Going to the Movies in Spanish: A Vocabulary Guide
Do you love watching movies in Spanish? Bring your language knowledge to a whole new level with this movie vocabulary guide! Every word here plays an essential role in the producing, making, editing, advertising, and selling of películas (films).
Movies are made to tell a story. And the people behind them use many different resources to create atmospheres. The objective is to produce a multi-sensorial experience for the viewer.
In this lesson, you will find the most important elements of a movie in Spanish (physical and intangible), genres, and the job position names of the key players.
What’s more, I include sections about what happens at the set, technical sheets, and a guide on how to give and ask opinions about the films you watch!
Let’s watch this!
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Elements of a Movie in Spanish
When you watch a movie in Spanish, think:
- Through whose eyes is the story told?
- Is it narrated from a first, second or third person point of view?
- Is the structure chronological?
- Or are there different timelines happening simultaneously?
And the most important one: why are these questions crucial? Well because they define the feeling and experience you will get when watching the film. All these elements combine to create an atmosphere and tell a story in a specific, intended way.
Most stories have a beginning, a body and an end. A conflict, a climax and a resolution. There is a main plot and the setting is clear. But it isn’t a rule. Movie makers use their creativity and freedom to produce something memorable. So, many things can happen: several plots in a parallel way, multiple timelines, stories without an end, or unclear time and location.
Read ahead to find all these elements of a movie in Spanish!
Narration – La Narración
- Narrator – El narrador (male), la narradora (female)
- Off-screen – Fuera de pantalla, fuera de cuadro
- Point of View – El punto de vista (singular), los puntos de vista (plural)
- First person – En primera persona
- Second person – En segunda persona
- Third person – En tercera persona
Structure – La Estructura
- Scenes – Las escenas
- Plot – La trama
- Linear – Linear
- Chronological – Cronológico (male), cronológica (female)
- Chronology – La cronología
- Flashbacks – Los recuerdos, las memorias
- Timeline – La línea del tiempo
- Parallel – Paralelo (male), paralela (female)
- Beginning – El inicio
- Body – El cuerpo
- End – El fin
- Climax – El clímax
- Resolution – La resolución
- Conflict – El conflicto
Setting (When and Where)
- Present – El presente
- Past – El pasado
- Future – El futuro
- Weather – El clima
- Geography – La geografía
- City – La ciudad
- Country – El país
- Town – El pueblo
- Time – El tiempo
- Place – El lugar
- Space – El espacio
- Planet – El planeta
Other Elements – Otros Elementos
- Cast – El elenco
- Characters – Los personajes
- Theme – El tema
- Idea – La idea
- Symbology – La simbología
- Symbolisms – Los simbolismos
- Symbols – Los símbolos
- Images – Las imágenes
- Objects – Los objetos
- Colors – Los colores
- Literal meaning – El significado literal, el sentido literal
- Figurative meaning – El significado figurativo, el sentido figurativo
Symbology or Symbolism?
This movie vocabulary goes beyond simple Spanish vocabulary! Here you can learn certain tools and philosophies you can use to critique movies and understand them on a deeper level.
- Symbology (la simbología) is the study and the use of material things that act as symbols representing an object, idea, or relationship.
- Symbolism (el simbolismo) is a literary device whereby (in this case) movies use symbols to represent an object, idea, or relationship in specific scenes or as a theme throughout.
For example, you may have noticed that certain symbols such as the color blue, water, or clear skies seem to appear when an innocent female lead does.
- La simbología is the strategic usage of the color blue, the water, or reference to the sky
- El simbolismo behind it represents the idea of innocence
On the Set – En el plató
The lighting, music, sound effects, and camera angles are key factors that intend to communicate a clear message.
The light and sounds help the audience focus its attention on the main scenes, characters, moments, and places. Meanwhile the angles and shots taken with the camera generate a sense of unity and identity attached to the story. Remember that next time you watch a movie in Spanish!
PRO TIP! Although the correct Spanish word for set is el plató, it’s fairly common to use the word “set” instead.
- Screenplay – El guión
- Story – La historia
- Narrative – La narrativa
- Lighting – La iluminación
- Lighting Effects – Los efectos de iluminación
- Filters – Los filtros
- Camera – La cámara
- Angles – Los ángulos
- Shots – Las tomas
- Close-up – El acercamiento
- Shooting – La filmación
Technical Sheet – La ficha técnica
If you are more into the technical parts of the movies in Spanish, this section is for you! Movie reviews take into account all this data that is also useful to catalog films. This movie vocabulary section has few but very important words.
- Title – El título
- Year – El año
- Nationality – La nacionalidad
- Name of the Director – El nombre del director
- Name of the Actors – El nombre de los actores
- Awards – Los premios
- Nominations – Las nominaciones
- Genre – El género
Physical Elements of a Movie in Spanish
Some of these next movie vocabulary words are synonyms. Learning them will enrich your Spanish knowledge. They are very simple and commonly used.
- Cinema – El cine
- Movie theatre – La sala de cine (singular), las salas de cine (plural), el cine
- Film – El filme
- Movie – La película
- Motion picture – La película
- Feature film – El largometraje
- Short film – El cortometraje
- Tape – La cinta
- Filming – El rodaje
- Projection – La proyección
- Screen – La pantalla
- Seat – El asiento (singular), los asientos (plural)
You don’t know the genre of a film? Don’t worry! Just watch the movie trailer, they tend to be very clear in this matter using all the resources we learned above.
Here are some of the main géneros (genres):
- Comedy – La comedia
- Horror – El terror
- Science Fiction – La ciencia ficción
- Romantic – Romántico (male), romántica (female)
- Historical – Histórico (male), histórica (female)
- Thriller – El suspenso
- Adventure – La aventura
- Action – La acción
- Drama – El drama
As you can see, some English words have a male and female translation. You can use it both ways according to the gender of the noun.
See these examples:
Me gustó mucho la historia romántica.
I really liked the romantic story.
Me gustó mucho la película con tema romántico.
I really liked the movie with a romantic theme.
Quiero ver una pieza histórica.
I want to see a historic piece.
Quiero ver un filme histórico.
I want to see a historic film.
People of the Movie World
Of course, the most important part of making a movie is the people behind it, producing it and delivering a complete piece of art. These movie vocabulary in Spanish will help you understand the many roles needed to create a film.
- Actor – El actor
- Actress – La actriz
- Antagonist – El antagonista (male), la antagonista (female)
- Art Director – El director de arte (male), la directora de arte (female)
- Assistant Director – El asistente del director
- Audio Engineer – El ingeniero de audio
- Cameraman or videographer – El camarógrafo (male), la camarógrafa (female)
- Crew – El equipo
- Director – El director (male), la directora (female)
- Editor – El editor (male), la editora (female)
- Executive Producer – El productor ejecutivo (male), la productora ejecutiva (female)
- Location Manager – El gerente de locación
- Makeup Artist – El maquillista (male), la maquillista (female)
- Post-production department – El departamento de post producción
- Protagonist – El protagonista (male), la protagonista (female)
- Publicist – El publicista (male), la publicista (female)
- Role – El rol (singular), los roles (plural)
- Villain – El villano (male), la villana (female)
- Screenwriter – El guionista (male), la guionista (female)
- Script Supervisor – El supervisor de guión (male), la supervisora de guión (female)
- Set decorator – El decorador de set (male), la decoradora de set (female)
- Set designer – El diseñador de set or el escenógrafo (male), la diseñadora de set or la escenógrafa
- Sound Engineer – El ingeniero de sonido
- Special Effects Supervisor – El supervisor de efectos especiales
After the Shooting – Después de la Filmación
After a piece is filmed you would think the work is done, right? Wrong! It is barely starting! The people from the post-production department have to include and unify the sequences by using a soundtrack, creating patterns, a rhythm and a pace. All this will have an effect on the viewers.
Then, a movie trailer is made hoping to catch people’s attention to see the movie. After that, reviews and critics are released and if it is a good one, nominations and awards will come their way. If it collects enough money and public opinion consideration it may even get a sequel! Here is some movie vocabulary words used after the shooting:
- Soundtrack – La banda sonora
- Rhythm – El ritmo
- Patterns – Los patrones
- Pace – El paso
- Movie trailer – El trailer de la película, los cortos de películas
- Movie review – La reseña de la película
- Critic – La crítica
- Nomination – La nominación
- Award – El premio (singular), los premios (plural)
- Sequel – La secuela
How to Talk About Movies in Spanish
The best part about watching a movie in Spanish is being able to share opinions and favorite parts with someone else. Here are four examples of conversations you may have about your taste in movies and points of view so you can practice.
Persona 1: ¿Cuál fue tu parte favorita de la película?
Persona 2: La mejor parte fue cuando salvaron al gatito.
Person 1: What was your favorite part of the movie?
Person 2: The best part was when they saved the kitten.
Persona 1: Mi género favorito de película es terror, ¿a ti te gusta?
Persona 2: No me gustan las películas de terror, prefiero las románticas.
Person 1: My favorite movie genre is horror, do you like it?
Person 2: I don’t like horror movies, I prefer the romantic ones.
Persona 1: ¿De qué se trató la película?
Persona 2: Se trató de dos extraños que tratan de hacer todo lo que está en una lista de deseos.
Person 1: What was the movie about?
Person 2: It was about two strangers doing every item of a bucket list.
Persona 1: ¿Qué piensas de la película?
Persona 2: Me gustó mucho porque fue graciosa y amena.
Person 1: What do you think about the movie?
Person 2: I really liked it because it was funny and enjoyable.
Ideas to Practice This Movie Vocabulary Guide!
Here are some ideas for you to practice:
- Watch movie trailers in Spanish
- Go to your nearest movie theater and watch a movie in Spanish
- Organize a movie night at home and practice with a partner
- Talk to a native Spanish-speaker about all your interests, not only about movies!
Did you know that by learning Spanish you will be able to get a cool job and talk to more people? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities have increased by 46% in the last decade. Also, talk to the 41 million people that speak Spanish at their homes (CNN). Don’t miss out on this opportunity that will better your life socially and professionally!
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