I am sure wherever you read about language learning, they tell you to immerse yourself in your target language as much as you can. But what if you don't live in a Spanish-speaking country? How do you learn Spanish by immersing yourself in the language if you live in the U.S.?
Watch Spanish movies with Spanish subtitles
It's important that you have the subtitles in Spanish! Yes, it's not going to be easy at the beginning, but this way, you'll really train your listening skill. If you are a complete beginner, you might ask, "How do I learn Spanish by watching movies with Spanish subtitles? I can't even fully understand a sentence." If watching a movie with Spanish subtitles is difficult for you, I suggest that you watch the movie first with English subtitles and switch to Spanish subtitles.
How to Learn Different Spanish Accents
Let's say if you live in the U.S., chance of you learning Mexican Spanish is pretty high. What if you don't want to learn Mexican Spanish? How do you learn Spanish with a different accent? Well, there are many ways to do it - watch more movies made with your desired Spanish accent, find someone from that country to practice speaking, and more. Below is a list of 5 movies made with different Spanish accents, pick an accent you prefer, or watch all of them, and enjoy!
1. La Nana (The Maid)
Language(s): Spanish- Chile
Raquel has served as a maid for the wealthy Valdez family for over 23 years. She has been super loyal to her employers, Pilar and Edmundo. In returns, the Valdez family treats Raquel kindly and sees her as a part of the family. She is a hard worker, but in fact, she is worn out by all the hard work she has put in over the years. Raquel starts to suffer from headaches and blackouts. Because of this, Pilar decides to hire another maid to share Raquel's workload while she rests. But Pilar unwittingly lights a bad fuse.
Raquel is afraid of her losing her place in the Valdez family. So she makes it her mission to drive away any maids who set foot in the household. As Raquel's behavior becomes more and more unreasonable, the film becomes a psychological thriller laced with a good amount of black comedy. At the end of the film, Pilar tries the third time to find a new maid who can work with Raquel, and she gets lucky with Lucy, whose determination to connect with Raquel gives her a chance to develop a real friendship for the first time in many years.
2. También La Lluvia (Even the Rain)
Language(s): Spanish- Bolivia, Quechua, English
Mexican filmmaker Sebastián and his Spanish executive producer Costa arrive in Cochabamba, Bolivia prepared to shoot a historical film depicting Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the New World. But they get themselves involved in a series of incidents related to the Cochabamba Water War. Because of the limited budget, Costa chooses to film in Bolivia, the poorest country in South America. Bolivian locals are happy to make just two dollars a day as extras in the film and willingly engage in physical labor for set preparation.
Sebastián casts a local man named Daniel in the role of Hatuey, the Taíno chief who led a rebellion against Columbus. Their first encounter with Daniel gives Costa pause and causes him to oppose his casting, but Sebastian gives him the role. Sebastian is oblivious to the fact that Daniel is leading protests against the water privatization that the Bolivian government has agreed to. Filming begins smoothly despite the alcoholism of actor Anton, but when Costa finds out about Daniel’s revolutionary involvement, he grows uneasy.
3. Palmeras en la Nieve (Palm Trees in the Snow)
Language(s): Spanish- Spain, Bube, Pichinglis, Benasquese
In 1954, young Kilian left Spain for Spanish Guinea to take care of his family's cocoa plantation with his brother, Jacobo, and father. Kilian immediately falls in love with Bisila, a plantation owner's wife, when he first meets her. Decades later, Clarence, who's attending her father's funeral, finds an old letter that belongs to her uncle, Kilian. She then sets off on a journey to Bioko in Guinea to self-discovery as well as to uncover the long-buried family secret.
Even if you are not a big fan of romances, there are still enough story elements that keep you excited and curious enough to make you want to see how things roll out. It confronts the darker side of colonialism. Moreover, it tackles the constant power struggles between Africans and Europeans, men and women. One more thing to look for- the visuals in the film as they are astonishing. Every shot is saturated with the saturated colors and beautiful scenery.
4. Ixcanul (Volcano)
Language(s): Spanish- Guatemala, Kaqchikel
The film tells the story of a Mayan girl named María. She lives with her parents in a small village that's isolated from the modern world. Her parents cultivate coffee on the slopes of an active volcano in Guatemala. They've promised to marry María to Ignacio, a supervisor. But she is attracted to Pepe, a young plantation worker. María is fascinated with stories on the other side of the volcano, which is the United States. That's where she wants to be. Pepe also dreams of migrating to the United States, so María plans to run away with Pepe.
When she finally acts on her feelings, she gets pregnant. After that night, things start to get complicated for María, forcing her into a wrongful confrontation with the modern world, which turns out to be ongoing exploitation of indigenous people in Guatemala. The recent events force María to see everything -- from her body to her place in a world that is a lot bigger and more unknowable than she could imagine. Ixcanul is a film that combines its plot with realism. Every shot is held steady on its subject, inviting the audience to observe the daily routines and customs of the indigenous people.
5. Ocho Apellidos Vascos (Spanish Affair)
Language(s): Spanish- Spain
If you like to sit back and have a good laugh, this Spanish comedy with thick local references is your go-to film. It also exposes some of Spain's most recognizable regional stereotypes (north v.s. south). People from Seville are outgoing, quick-witted, sociable, but none of the above applies to the grumpy, more serious, and fiercely nationalistic Basques.
This comedy tells the tale of a southerner Rafa trying to win the heart of a Basque girl Amaia. Amaia is partying in Seville where she meets Rafa, who happens to be a prototypical Sevillano guy. The two experience a culture shock after their encounter. Despite his friends' advice, Rafa, who's smitten with Amaia, decides to go back to the Basque Country with Amaia the next day. A series of misunderstandings forces Rafa to try to pass himself off as a local with ocho apellidos (eight surnames).
How to Learn Spanish with Movies if You're Totally New?
So you've only started learning Spanish not long ago. Watching a move in Spanish might not be an easy task for you. Then how can you learn Spanish by watching the movies recommended above. Don't worry, there are many ways to learn a foreign language. You learn things most effectively when you are having fun, and when you are learning it naturally. Increase the language exposure by watching the movies, and train your speaking and listening in the most natural way with Glossika. You will find yourself watching Spanish movies with Spanish subtitles in no time.
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