Watch movies in Spanish and read the local paper. This is the mantra of practically everyone here who has learned the language, and I think it’s good advice. This morning I woke up too late to get the paper, so I decided to try out a (non-children’s) movie at the theater up the street.
You see a title like “El Primer Día del Resto de Nuestras Vidas” and you assume it’s Spanish or Latin American film, no? No. French. It was a French film, but with Spanish subtitles (and a translated title). This may actually have been a good thing, considering I read Spanish better than I hear it, but things would have gone a lot better if a.) they had left each subtitle up about seven or eight times longer, and b.) they kept the lights on so I could use my Spanish-English dictionary. Just the same, I actually enjoyed it, and I think it was good practice—though of course in my head now I’m hearing French, but I can’t speak that either, so I’m assuming that can’t hurt.
The whole thing felt a little like watching a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book on film, since I couldn’t figure out exactly what was going on. I know it was about a dysfunctional family, where the matriarch is ill and needs some sort of organ donation from within her family. It’s Christmas. One brother is an alcoholic, one is in love with his brother’s wife (or girlfriend?), and the sister cries a lot and may have had a slight hairlip. The hazier details include the possibility that the grandson either tried to kill his mom or is in love with his uncle (or neither), and that the mother is an anti-Semite—though to be honest I’m basing that last suggestion on one short, seemingly hostile exchange she had with a girl in Jewish star necklace, so don’t spread it around.
It was good. You should totally see it.