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-   -   What are your favourite books and films on Spain? (http://www.notesfromspain.com/forums/showthread.php?t=87)

Ben 12th April 2006 06:16 PM

What are your favourite books and films on Spain?
 
The question is prompted by the re-re-launch of our books and films selection.
My answers are almost certainly:

Book - Homage to Catalonia, by George Orwell
Film - Lucia y el Sexo (for Formentera and Paz Vega ;))

How about you?

Chiny 12th April 2006 07:32 PM

Having seen a mere dozen or at most 15 Spanish films, my view may change but top of the pile to date and by a long way is Nueve Reinas. Link is to my usual DVD rental place http://www.lovefilm.com/view_dvd.php...&se_type=title

Books... only read one :o but the high selling The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon was enjoyable.

--
Chiny

cubix 13th April 2006 04:40 AM

I;ve only seen one spanish film(in salamanca) and it had subtitles, but it was very odd.

Malas Temporadas, it seems like they ran out of money and the story just ends..

timg 13th April 2006 09:37 AM

Not sure about favourite book - I haven't read that many Spanish books. I've started El Quijote a couple of times (like most people, I expect) and really enjoyed Los Santos Inocentes de Miguel Delibes.
As for films - one that I always enjoy is El Milagro de P. Tinto. I also really enjoyed Nueve Reinas, Intacto, La Lista de Espera, Tesis and Abre los Ojos. I guess it all depends on my mood as to what I prefer at the time. I just wish we had more opportunity to see Spanish films here (UK). We get the occasional ones (mainly Almodóvar and Amenábar), but nothing like the quantity of Bollywood films. Our local multiplex always has a featured Bollywood movie. I just wish they did a similar thing with other foreign (ie non-Hollywood) films (Spanish, European or whatever). hey ho

lumpsuckerpig 13th April 2006 10:22 AM

Books
 
I realise that this bit of the forum is really only for Spanish books, however three English books written about Spanish life etc which I have read recently which I became engrossed in and really liked were, two Chris Stewart books, Driving Over Lemons and A Parrott In The Pepper Tree, and a book by Polly Evans called It's Not About The Tapas. All a good read and hugely enjoyable. Someone gave me Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens recently, translated into Spanish and I keep having a go at that, but to be honest its a bit of a heavy read and I need something smaller and more entertaining.

timg 13th April 2006 11:43 AM

I got La Luz Fantástica (The Light Fantastic) by Terry Pratchett from Grant and Cutler in London. Fairly light. Also got Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal (but I think I got that one in Madrid). Having seen the movie (in English of course) the book was easier to read (haven't read any of the harry potters in English).

Ben 13th April 2006 10:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lumpsuckerpig
I realise that this bit of the forum is really only for Spanish books,...

Don't worry, it's definitely about English books too. I prefered the first Chris Stewart book, Driving over Lemons', to the second, and definitely second the recommendation of Brenan's 'South from Granada'.

mark.n 14th April 2006 12:58 AM

Hola my favourite books are Death in the afternoon and Driving over lemons. I can't remember the number of times i have tried to read Don Quijote. On films The Motorcycle Diaries not spanish but was the first film i watch in spanish in spain so hope counts thanks

amp 14th April 2006 08:22 AM

Lucia y el Sexo was memorable, but my favourite films would be Tesis and La Luz Prodigiosa. And books? The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Ibanez) was fantastic, anything by Manuel Vazquez Montalban is worth reading, while the poetry and short stories of Jorge Luis Borges are a good challenge. (sorry, no accents)

Ben 14th April 2006 08:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mark.n
I can't remember the number of times i have tried to read Don Quijote.

Am I the only one that has ever made it to the end of DQ? (In English of course :) ) Edit: I have to admit, it was hard work....

amp 14th April 2006 08:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ben
Am I the only one that has ever made it to the end of DQ? (In English of course :) ) Edit: I have to admit, it was hard work....

No, I read it (in English also). I loved it. Pure escapism, like living in Spain was for me ....

guapo 14th April 2006 09:33 PM

well some English books that I really enjoyed were "Barcelona" by Robert Hughes and the biography "Gaudi" by Gijs Van Hensbergen.

The biography of Franco by Paul Preston is also a great way into recent Spanish history and not as heavy going as it may sound.

For books in spanish, but not necessarily from Spain, I have just read "Mi pais inventado" by Isabel Allende and would highly recommend her books, particularly if you are learning spanish as they are fairly easy to read.

For great Spanish films, I would also mention "Y tu mama tambien" and if you are a Penelope Cruz fan - "Belle Epoque".

amp 16th April 2006 02:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by guapo

For great Spanish films, I would also mention "Y tu mama tambien" and if you are a Penelope Cruz fan - "Belle Epoque".

Si, Y tu Mama Tambien es buena, pero es de Mexico ....

Polly 2nd May 2006 10:01 PM

I've read shorter excerpts of DQ in English, (and of course seen many film and television incarnations) but hope to tackle it for real someday soon.

I do tend to rent numerous Spanish-made, Spanish language (Latin America etc.) and bi-lingual films from Netflix these days.
My recent list of Picks & Pans include:

Picks

Todo Sobre mi madre / About My Mother (1999)
(Spanish w/English subtitles)
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Starring: Cecila Roth, Penelope Cruz
Set in: Madrid / Barcelona
A woman in crises after the accidental death of her teenage son, returns to the scene of her secret past in Barcelona to find the boy's father.

Before Night Falls, (2000)
(bi-lingual w/ Spanish and English subtitles)
Director: Julian Schnabel
Starring: Javier Bardem
Set in: Cuba / New York City
Depicts the life Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas and his trials
for living openly as a homosexual under Castro's regime.

Hijo de la novia / Son of the Bride (2001)
(Spanish w/ English subtitles)
Director: Juan Jose Campanella
Starring: Ricardo Darin, Hector Altreo, & Norma Aleandro
Set in: Buenos Aires (Argentina)
A divorced restaurant owner in Buenos Aires has a mid-life meltdown:
Trying to live up to his father's image, guilty over his mother with Alzheimer's disease, raising a daughter, and fighting off those who want to run him out of business.

Maria, llena eres de gracia / Maria, Full of Grace (2004)
(bilingual w/ English & Spanish subtitiles)
Director: Joshua Martson
Starring: Catalina Sandino Moreno
Set in: Columbia & New Jersey (US)
A pregnant Colombian teenager becomes a drug mule to make some desperately needed money for her family.

A Day Without A Mexican (2004)
(English w/ Spanish and Spanish subtitiles)
Director: Sergio Arau
Starring: a cast of (mostly) unknowns
Set in: California/USA
One day California wakes up and not a single Latino is left in the state. They have all inexplicably dissappeared, chaos, economic hardship,tragedy, and comedy quickly ensue: Shot as a "Mock-u-Mentary"
Particularly relevent as the US Immigration laws come under tough scrutiny and the "Day Without An Immigrant" protests heat up across the United States.


Pans
Entre Tinieblax / Dark Habits (1983)
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Starring: Julieta Serrano &Cristina Pascua
Set in: Madrid (I think)
*Seriously horrible. Like a carwreck: so bad, I couldn't look away. You know the kind of film that - the worse it is, the more cult status it must enjoy?
I think the US/ Whoopi Goldberg musical "Sister Act" was loosely based on the plot of this film.

Otro lado de la cama / The Other Side of the Bed (2002)

(Spanish / English subtititles)
Director: Emilio Martinez Lazaro
Starring: Paz Vega, Ernesto Alterio, Guillermo Toledo, Natalia Verbeke...
Set in: Somewhere in Spain - Barcelona? I'm not sure...
Paula is having an affair with Javier. Pedro tries to find who is the secret lover of Paula. Meanwhile, while comforting Pedro, Sonia has one night stand with him and Javier thinks she is cheating him with her lesbian friend Lucia.
* I KNOW this was a very popular film in Spain -- but the pop music/musical genre just does nothing for me, personally. Plus I thought it was a fairly tired plotline. Still a few scenes DID make me smile. Anybody know how the sequel did?




cubix 2nd May 2006 10:39 PM

Were reading part of DQ for the next few weeks and watching the video in class, since our AP exam is over....

I hope it will be interesting

timg 3rd May 2006 08:42 AM

Is no-one reading DQ in Spanish? It's like reading Shakespearean English, but still enjoyable (though needs more concentration than my normal bedtime reading fare).

cubix 4th May 2006 03:55 AM

I;m reading part of it in spanish, well now I am not so sure... We got a bio on cervantes(sp?) and a packet where we havce to research conditions in medievil history..

Sweet..

cubix 5th May 2006 03:52 AM

Ben,

I just picked up a copy of Motorcycle Diaries, the book version. I will hopefully get to start it this weekend...Have you read the book?

Greg

Ben 5th May 2006 06:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cubix
Ben,

I just picked up a copy of Motorcycle Diaries, the book version. I will hopefully get to start it this weekend...Have you read the book?

Greg

In English I'm afraid... great book though!

Marbella 6th May 2006 01:31 PM

Don Quixote etc.
 
I'd recommend listening to this BBC radio programme on Don Quixote although I found the English pronunciation of "Quixote" irritating (as in the English "quixotic", "kwiks-ot-ik"):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/...20060316.shtml

Film favourites? Nothing surpasses Almodovar's Hable con Ella (Talk to Her). The soundtrack is perfect and Javier Camara as Benigno is just a brilliant performance. Like most Spanish films, particularly Almodovar's, there is a surreal aspect and this just adds to the genius of the film. Love this film and you will [or already do] love Spain.

Andrew

ValenciaSon 6th May 2006 01:44 PM

I've only seen Almodovar's "Tie me up Tie me down". I have been deficient in seeking out film from Spain.

deleste 30th May 2006 09:15 PM

Book - Homage To Catalonia
Films - The Devil's Backbone, Land and Freedom (albeit not a spanish film, I suppose)

Bit of a Guerra Civil theme for me.

Marbella 3rd June 2006 09:53 PM

Camilo José Cela: Journey to the Alcarria
 
I rediscovered this today and it is such a lovely book. I´ve only the English translation and I must get a copy in Spanish soon. If you´d like to get a feel of Spanish life (Madrid and then the Alcarria) 60 years ago then you´ll enjoy this. Like all the best books about Spain, it´s not so much about the area and the landscape but about the people.

I reread the first couple of chapters today and I still like the description of his early morning walk to the station (Atocha) at the start of the journey. From his house in Madrid, along by the Retiro to Alcalá, Cibeles, Paseo del Prado...

I particularly like this line:

"The traveler (Cela) has his own philosophy of walking; he believes that everything that comes along is always the best thing that could happen."

Edith 3rd June 2006 10:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by guapo
I have just read "Mi pais inventado" by Isabel Allende and would highly recommend her books, particularly if you are learning spanish as they are fairly easy to read.

True! I have read all of Isabel Allende's books in Spanish, including her children's books and the autobiography you mentioned. A couple of months ago I read 'Ciudad de los prodigios' by Eduardo Mendoza, and it proved to be a much tougher read. Right now I am reading 'La guerra del fin del mundo' by Mario Vargas Llosa.

Favorite book about Spain: Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
Favorite Spanish movie: Mar adentro

I have also read Iberia by James Michener but I didn't really like the book because he spent too much time writing about how much he liked bullfights. Just like Hemingway. :'(

Ben 4th June 2006 09:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Edith
Favorite book about Spain: Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

Mine too, top of the list!:)

Edith 4th June 2006 09:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ben
Mine too, top of the list!:)

What a coincidence! :) I really liked the book because Orwell debunks lots of myths about warfare in general.

neskadebilbao 5th June 2006 07:39 PM

I just finished a Quijote class last semester...in Spanish..both volumes. Not exactly the most exciting book, but I am proud to sad that I accomplished that.

I enjoyed the play "Historia de una escalera" by Vallejo. If anyone watches Aquí no hay quien viva you will be able to relate.

"Todos nacemos vascos" is also funny and gives you a look at Basque humor.

Although I have yet to read it, I heard ¨La sombra del viento¨ is a good one too.

celia s 5th June 2006 10:02 PM

Best book
 
'Barcelona',by Robert Hughes;a very extensive discussion of Barcelona's culture and history.
I have just ordered a copy of 'Goya',by the same artist.
Can anyone recommend any Spanish audio books?

guapo 5th June 2006 10:16 PM

The Goya book by Robert Hughes is also a great read, especially if you get the chance to visit Madrid and go see some of the paintings in the Prado. Explains a lot of the history behind events like "El Dos de Mayo".

neskadebilbao 7th June 2006 06:29 PM

I was just curious to know if anyone has seen "Princesas" and what their opinion was of it. Also, does anyone know where it was filmed?

And apart from that I wanted to know if anyone knew of some good Spanish television series apart from Cuéntame como pasó and Aquí no hay quien viva that are available for purchase.

Netsirksmada 7th June 2006 10:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ValenciaSon
I've only seen Almodovar's "Tie me up Tie me down". I have been deficient in seeking out film from Spain.

Matador isn't bad

Netsirksmada 7th June 2006 10:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by neskadebilbao
I was just curious to know if anyone has seen "Princesas" and what their opinion was of it. Also, does anyone know where it was filmed?

And apart from that I wanted to know if anyone knew of some good Spanish television series apart from Cuéntame como pasó and Aquí no hay quien viva that are available for purchase.

I've heard of that, I think it's playing at the Seattle International Film Festival in fact...

Ben 7th June 2006 11:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by neskadebilbao
...apart from that I wanted to know if anyone knew of some good Spanish television series apart from Cuéntame como pasó and Aquí no hay quien viva that are available for purchase.

Unfortunately, "good Spanish television series" is a bit of a contradiction in terms!

Brian 8th June 2006 12:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ben
Unfortunately, "good Spanish television series" is a bit of a contradiction in terms!

Looking at Canal 5, it appears that much of the programming is poorly-translated American tripe.

ValenciaSon 8th June 2006 01:08 PM

After all these years, why can't they make a good tv series in Spain? There's no shortage of talent or creativity. Is spanish tv overly dependent on foreign programs?

Edith 8th June 2006 07:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ValenciaSon
After all these years, why can't they make a good tv series in Spain? There's no shortage of talent or creativity. Is spanish tv overly dependent on foreign programs?

Thank goodness for Cuéntame cómo pasó. I'm still enjoying the DVDs! I'd like to see more, though - right now, nothing beats the BBC or PBS.

José Miguel 24th January 2007 11:39 AM

PENINSULAR WAR
 
Sobre la guerra que los españoles llaman "de la Independencia" y los británicos "Peninsular War" ha aparecido el libro "La Guerra de la Independencia vista por los británicos (1808-1814)" que contiene muchos y variados testimonios sobre las gentes y tierras que vieron los militares británicos que lucharon en España contra Napoleón.

Dilano 24th January 2007 07:40 PM

There is a series of detective novels set in Seville which are a cracking read. Although the writer's English, he has a great sense of location and the main character, the superbly named Javier Falcon, is your classic melancholy detective. Three have been written so far: The Silent and the Damned, The Blind man of Seville and The Hidden Assassins.

A wonderful book for anyone wanting to get under the skin of modern Spain and the changes that have occured since the Civil war is The Ghosts of Spain by Giles Tremlett, the Madrid correspondant for the Guardian. It's a really iluminating read and really unveils the contradictions in Spanish society.

Most of the great modern Spanish films have already been mentioned, but five years ago I saw a movie called Nadie conoce a nadie with Eduardo Noriega. It's a superb piece of paranoid cinema set in Seville during La Semana Santa.

Finally, about twenty or so years ago, there was a strike on BBC or ITV one saturday evening. I was about 10 and was allowed to stay up for Match of the Day or whatever. Instead, we sat transfixed for 40 minutes watching an utterly terrifying, almost silent 1970's Spanish movie called La Cabina, about a man trapped in a telephone box. I had almost forgotten about it when I read about how a whole generation of British kids had been utterly freaked out by that movie. My brother managed to download a copy from YouTube and it's still one of the most disturbing movies I've ever seen not least for the lead actor's moustache and 70's flared beige trousers!

eldeano 24th January 2007 08:54 PM

I was invited for tea (to meet the husband) by a madrileña and after the initial introductions we sat down to watch his favourite film which he just had to show me. It was in black and white and showed a man becoming converted into an ETA member and then being involved in the assassination of Carrero Blanco. I struggled to keep up with it at times but it was worth it in the end. The other two fell asleep! :zzzzz's:

Grateful for the title of this if anyone knows.

junknira 25th January 2007 06:12 AM

booksnfilms
 
reading 'the stone raft' by saramago, also liked homage to catalonia

i guess Vacas is my favorite, tho bunuel's land w/out bread is up there


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