In celebration for being in Spain, I am doing the weekly picks part with things that are Spanish ( for the most part…) Here are some interesting books, films and series and sites in Spain.
Most interesting non fiction book : The Ghost of Spain
I have mentioned this before but this book is a historical book/ travel narrative which provides an enlightening perspective about Spain torrid history and it´s inability to talk about the pain of Franco and the civil war and the regionalism which permeates the country.
Book Recommendation : Shadow in the Wind by Carlos Luis Zafron
This magic realism book is set in post civil war spain where Daniel is taken to the cemetary of Forgotten Books where a small group protects the forgotten and eroded books. He picks one book, shadow in the wind by Julian Carax. This book has been systematically burnt by one man, a scary scarred burn victim who seems to buy all the books he can find. The book evolves of a story within a story of Daniel´s story and the story of Shadows in the wind. An incredibly complex book which gives the bleak feeling of the pain left over from the civil war.
Best film : Laverinto del fauno
( Pan’s Labyrinth) I am sure many of you have probably seen this film, but I would recommend giving it a second look. Sure, the director is Mexican but the film takes place in Spain. ( On a sidenote, while here in Spain I cannot even bribe my friends to go to a spanish film… i kid you not)
Best horror film : The Orphanage
This film is not what it seems at first glance. It is a horror film , true , but it speaks on our fear of the unknown. The main character buys up her old orphanage with her husband and adopted son. However, the orphanage has skeletons in the closet… literally. THere are more things than meets the eye and odd things start to happen. Her son subsequently goes missing and most of the film is spent on a desperate search to find him.
Most recent film : Biutiful
Javier Bardem is psychic. He can speak to the dead, but most of this is almost completely irrelevant to the harsh reality he has to live in an impoverished sector of Madrid. Gone are the glamorous winding streets, the cafes and the Hollywood version of this city. Instead, you find the harsh and grimy reality of a city bogged down by unemployment and poverty. We see through his eyes the unfortunate lives of African and chinese immigrants. He is a man struggling to keep afloat for the sake of his two children, but does not have much means to do so. It is , as he says, ugly and beautiful at the same time.
Most recommendable thing to do in Madrid : Get Lost.
Seriously, go rambling around the curved streets of Madrid and you will find a secret surprise. Go eat at a local bar and see what you can find. You can sleep in the park in the Retiro, or roam the barrio La Latina. In some ways, the best bet is to not plan anything at all.