desire or chronic pain – while Tita and Pedro wait for the moment to fulfill their most hidden pleasures. Running time: 105 minutes.
Sevillanas. Director: Carlos Saura. Filmed like a documentary, this film consists of eleven short performances by Spain’s most famous flamenco dancers, singers, and guitarrists. Saura, well known for his trilogy of flamenco films (Carmen, Blood Wedding, El Amor Brujo) here provides an in-depth look at the Sevillanas form of flamenco and its dancers, who range in age from about 8 to nearly 80. Running time: 55 minutes.
Kika. Director: Pedro Almodóvar. Kika is a make-up artist who lives with her lover, Ramón, a photographer specializing in women’s lingerie. Kika and Ramón have a maid, Juanita, who is madly in love with Kika. Kika has a best friend, Amparo, a hairdresser who betrays her every chance she gets. Kika also has an enemy, Andrea Scarface, host of a tabloid reality show that broadcasts in "fierce exclusivity" images of the most hair-raising events. So far so good, but enter Nicholas (Peter Coyote), Ramón’s step-father, who likes to seduce Kika from time to time, and Pablo, Juanita’s brother, an ex-porno star who has just escaped from jail, and things start to get a little strange in the outrageously sexy world of Kika. Running time: 109 minutes. WARNING: this film may be difficult to find.
Abre los ojos. (Open Your Eyes).Director: Alejandro Amenabar. In this steamy, intriguingly complex psychological thriller, the line between reality and fantasy is hopelessly blurred. César tries to make sense of his life after a car crash leaves his once-handsome face grotesquely disfigured. After he is placed into a psychiatric penitentiary for a murder he doesn’t remember committing, César’s only hope is to delve into the depths of his subconscious mind where the answer to ending his living nightmare lies in his dreams. Running time: 1 hour 57 minutes.
Tango. Director: Carlos Saura. Flamboyant. Colorful. Sensual. 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". Running time: 115 minutes.
Live Flesh. (Carne Viva).Director: Pedro Almodóvar. When naïve lovestruck Victor attempts to seduce beautiful and wealthy but strung-out junkie Elena,all he gets for his trouble is a one-way, six-year ticket to prison, where he concentrates on strengthening his mind, his body, . . .and his desire for vengeance on the man who put him there. After his release, Victor crosses paths with Elena, who is as beautiful as ever since she has cleaned up her act. Still madly in love with her, Victor will stop at nothing to win her over, even if it means revenge—for Elena has married David, the cop who sent him to prison!! Running time: 1 hour 41 minutes.
Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown. (Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios).Director: Pedro Almodóvar. High atop one of Spain’s poshest penthouses, three women have come to the end of their mental ropes. Super-sexy Pepa is forever teetering around atop her skyscraper spikes as she obsesses over Iván, the lover who has just jilted her over the answering machine. Her neurotic best friend, Candela, is seeking refuge at Pepa’s place because she recently realized her lover is a Shiite terrorist. And Iván’s ex-wife Lucía, was just released from a 20-year stint in a mental institution. They’re all mighty mad---in fact, they’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown . . .and one of them is about to commit a murder unless the other half-crazed femmes fatales can stop her! Nominated for Best Foreign Film 1989. Running time: 1 hour 29 minutes.
High Heels. (Tacones Lejanos).Director: Pedro Almodóvar. When a TV anchorwoman is reunited with her long-estranged mother, a famous and flamboyant singer-actress, their reconciliation is cause for great celebration. But when the daughter introduces the mother to her husband, it is none other than her mother's ex-lover! And when the husband-paramour is mysteriously killed, both mother and daughter come under suspicion in a frenzied investigation highlighted by a televised murder confession, a dancing chorus of female inmates,and a police detective who changes appearance as often as others change clothes. 1991. Running Time: 113 minutes.
Carmen.Director: Carlos Saura. Antonio Gades, Spain's foremost flamenco dancer, portrays the director / choreographer of a dance company set in present-day Spain. To complete his dance production of `Carmen`, set to Bizet's operatic score, he must find a leading lady. Antonio's obsessive search for a fiery and passionate Carmen takes him to flamenco dance schools where he eventually discovers his Carmen in an untried young dancer . . . named Carmen! As the rigors of rehearsal become more and more intense, Carmen and Antonio find themselves living the `Carmen` story of love and treachery. Nominated for Best Foreign FIlm 1983. Running time: 99 minutes. WARNING: This film is (to my knowledge) not available for rental, and will therefore be shown in class. I HIGHLY recommend not being absent on the the film days!!!