If your 2019 resolution is to learn a new language, we are excited to help you on your journey! Here are a selection of documentaries in each language we teach, currently streaming online, that will help you get enthused. Once you’ve built up that enthusiasm, sign up for one of our classes, beginning the week of January 8.

 

French

La Danse

Frederick Wiseman (2009, France), Kanopy

Did you dream of being a ballerina when you grew up? If you did, this is the perfect documentary for you: a stunning display of glamour at the Paris Opera Ballet, and then a strong dose of reality in the form of the real challenges of life as a dancer. Order some more greasy take-out, get comfy on that couch, and live in the dream for two hours, with the knowledge that some dreams may be better off as dreams…n’est-ce pas?

 

German

Little Dieter Needs to Fly

Werner Herzog (1998, Germany), Netflix

Werner Herzog, one of the greatest living documentarians, captures his typical world of insane characters, bizarre stories, and mixture of bleakness and awe. Dieter, the subject, was a German-American fighter pilot who fought for the US and was captured in Vietnam. In this film, he travels with Herzog to the scene of his capture and recreates some of his experiences. If you have never seen a Herzog film, this is a great place to start!

 

Italian

Hotel Splendid

Mauro Bucci (2016, Italy), Kanopy

This documentary tells an incredible story of adaptation. A group of refugees fleeing from violence in Africa arrive in an Italian tourist town, where they begin living and working in a hotel that has been turned into a make-shift refugee camp. Getting beyond many of the stereotypes of Italian culture and the refugee crisis, both a timely and very entertaining movie.

 

Portuguese

Volta à Terra

João Pedro Plácido (2014, Portugal), Kanopy

A beautiful look at a disappearing life. A small group of farmers in the northern mountains of Portugal still practice subsistence farming as it has been practiced in Europe for hundreds of years. Through four seasons, we follow the people who are committed to this way of life, which is filled with aching hardships but provides a connection to tradition and nature that is gone for most modern people.

 

Spanish

To Be a Miss

Edward Ellis, Flor Salcedo, Aaron Woolf (2016, Venezuela), Netflix

Have you ever noticed how many Miss Universes, and international beauty queens in general, hail from Venezuela? This documentary tells the surprising story of how this impoverished and politically volatile nation has made an industry out of making women into beauty queens. We follow three young women as they join what one commentator describes as a “cult” of beauty competition.