Random Factoid #334

27 06 2010

As you might know from January when I spent three weeks in Argentina, I am a student of the Spanish language.  My goal is to ultimately become bilingual because it is a useful skill to have when you live in Texas.

I also love foreign cinema, and a lot of what I watch happens to be in the Spanish language (mainly because there are so many cinematically vibrant countries that are mostly Spanish speaking).  Pedro Almodovar, Guillermo del Toro, and many more.

The farther I get in my study of Spanish, the less I need the subtitles.  For the most part, the characters speak fairly simply.  I usually only need them for vocabulary that I am unfamiliar with.  In fact, sometimes I can listen to the characters speak and find a more literal translation than the subtitles.

I also use watching these movies as an exercise in learning more Spanish.  I try to take away vocabulary from each of the movies and incorporate the words into my speaking.  For instance, I only know that carcel means “jail” because of “Talk to Her.”

F.I.L.M. of the Week (April 2, 2010)

2 04 2010

I remember waking up the morning after the Oscars in 2003 and looking at the winners in the paper (because at that point, my parents wouldn’t let me stay up to watch the whole show) and wondering what on earth “Talk to Her” was.  Pedro Almodóvar’s Spanish-language film had taken the Best Original Screenplay category away from a movie that I loved very dearly at the time, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”  Seven years later, I finally found out what it was that I had been missing – and now it is my “F.I.L.M. of the Week.”

I’m still trying to get a hold of what exactly Almodóvar’s directorial style that everyone loves so much actually is, but whatever that may be, I absolutely love it.  “Talk to Her” is a beautifully developed story about two men and their relationships with the women they love – both of which happen to be comatose.  Benigno is a nurse in the hospital taking care of Alicia, a woman who had a terrible accident just as he became obsessed with her.  As her caregiver, he now has all the access to her that he wants (which is why I recommend this movie with a fair amount of discretion – this movie is not for the faint at heart or the easily creeped).

Marco, on the other hand, has been romantically involved with Lydia, a matador, for quite sometime whenever she is tragically maimed by a bull.  When she falls into a coma, she winds up at the same hospital where Alicia is kept and Benigno works.  In a coincidence so shocking it could only happen in the movies, Marco and Benigno happened to have sat next to each other at a play once, and they begin to strike up a casual friendship.  Their approaches to dealing with the women that they love differ greatly; the title derives from some advice that Benigno gives.  “Talk to her,” he suggests.  Act like she is alive.

The story that unravels from their friendship is unconventional yet so exciting to watch unveil.  It’s shrouded in artistry, and I’m still working on getting to the core of what this movie is really trying to say.  I don’t mind munching on it, and I love movies like “Talk to Her” because I am forced to think and ponder.  It’s the kind of movie that stays in your head for weeks and months, and it’s the kind of movie that makes you feel like one time simply isn’t enough to see it all.

P.S. – For anyone who has seen the movie, what do you make of the “Shrinking Lover” sequence (without spoiling the ending for anyone)?