Medianeras (2011, Sidewalls) tells a story about two strangers who live opposite each other in the city of Buenos Aires. They both are fascinated by the same small things in life and are looking for what most people are looking for – love. Fun and touching storytelling combined with talented acting makes this movie a great one to watch.
Another fantastic Argentinian film, Relatos Salvajes (Wild Tales) takes the viewer through different moments of the lives of distressed people. One thing common to all these stories is the dark, tragicomic humor the movie became so famous for. If you enjoyed watching Fargo (1999) or In Bruges (2008), Wild Tales will be your top pick out of this list.
Two guys, one goal: make as much money with as little work (and as much cheating) as possible. Solution: A dark action-packed comedy with a twist; if this is what you enjoy, we have a winner and it’s 9 Queens.
Ocho apellidos Vascos – translated as Spanish Affair tells a love story between Andalusian-born Rafael and Amaia, a Basque girl whose roots are somewhat different from the relaxed southern type Rafael is used to. A fun movie that at the same time discusses some culturally interesting, relevant topics in today’s Spain.
When Benny gets deported back to Mexico after being gone for 20 years, he notices the rules of the game have changed. In order to survive, he decides to get involved with the narco business – the serious kind. What follows is exactly what can be expected: multiple explosions, fast Spanish dialogue, and lots of gunfire. If you’re not into action-packed comedies, move to the next title. But if you are, the entertainment value of El Narco is quite high.
Who would not enjoy yet another eccentric film by Pedro Almodóvar” With Penélope Cruz as a lead actress, Volver combines elements of painful memories and drama together with dark comedy and sarcastic dialogue. A great watch for movie lovers everywhere.
Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados, or ‘Living is easy with eyes closed,’ takes place in the Spain of the 1960s. Antonio, an English teacher fascinated by The Beatles, begins his journey to meet his lifelong idol John Lennon. When he ends picking up two strangers to accompany him on his adventure, all the ingredients for a warmhearted comedy-drama come together. The movie won six Goya awards in 2014 and was selected as the Spanish entry for the 87th Academy Awards, for good reason.
Mr.Kaplan (2014) takes place in Uruguay, where 76-year-old protagonist Jacob Kaplan is going through an existential crisis. Together with an ex-cop, he comes up with a plan to kidnap a suspicious German ‘nazi,’ in order to bring him to justice. The movie is as crazy as it sounds and if you’re looking for a light, funny comedy that you don’t have to think too much about, Mr.Kaplan is an excellent choice.
El Misterio de la Felicidad (2014, ‘The Mystery of Happiness’ in English) touches on topics that we can all relate to – our search for belonging, search for love and, finally, filling up a hole in our lives when someone important leaves us. Santiago’s search in order to find his missing business partner turns out to be something totally different from what he expected. While this movie might in some parts be slightly corny, it does leave a nice, feel-good atmosphere in the room by the time the credits start to roll.
Let us finish up the list with a classic: Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown (1988, original title: Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios). This film brought Pedro Almodóvar much international fame and attention – for a valid reason. This dark comedy is ‘A romance, but not about love. A comedy, but not everybody is laughing.’ A comedy that every Almodóvar fan, or in general, a dark comedy lover, should watch at least once.