L'auberge Espagnole is a film by French writer and director Cedric Klapisch. It tells the story of Xavier, a French student who spends a year studying Economics in Barcelona via the Erasmus program. It follows his adventures of dealing with another culture, various affairs, and an apartment full of other students from all over Europe.
The movie itself doesn't have a straight forward plot or goal, which may confuse some people. Instead, it is more of a collection of scenes that show some of the stuff that Xavier and those around him deal with. Since life itself doesn't have a single plot, I found this setup to be more believable.
The movie itself doesn't have a straight forward plot or goal, which may confuse some people.
The name of the movie seems to cause confusion. It won an award at the 2002 Karlovy Vary Film Festival as "Euro-pudding", played in Spain as "Una Casa de Locos", in the UK as "Pot Luck" and in North America as "The Spanish Hotel" before finally settling on the title "L'auberge Espagnole", which is the Spanish version of the American title.
There are countless reviews of this 2002 movie, so I don't plan on doing a point by point review of its plots or events. Rather, I want to talk about why this movie is of interest to language learners and travelers. From the start, this is a French movie taking place largely in Spain, so both those languages are included. Xavier lives in an apartment with six other students, each from other countries, so add on English (British, not American), Catalan, Danish, German and Italian.
In regards to the other students, they are mostly stereotypes, which might upset a few people. I found the stereotypes to be funny and played off well against each other. One of the best scenes to show this is when Xavier is first interviewed to see if they will accept him as a new flatmate. You have the flatmates seated around the table, arguing over which questions they should be asking as well as explaining where they are from, while Xavier just looks on, thinking in his head (parts of the movie have him narrating in this fashion) how much he wants to be a part of them.
There are other scenes like this. One scene shows Wendy (the English woman) answering the phone in the apartment to find Xavier's mother on the other end. Not understanding French, Wendy checks the wall by the phone which has a chart on it, showing various phrases, grouped by language. The humour in this scene is her misunderstanding the French for "university" (faculté). This highlights the confusion that can happen in a multilingual environment, in which many language learners have probably found themselves in, by choice or accident.
Another scene showing the dynamics of the flatmates involves the refrigerator. They have divided the refrigerator into sections for each flatmate, and there is some friction when anyone puts something in the wrong place. A quick scene later shows the refrigerator now in total chaos, with just the narrative "The refrigerator sorted itself out".
One of the main discussions regarding languages involves the clash between Catalan and Spanish in Spain. The Erasmus students are frustrated that their professor insists on lecturing them in Catalan while they are still just learning Spanish. When they ask him to use Spanish, he tells them it would be unfair to the other students (although they speak both Spanish and Catalan), and says if they want to speak Spanish, go to Madrid or South America.
This follows up with a scene with Xavier and Isabelle (a woman from Belgian) talking to other students about identity, culture, and language. Isabelle later says it's a drag to be torn between two languages, and Xavier points out that Belgium has Flemish and Walloon, but Isabelle tells him that's not the same. She tells her she is Flemish, that she doesn't speak Walloon, and when she goes to Flanders, she tells them she is French so they speak French to her. Essentially, your own situation isn't strange.. just others.
There are numerous other scenes which show differences between the cultures and languages, so I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in either of those. It's also just a generally fun movie to watch.
|At The Cinema - L'auberge Espagnole|
|All images are copyright Fox Searchlight Pictures and the producers of the film.|
All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.
|Letter From The Editor - A New Parrot Time|
|The Rosetta Stone - Triple Cypher|
|Ferdinand de Saussure - Signs of Language|
|At the Cinema - L'auberge Espagnole|
|Languages in Peril - The Finno-Ugrics|
|Word on the Streets - The Russian Zone|
|Where Are You?|
|Celebrations - Day of the Dead|
|Revisited - Slang|
|We Are The Linguists|
|Language Learning Methods - Audio|
|Sections - Journals|
Find previous issues in the archives.
Letter From The Editor - No Politics • Make Your Own Language Group • A History of Research in Study Abroad • Parrot Time on Patreon • Languages in Peril - Sayonara, Ainu • At the Cinema - La Coppia dei Campioni • Where Are You? • Book Look - The Bible of the Language Learners and Polyglots • Basic Guide to Romanian • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Hope and Failing • Six Ways To Choose Which Languages To Learn • Learning Spanish - The trials, the tribulations and one triumphant learning hack • At the Cinema - The Last King (Birkebeinerne) • Celebrations - Birkebeinerrennet • Where Are You? • Book Look - Langenscheidt Dictionaries • Basic Guide to Swedish • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Culture and Language, Again • Learning A Language Is Learning Its Culture • Revisited - Early Bardic Literature in Ireland • Languages in Peril - Save Medan Hokkien! • In Others' Words - Ulrike and Peter Rettig • At the Cinema - Monster Hunt • Where Are You? • Book Look - Language Alter Ego • Basic Guide to Italian • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - A Kind Word • Language and Power: The Hidden Struggle • 4 Ways To Learn Through Reading • Language Learning is for everyone! • Languages in Peril - The Decline of Sicilian • At the Cinema - The Host • Where Are You? • Book Look - Italian Short Stories for Beginners • Basic Guide to Hungarian • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Making it Happen • Motivation - Expressing oneself and the expression of oneself in language learning • Motivation Killers in Learning a Language • Mixing Languages and Relationships • In Others' Words - Brian Powers • At the Cinema - Cutting Room Floor • Languages in Peril - Cyprus' Language Revival Approach Problem • Where Are You? • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - The Importance of Travel • Broadening The Mind Travels The World • The Secret Life of Diacritics • There Are No Wrong And Right Gestures, Only Cultural Differences • Google Translate Exposed: - The Truth Behind Everyone's Favorite Translator • At the Cinema - Queen • Book Look - The A to Z of Learning German • Where Are You? • Basic Guide to Papiamentu • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Free Things • The Cost of Free Language Resources • Review of Polyglot Workshops: Brazil • Easier Way to Learn Languages Fast • Dream, decide, do - tips from a polyglot • At the Cinema - Cambio de Ruta • Languages in Peril - Talysh • Where Are You? • App Rev - Tandem • Book Look - Language Master Key • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Studying in Summer • Polyglot Events All Around The World - You Are Not Alone • Playing Games with Language • Spanish E-training – The 'Big Bang' Investment • Can a Language Die? • At the Cinema - La Casa del Fin de los Tiempos • Languages in Peril - Scottish Gaelic • Words in Your Mouth - Apple • Celebrations - Nag Panchami • Where Are You? • Book Look - Fluency Made Achievable: The Fluent Guide to Core Language Skills • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Sounds Like • How Do You Say It? - A look at sound notation systems • Of Pidgins and Creoles - A look at how some languages are born • Who Are You To Learn A Language? • At the Cinema - Dil Chahta Hai • Languages in Peril - Yumans on the Edge • Words in Your Mouth - Egg • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - Breaking with Tradition • Are You Wasting Your Money on Language Classes? • Chatting in Languages Online - Part 2: Voice Chats • Why English Is Different Than Any Other Language • The Digital Language Collective • At the Cinema - Viva La Libertà • Languages in Peril - The Tribes of the Tamil-Kannada • Words in Your Mouth - Rice • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - Thirteen • Chatting in Languages Online - Part 1: Text Chats • Why Do People Learn Languages? • The Question Of Practice - An International Language Is Possible • At the Cinema - Chinese Puzzle • Celebrations - Fastelavn • Words in Your Mouth - Cheese • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - Over Time • Which Language Is...? • The Ultimate Fate of Language Learning • 5 Funny Words In Afrikaans From My Perspective • At the Cinema - Everybody's Famous! • Word on the Streets - Why Writers are Important • Words in Your Mouth - Milk • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - World Ambassadors • Coming Home to Faroese - The Why and How of Learning a Small Language • Danish and Faroese: A Biography • At the Cinema - Ludo • Basic Guide to Faroese • Celebrations - The Faroese Festival Summer • Revisted - The Faroe Islands • Word on the Streets - Famous Faroe Islanders • Where Are You? • The Grind: Why the Faroese Hunt Whales • The Legend of the Scottish Princess • Faroese Ballads - Nornagest Ríma and Ormurin Langi
Letter From The Editor - Expansion • Religion in Culture • Languages in Peril - Decline of the Gallo-Italics • Language Learning and Translation • Word on the Streets - Italian Greats • Book Look • At the Cinema - Xingu • Celebrations - Hangul Day • Where Are You? • Words in Your Mouth - Bread
Letter From The Editor - Tracing Words • Constructed Languages - Making It All Up • Language Conflicts - Flemish vs. Walloon • Rohonc Codex - Hungarian Enigma • At the Cinema - Il Comandante e la Cicogna - Garibaldi's Lovers • Where Are You? • Words in Your Mouth - Sausage • Book Look • GlobTech - Using Locale
Letter From The Editor - Globalization • Speaking with Aliens • Celebrations - Esala Perahera - The Festival of the Tooth • Language Conflicts - Bokmål vs. Nynorsk • At the Cinema - Pane e Tulipani - Bread and Tulips • Revisited - Words Which Have Changed Their Meaning • Languages in Peril - Keeping Up With The Kartvelians • Where Are You? • Sections - Reviews • Word on the Streets - Indonesian Innovators • GlobTech - Google Translate Section
Letter From The Editor - The Highlander Condition • When Languages Meet • At the Cinema - Mal Día Para Pescar - Bad Day to Go Fishing • Celebrations - Tanabata - The Star Festival • Languages in Peril - The Romanian Relatives • Revisited - Words Made By Great Writers • Where Are You? • Language Learning Methods - Immersion • Sections - Links
Letter From The Editor - Price of Fame • Liber Linteus - Mummified Language • Pencak Silat • At the Cinema - Bombay • Celebrations - Inti Raymi - Festival of the Sun • Cracking the Code • Languages in Peril - The Chibchan Family • Revisited - Words From The Names Of Animals • Word on the Streets - Great German Authors • Where Are You? • Language Learning Methods - Internet • Sections - Neighborhood
Letter From The Editor - Why Polynesian? • Rongorongo - Island Chants • Otto Dempwolff - Islands of Language • At the Cinema - Whale Rider • Celebrations - Pasifika Festival • Special Feature - Avoiuli • Languages in Peril - The Island Invasion • Revisited - Legends of Maui - Maui's Home • Word on the Streets - Malay Masters • Where Are You? • Revisited - Legends of Maui - Maui Snaring the Sun
Letter From The Editor - Linguist or Polyglot • The Phaistos Disc - Puzzle of Crete • Otto Jespersen - Progress of Language • At the Cinema - Kukushka - The Cuckoo • Celebrations - Carnival • Languages in Peril - The Salish Tragedy • Word on the Streets - Kannada Writers • Where Are You? • Revisited - Stories In The Names Of Places • New Souls • Language Learning Methods - Software • Sections - Parleremo YouTube
Letter From The Editor - Freaking Out • The Voynich Script - Cryptic Codex • Benjamin Whorf - Relativity of Language • At the Cinema - Lost in Translation • Languages in Peril - The Polish Connection • Word on the Streets - Romanian Poets • Where Are You? • Celebrations - Holi • A Language Dream • Revisited - Words From National Character • Language Learning Methods - Classes • Sections - Language Exchange
Letter From The Editor - Truth in Advertising • Linear A & Linear B - Lost Minoan • Edward Sapir - Patterns of Language • At the Cinema - Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner • Word on the Streets - Norwegian Notables • Where Are You? • Celebrations - Valentine's Day • Languages in Peril - The Rhaeto-Romance Trio • Revisited - Proverbs • Linguistics Love Song • Language Learning Methods - Books • Sections - Recordings
Letter From The Editor - A New Parrot Time • The Rosetta Stone - Triple Cypher • Ferdinand de Saussure - Signs of Language • At the Cinema - L'auberge Espagnole • Languages in Peril - The Finno-Ugrics • Word on the Streets - The Russian Zone • Where Are You? • Celebrations - Day of the Dead • Revisited - Slang • We Are The Linguists • Language Learning Methods - Audio • Sections - Journals
Subscribe to Parrot Time!