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Lessons through the language of love

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Kristina Bugante
Staff Writer

The modern languages department premiered the movie-musical comedy “El otro lado de la cama” Feb. 14 in the President’s Dining Room.

The screening was a part of the movie series titled “Amor,” in which the modern languages department’s Foreign Language Enhancement Activities, or FLEA, screened a series of foreign films with “love” as the main theme.

“We want to promote and enhance the learning and distribution of foreign languages on campus,” said part-time Spanish professor Josue Alvarez-Conejos.

Alvarez-Conejos said watching foreign films can help all kinds of students – international, ESL and even native English speakers – overcome any shyness or fear they have while learning a language by making them familiar with different languages.

Screening foreign films is not only for the benefit of students trying to learn a different language, but it can help native foreign speakers as well.

“I, myself, even take notes when I am watching these Spanish movies from other countries,” said modern languages professor Jose Perez-Gonzalez.

Perez-Gonzalez said he noticed a difference in vocabulary, especially since “El otro lado de la cama” originated in Spain.

Noticing these differences helps him relay them to students.

“There are various forms of expressing, not only the ones that we are used to here in Southern California,” Perez-Gonzalez said.

Since the movie was English subtitled, Perez-Gonzalez said watching foreign films can help students who are trying to improve their English.

Students read the subtitles and connected them with the characters’ actions.

They can also see how different sentence structures and phrases are used.

“It is bidirectional in all ways, not only in foreign languages,” Perez-Gonzalez said.

FLEA’s purpose is not only linguistic, but cultural as well.

“We were trying to show how love is not only those Julia Roberts movies,” Alvarez-Conejos said. “Every country has their own perspectives or their own way of showing these topics.”

“We want them to see all the different cultures and movies from different countries, where they can find all their perspectives in life,” he said.

Students at the screening concurred.

“It gives you a different perspective,” said sophomore psychology major Emilee Crumrine.

In “The Other Side of the Bed,” Pedro is devastated when his girlfriend, Paula, dumps him. He hires a private eye to track down her new lover.

As it turns out, Paula is having an affair with Pedro’s best friend, Javier. But Javier is too afraid to break up with his current girlfriend, Sonia.

Meanwhile, Javier suspects that Sonia is cheating on him with her lesbian friend, Lucia.

Catchy pop tunes and playful, yet sensual dance sequences accompany the characters’ tumultuous journey of sex, love, lies and betrayal.

“These problems are universal,” said sophomore political science and philosophy major Ryan Ramos.

“El otro lado de la cama” is a 2002 Spanish film directed by Emilio Martínez Lázaro and stars Ernesto Alterio, Paz Vega, Guillermo Toledo and Natalia Verbeke.

FLEA is a new organization that started at the beginning of this school year.

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