100 Spanish-Language Cinema Artists and the Films that Inspired Them

Epiphany has passed and the Three Kings and their camels have come and gone, leaving gifts for children throughout Spain. This means the holiday season is drawing to a close here, although “Hasta San Antón, Pascuas son,” many here say, meaning the season really goes until January 17th, the day of Saint Antón. According to a friend’s grandmother, this means we still have one more week to polish off the leftover holiday sweets. (I’m still happily plugging away at my bar of creamy turrón de Jijona.)

Since early December, I have been baking (see last two posts), eating and making merry, all in the company of family and friends, which has been wonderful. But after all of this sensory stimulation, I feel the need to slow down. I long for quiet afternoons curled up under a blanket with a hot cup of tea and a good movie (and a slice or two of said turrón).

A decadent movie snack

I am always looking for movie recommendations, so was pleased to come across this article in the Sunday supplement of  the Spanish newspaper El País: Cien artistas del cine hispanoamericano eligen las 100 películas que cambiaron su vida (One Hundred Spanish-Language Cinema Artists Choose the 100 Movies that Changed Their Lives). That is no small endorsement for the films that made it on the list.

The participating artists come from throughout Spain and Latin America and include internationally recognized film directors and screenwriters like Pedro Almódovar (All About My Mother, Talk to her,…); Alejandro Amenábar (Agora,…); and Guillermo Arriaga (21 Grams, Babel,…). The list also includes well-known actors, like Mexico’s Gael García Bernal and Argentina’s Ricardo Darín. Yet the article is also a chance to discover Spanish-language cinema artists who are lesser-known on an international level.

And then there are the movies, of course. The online article has a link to a pdf file which lists each artist and his or her ten top films. There is also a condensed version, a tally of the 100 most influential movies according to the votes of all the artists combined.

Many American films figure on the list – in fact, four of the top five hail from the States, with The Godfather coming in at number one. It was because of this article that I recently saw Billy Wilder’s pitch-perfect comedy Some Like it Hot for the first time. (It just took a quick Google search to discover that this was the original English title for the number five film, listed in Spanish as Con faldas y a lo loco.)

The list of course includes many Spanish-language films, like the critically acclaimed Los Santos Inocentes, a searing look at village life in Spain in the 1960s. There is a good selection of other foreign films as well.

This should certainly get me through that bar of turrón. And perhaps change my life as well, or at least provide inspiring food for thought.


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