Did you know that of the four skills that you need to know a language (speaking, listening, reading, and writing), listening is both the hardest to learn and the least covered in traditional classes? One of the best ways to practice listening is by watching movies in the language you are learning. Here are our picks for the best holiday movies streaming online now in the languages we teach! And don’t forget to sign up for our next round of classes, starting in January (PS we also sell giftcards for classes if you are looking for the perfect gift!).
Live Flesh (Carne Trémula)
Pedro Almodóvar (1997, Spain), Amazon
This excellent lesser-known Almodóvar movie is framed by two very different Christmases in Madrid. It opens on Christmas 1970, in the depths of the Franco dictatorship. The state has declared a state of emergency and suspended civil rights, but a prostitute played by a young Penélope Cruz is in labor and is trying to get to the hospital. By the end of the movie, Christmas 1996, the dictatorship has ended, the baby is a man, and Spain is a democracy. In between, you’ll find all the zany characters, convoluted plot twists, and very family unfriendly fun you’d expect from 90s Almodóvar.
Merry Christmas (Joyeux Noël)
Christian Carion (2005, France), Amazon
This historical drama tells the true story of the Christmas truce of 1914. After six months of bitter trench warfare, the combatants in World War I organized an unofficial truce for Christmas Eve. Contradicting the orders of their superiors and questioning the purpose of the war, German, French, and Scottish soldiers came together for one day to try to forget that they were fighting and killing each other.
5 Star Christmas (Natale a 5 stelle)
Marco Risi (2018, Italy), Netflix
A satirical comedy about European politics today. The Italian Prime Minister visits Budapest over Christmas on official diplomatic business. Almost immediately, he becomes embroiled in scandal when he and his mistress find a dead body in his suite. Hijinks ensue as they try to disentangle themselves from the web of intrigue…
The Last Hangover (Especial de Natal: Se Beber, Não Ceie)
Rodrigo Van Der Put (2018, Brazil), Netflix
Beloved Brazilian comedy troupe Porta dos Fundos released this irreverent Christmas comedy special in 2018. In a parody of The Hangover, Jesus’ disciples wake up the morning after the Last Supper with no recollection of what happened the night before and must piece together what happened. For fans of Monty Python and SNL! And if you like it, 2019’s follow-up special has just been released…
Right Here Right Now (So was von da)
Jakob Lass (2018, Germany), Netflix
It’s New Years Eve in Hamburg. Oskar, the owner of a failing night club, is throwing one last party. Unfortunately, if he wants to see the new year, he needs to collect 10,000 euros for his underworld connections in the process. A fast-paced, modern thriller for fans of Run Lola Run.