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Friday, September 19, 2008

Movie Night

Movie Night

I always say that I am going to watch more films in Spanish but I never seem to follow through on this promise to myself. Watching movies on Spanish TV is a bit difficult for a couple of reasons. I prefer to listen to Spanish movies through headphones as the quality is better and the sound is more direct. My TV doesn't have a headphone jack. I also have a hard time making it over the initial hurdle of commercials that usually begin after the first five minutes or so of a lot of movies on television. They run almost ten minutes of commercials during this block and I often forget what it was that I started watching. There is only so much Spanish to be learned from Don Limpio (aka Mister Clean, whose Spanish version looks like a waiter in a gay night club a) commercials and ads for the latest McDonald's product to hit the Iberian peninsula.

I have finally got over my aversion to dubbed movies. I would never watch a movie dubbed into English, preferring to read subtitles if I can't understand the original language of the film. I understand why Spanish people rely so heavily on dubbed movies as it would be rather tiresome to have to read at least every other movie you come across. The difficult thing for me with movies dubbed into Spanish is that the sound quality suffers during the process and I often have a hard time understanding the dialogue. A dubbed movie is no longer a deal-breaker for me as any exposure to Spanish is helpful.

Going to a movie theater isn't always a wise option. There is rarely anything new that I care to see, and rarer still is a new movie for which I am willing to shell out 7-8€. I can wait for the video. Luckily for me we have a little movie theater in my neighborhood that shows non-current movies for cheap. Cinestudio D'Or (Carrer D'Almirall Caradoso 31) is about five blocks from my apartment. They show a double feature that changes every week. On weekends they charge 4€ for both and on some weekdays it's only 2.50€ (that's $129.99 American). I should go every week even if the movies are lousy just to listen to three hours of Spanish.

I just recently saw two newer Spanish films: Casual Day and Todos Estamos Invitados. Not very good movies but for 2.50€ I wasn't risking much. I really notice that I understand more and more when I watch movies. It is especially rewarding when I pick up on a bit of slang or something that only someone who has lived in Spain would understand. Watching Spanish movies also adds to the sort of cultural intelligence that helps me better understand what is being said here in Spain. Just think about how often American movies are quoted in conversation. When I make a joke about “Log Jammin,'” everyone knows that I am referring to the porn film starring Karl Hungus in the movie The Big Lebowski. As far as culture and language go, everything is interrelated and it almost always starts with The Big Lebowski (or ends there).

2.50€ times two means that the little cinema by my apartment is what you would call a cheap date. You can also bring in whatever you want including beer and wine. I remember the first time I went there—empty-handed—and boy did I feel like an idiot when I saw the couple sitting next to us drinking nice cold beers. Let's just say that I haven't made that mistake twice. It is rather comical the sort of food Spanish people bring to the movies: sandwiches, bags of chips, and Tupperware containers filled with god-knows-what. I half-expect to see someone bring in a whole ham and start carving it up, or perhaps a paella. Enjoy the movie and bon appetit (buen provecho).

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