Good Spanish Movies

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 7:00 am

There are plenty of good Spanish movies being turned out these days, and this is my attempt to point you in the right direction. In order to get a feel for the modern climate of Spanish filmmaking, most of the selections on this list are of the newer variety, but I have included a couple of older films for your enjoyment. So pick a couple that sound interesting, pop them into your DVD player, and then return here and tell us what you thought in the comments section. Adios, mi amigos.

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Alatriste (2006) – Based on the series of novels known as The Adventures of Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte, Alatriste stars Viggo Mortensen as the 17th century Spanish soldier and adventurer of the same name. Filled with battles, duels, and romance, this is the second most expensive film ever made in Spain. Ignored in the U.S., it received 14 Goya Award nominations, the Spanish equivalent of the Oscars.

The Devil’s Backbone (2001) – Set during the Spanish Civil War, Guillermo del Toro’s deeply personal film takes place in a creepy orphanage. When a boy named Carlos is delivered there, he encounters a defused bomb in the courtyard, numerous ghosts, and tales of a hidden cache of gold. As the war intensifies around them, the body count begins to rise, terrible secrets are revealed, and the hunt for the gold reaches a fever pitch. One of many gothic horror stories to come out of Spain in the last decade.

Lesbian Vampires (1970) – She’s a vampire and a lesbian. Doesn’t that pretty much tell you everything you need to know? Trust me, it’s better than anything you’ll find on Cinemax late at night.

Timecrimes (2007) – A unique film about time travel, murder, and women getting undressed in the woods. Directed by Nacho Vigalondo, you can click on the link to read a movie review of Timecrimes by yours truly.

Rec (2007) – An ambitious TV reporter follows a group of EMTs working the graveyard shift. Things are boring at first, but a call from an apartment building quickly leads to death and dismemberment courtesy of zombie-like creatures. To make matters worse, the building is sealed off by authorities, and all those inside must fight for their lives or be torn to pieces. Popular enough that it was remade in the U.S. as Quarantine.

The Perfect Crime (2004) – Rafael is a real ladies man, having slept with all the female employees at the Madrid department store where he works. Well, all but one. But when he accidentally kills a co-worker and rival, the one woman in the store he doesn’t find attractive helps him cover up the crime and then names her price. Guillermo Toledo is outstanding in the role of the charismatic and self-absorbed Rafael, and Monica Cervera displays great comic timing as the increasingly deranged Lourdes. A black comedy Spanish style.

Fermat’s Room (2007) – This tense Spanish thriller concerns three mathematicians and an inventor locked in an ever-shrinking room and forced to solve puzzles to stay alive. The film runs out of steam down the stretch, but it reminded me of a thinking man’s Saw in the early going. Despite its flaws, it should prove entertaining for all but the most discerning cinemaphile.

Dark Habits (1983) – A deliciously dark film from director Pedro Almodovar about a cabaret singer who hides out at an unconventional convent following the drug overdose of her lover. The order of nuns is known as the Humiliated Redeemers, and it’s populated by murderers, drug addicts, and lustful women. If you’ve ever wanted to see a nun play the bongos for a pet tiger, then this black comedy is the one for you.

Amores Perros (2000) – While it wasn’t made in Spain, Amores Perros is a Spanish-language film, and that’s good enough to be included on my list of good Spanish movies. Besides, it’s a powerhouse work which should be seen by any serious fan of cinema. Taking place in Mexico City, it details three separate stories of misery, all eventually brought together by a fatal wreck. This is what Crash aspired to, so watch them both and decide for yourself which one is better.

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Now that you’re familiar with some of the good Spanish movies out there, how about taking a look at these other fine articles from Only Good Movies:

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 at 7:00 am and is filed under Good Movies, Thoughts on Film. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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