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Students learn Spanish with horror

Veronica Orozco
News Editor

Students gathered in the Arts and Communications Building Wednesday afternoon for the continuation of the Language and Cinema film series presented by the department of modern languages.

This week’s movie, “El Orfanato,” is a 2007 Spanish psychological thriller directed by Juan Antonio Bayona.

The movie began by showing young children in an orphanage and a call being received by one of the caretakers informing her that one of the girls, Laura, had been adopted.

The movie then fast-forwards 30 years to Laura’s return to the now dilapidated orphanage of her past, that she had recently purchased with her husband Carlos and their 7-year-old adopted son Simon.

After Simon goes missing, his mother does everything in her power to ensure his return, even if she has to play scavenger hunt with the spirits of six murdered orphans.

Some parts in the movie were gruesome, but it had a good balance of how the disturbing images were shown to not overwhelm viewers.

“It was such a thriller and those kids were creepy,” Jose Perez-Gonzalez, modern languages instructor, said.

Nearing the end, students watching the movie began whispering and jumping.

“I tried to think of a Spanish film that was not so old and that students could relate to without getting tired if they had to read the subtitles,” Josue Alvarez-Conejos, part-time Spanish professor, said.

“It gives students something to do other then be in their room watching television or just doing homework,” Alvarez-Conejos said.

The purpose of the film series is to show students different types of film from around the world that highlight language and cultural differences.

“It is a great opportunity for students to observe different styles of drama and filming,” Perez-Gonzalez, said.

For the month leading up to Halloween, the series has focused on horror films from Spain.

“I have more trouble understanding it because I am a native speaker from Mexico and not Spain,” junior accounting major Alejandra Padilla said.

“I encourage my students to come and look for words that we may have learned in class and also learn to point out the different tones in accents from other countries,” Perez-Gonzalez said.

“I like how at the end (Alvarez-Conejos) shows the trailer for the next movie,” Padilla said.

She also said that she liked how the movie genres flow and connect from week to week.

The next movie will be “Julia’s Eyes,” a 2010 Spanish horror and psychological thriller, showing at 4 p.m. Wednesday in ACB room 212.

Veronica Orozco can be reached at

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