Hotels+with+a+View+in+LisbonThere are many different and nice ways of language learning and some of my favourites are watching movies and TV series since the actors have to speak clearly and you can learn some idioms and words out of the context while following the plot. First, you can go with subtitles, but the more advanced you get, the less you need them.

Whenever I tell someone that I’ve never been to Portugal, I’m told that I have to go, especially to Lisbon, to see its small atmospheric lanes, trams, old buildings, generally to feel its ambience. So far I’ve been admiring Lisbon only on movies but I’m going to change it this autumn. Two films, though, have caught my attention and have a distinctive place in my heart.

Lisbon Story

I remember this one vaguely; I had to watch it again before I started to write as I didn’t remember the plot at all – the only thing left in my mind after watching it a few years ago were gorgeous cityscapes and the music played by Portuguese band called Madredeus. The entire, three ­minutes long movie trailer is based on their song Alfama where we can see the beautiful woman singing in a tram, interchangeably with picturesque photos of Lisbon. The story directed by Wim Wenders is quite simple: a director Friedrich Monroe struggles with finishing his movie about Lisbon and asks his friend, Phillip Winter to help him. He arrives, finds Monroe missing, so he wanders around the city looking for his friend, love and inspiration. Then the two friends meet… The film plays on our senses, showing its beauty in pictures and sound. I think the movie now can feel a bit “old school” as it was done in ‘94 but I think it’s worth to see and judge it for yourself. I saw some reviews saying that Lisbon is not shown correctly, that it’s romanticised and it’s homeliness is a bit exaggerated. I don’t know yet; I’ll see in November.

The Night Train to Lisbon

Have you ever wanted to drop everything and do something crazy at least once in your life? That’s the story of the main protagonist of The Night Train to Lisbon based on a book with the same title. The teacher with a boring life, played by Jeremy Irons, sees a woman trying to commit suicide on his way to work. After saving her, he finds a book of Portuguese author Amadeu the Prado where he finds a ticket to the night train to Lisbon. At first he hesitates, but then he jumps into that train to discover a history of Salazar dictature and a tragic love story. Passion, love, rebellion, betrayal – this movie shows all shades of many different feelings and stories, unveiling the dark side of Portuguese history. Although the pace is pretty slow, the movie holds in suspense, making the viewer wondering what part of the story Raimond Gregorius will discover next.

It’s hard to say more without revealing the plot so I highly recommend you to watch this one as well and see if you’ll like it as much as I did and, as an addition, to learn Portuguese.

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