4 Spanish Films with English Subtitles
Pedro Almodovar Films And His Spanish Movies With English Subtitles
These are some of my favourite Spanish films, all directed by Pedro Almodovar. They are all comedies but do not watch them if you are oversensitive to sex scenes or if you are always looking for the politically correct; Spanish films just aren't.
Spanish films display a weird sense of humour. Perhaps it is a European humour or Spanish humour. I am more inclined to think that it is a particular way that the Spanish have to see life: A crude way to confront the most unpleasant situations.
The Spanish films I have chosen to review here are wonderfully dark comic stories about ordinary people. They can be viewed by men and women alike several times as you always will find a twist or references to old movies, literature and theatre that you did not notice the first time.
The films have little or no special effects. They rely on acting and dialogue which is hilarious. Although they are not comedies, strictly speaking, but they do bring a smile to your face. Maybe because you realize that even in the most stressful situations life is still worth living and laughing about!
1) "Atame" or Love Between a Mental Patient and a Porn Star
Victoria Abril developed cold sores during shooting from having her mouth frequently taped shut.
ATAME: Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990)
A Spanish movie that you can find with English subtitles Starring a young Antonio Banderas and Victoria Abril. This film launched Antonio Banderas career in American films.
One of my favourite Spanish movies. One I can see again and again without getting bored. Perfect to delight yourself with a young Antonio Banderas.
A dramatic and comic story at the same time, this is one of the best examples of Spanish Dark Romantic comedy. The plot is simple, Ricky (Antonio Banderas) is a mental patient released from the hospital. He only wants to start a new life, form a family and live happily ever after. The problem is that he has chosen as his bride-to-be Marina (Victoria Abril) a porn film star who once spent a night with him. Ricky tries to convince her to marry him but as she is reluctant to maintain any contact, he starts stalking her until he kidnaps her in her own house. It is a wacky, crude, sex-charged love story and unpredictable funny.
For this film, Almodovar cast his own mother as Victoria Abril's mom.
"The sex scene between 'Antonio Banderas' and Victoria Abril took nine takes to get right, and about nine hours to film. Pedro Almodóvar chose to use the last take as, by that time, the two actors had worked themselves up into a sweat which made the scene appear to be more authentic. Elia Kazan later remarked that he thought it was one of the best sex scenes he had ever witnessed."— Extract from IMDB
UK Trailer for the 1990 Almodóvar film,''Átame!'', AKA Tie me up! Tie me Down!
2) Kika (1994) a Makeup Artist in love with a Voyeuristic Photographer
Starring: Verónica Forqué and Peter Coyote.
This is a film for when I feel a little bit crazy. Kika keeps you on your toes with the most unpredictable situations and characters. A film charged with black humour.
The plot is like in most Spanish films, a bit all over the place. Kika (Veronica Forqué) is a makeup artist with a more than complicated life. She is in love with a voyeuristic photographer, but she is having an affair with his step-father (Peter Coyote). To complicate things, Kika has a lesbian maid with a porn star brother who just came out of jail. Juana, the maid, played by the unforgettably strange-looking Rossy de Palma, wishes to become a prison matron and lets her comically bestial brother have sex with her just to keep him from hurting the neighbours. Is that too much for you?
And this is just the start of the film... an utterly outrageous film, not for the over-sensitive. Some might say that Kika is a hard film to watch due to its rape scene, incest and other taboo subjects, but honestly, I think that it is even more difficult NOT to watch it or even laugh -despite feeling guilty about it. After all, who else, but Almodovar can make you laugh with a rape scene?
This is a film that will catch your interest with the first scene and you will not be able to turn away from it. I would say this is a "pitch dark comedy".
If you are a fan of French couture, Kika is also a showcase for Jean-Paul Gaultier's dazzling outlandish costumes for Victoria Abril. Of special notice is her gore-trimmed gown made to look as if it had exploded to expose her breasts; or the one-woman video crew suit.
Kika was shown for the first time more than 20 years ago. The trailer below is the one originally used to advertise the film in Spain and like the film, the trailer is also incorrect (politically, morally and who knows what else) but it is funny and light-hearted.
KIKA Theatrical Trailer (Pedro Almodovar, 1993) in Spanish with English subtitles
I think the reason why a lot of the Spanish films do so well, and are so well done, is because the public really respects it and wants it.— Paula Garces
Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown
3) Women On The Verge of A Nervous Breakdown (1988)
Starring Carmen Maura and Antonio Banderas.
I just love this film, I have seen it so many times and every single time it makes me laugh to tears!
This is the film that made Almodóvar an international star; it was nominated for the 1989 Academy Award for The Best Foreign-language film and won 5 Goya Awards including Best Film and Best Actress in a Leading Role for Maura.
The plot turns around Pepa (Carmen Maura) depressed because her married boyfriend just left her. But she will not let him go and will do anything to talk to him before he leaves town with his new lover. This film is hysterically comic in a dramatic way.
I don't know if it is just me, but this is a film with which most women can easily identify. I am always asking myself which of them I am?
The women in the film are each in their own way on the verge of a nervous breakdown. There is Pepa trying to get her lover back, a virgin having erotic dreams under the influence of sleeping pills, the lover's mentally deranged wife, Candela, who is escaping from the police and tries to kill herself and the new lover who tries to control Pepa's ex.
The film is dramatic but full of little comic scenes like when Pepa burns her bed by accident, when she takes a mambo taxi or when someone visiting her drinks her gazpacho loaded with sleeping pills.
A must see for lovers of foreign films. Almodóvar’s story of women liberating themselves after being messed about by men is in part a tribute to the women who he thinks rescued Spain from the civil war.
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Yes, women are stronger than us. They face more directly the problems that confront them, and for that reason they are much more spectacular to talk about. I don't know why I am more interested in women because I don't go to any psychiatrists, and I don't want to know why.— Pedro Almodovar
4) Todo Sobre Mi Madre: All About My Mother (1999)
Starring: Eloy Azorín and Carmen Balagué.
This is a melodramatic comedy where Manuela (Cecilia Roth) leaves Madrid after the death of her son to go to Barcelona to look for her son's father. There she finds an ex-transsexual friend and a young nun who turns out to be pregnant by Manuela's ex-lover (the father of the dead boy) who is also a transsexual.
This is an emotive film about women, who have already gone through a nervous breakdown. It is sad, funny and extravagant. It has everything that makes a good film.
All About My Mother Wins Foreign Language Film: 2000 Oscars
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2008 Wendy Iturrizaga