Sometimes, as IE University students, we leap over the essence of Spanish culture that envelops us; our (fortunately) international entourages deviate us from the roots and arts of where we live.

If you are a cinephile, and would love to indulge and learn more about Spanish culture, you’re in luck! Segovia’s Creativity Center, in collaboration with director and producer Alfonso Gargallo, is in the process of hosting numerous Spanish film-watching sessions in a face-to-face seminar for you to learn to love cinema, and certainly, love Spain!

All films will be viewed in their original language, Spanish, so don’t fret if you’re not fluent or can’t speak it as this is actually encouraged! Your aim should be to grasp the visuals that will build the image of Spain through honed cinematography over the decades.

I sat down with Gargallo to gain some more insight on this Spanish film, face-to-face seminar…

Q: Firstly, would you mind explaining a bit how this face-to-face seminar came to be?

A: The idea came up from a conversation with Carlos (manager of IE’s Creativity Center in Segovia). We thought about many activities and events that we could do with students from IE and I proposed a theme that has already been done in past years: a seminar on Spanish cinema. The best way to know Spain and Spanish culture is through cinema!

Q: How many sessions will there be? 

A: We are thinking of doing 12 sessions, in which we watch 12 of the most important Spanish films from every decade, starting from the 1950s. These Spanish films are very different to the ones you find in the United States or other countries.

Q: How did you select which films were to be shown?

A: It was a difficult task because there were many films to pick from each decade. For instance, we could have selected more than one hundred, but the selection was made in order to a complete vision of Spanish cinema by choosing a film from every decade to perceive the evolution of Spain. Each film was also directed by a different director, so that the attendants can get to know different types of filming and insights of Spanish reality. Also, many of the films selected represent different historical periods, like the Spanish Civil War, the contemporary times…

Q: Why do you define visuals as the ‘pure joy of cinema’?

A: Because I love cinema! And because I think that above all, cinema is a party and generates pure joy. When I go to the movies, the lights turn off and you can concentrate on the image; that’s bliss. Cinema to me is a very important part of life because I have learned a lot about life through cinema. 

Alfonso Gargallo

Q: What are some typical questions you will ask in order to ‘amplify the film experience’?

A: First of all, we will feel the film. Secondly, we will reflect on the feeling. We will ask ourselves “how was this film made?” and “how was this image constructed through cinematography, costumes, scripts…?”. We are going to think about image – we are surrounded by images, now more than ever, and we must be conscious of how this image builds a vision of the world. Behind this image there is a person with insight of the world – it is a construct, not reality.

Q: Would you mind sharing the list of films that will be shown? 

A: I prefer not to tell you… But I will tell you that we will be watching films by Almodóvar, Bigas Luna, Luis García Berlanga, José Luis Cuerda, Luis Buñuel…

Q: Is there any advice you can give so as to how to focus on certain visual elements?

A: I think the most important thing is to come with an open mind and spirit, with the conviction that we are going to have fun and learn a lot of things. The Spanish level of the spectators doesn’t matter. I will adapt to help them by translating words. The overall idea of this séance is to love cinema and love Spain! 

Don’t miss the second of twelve sessions tomorrow, Friday 11th November, at the Creativity Center from 18:00 to 19:30! The film to be watched is El Día de la Bestia (1995) by Alex de la Iglesia.

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