Comunidades IV-V-VI:

Joaquin Thomas - Periodo 5

My Experience:

For this communidades I watched the film "El Orfanato" or "The Orphanage". It is a 2008 Spanish horror film produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by J.A. Bayona. The film has more of a Hollywood-esque demeanor than traditional Spanish language films, which usually take the shape of European art films.

What I learned From My Experience:

I found that despite the Spanish speaking dialogue, I was able to understand most of what was happening on-screen without subtitles. Some of that understanding was due to the emotions and actions of the characters, the plot, and pacing of the film, which all allowed for a more visual understanding than in just regular conversation or reading. I could pretty much tell what was going on, making it easier to fill in the language gaps.

How This Experience Can Be Useful:

Although this is the second movie I've watched for my Comunidades, it painted a lot more comprehensive picture of Spanish-speaking society. It showed a lot more of just day -to-day activities than the other film I watched. I guess you could say this one was more realistic, and so the portrayal of characters was a lot more accurate to what legitimate Spanish-speaking society is like and how the formalities work.

                                                       Comunidades V: Seville

My Experience:

For the fifth Comunidades, i chose to watch a podcast that was featured on Moodle. This particular podcast was that of Rick Steves, his show consists of different global reports that fuse together various aspects of a specific locales culture and present them in an accessible manner. The one that I watched focused on the Seville region of Spain, and it provided me with an exposition of the culture and history of Seville, as well as the architecture, religion, design, and social dynamic of the Spanish state.

What I Learned from my Experience:

Although the twenty-two minute video log of Seville exposed me to a large amount of information, some things stand out more than others. For example, Steves spoke for a good four to five minutes regarding the "Catedral de Sevilla", one of the largest cathedrals in the world, outmatched in size only by St. Peter's in Vatican City and St. Basil's in Russia. I found it interesting that the alleged remains of Christopher Columbus may lay in this cathedral. After they were moved from Cuba back to Spain, they supposedly rest in the heart of this cathedral, while there is no proof, Sevillien's like to think they are the authentic remains of the discoverer of the New World.

How This Information can be Useful:

This information has provided me with a better context of what some European countries, such as Spain, are like. Because the United States has a very distinct state-federal bureaucratic relationship, and such a strong sense of nationalism, I found it interesting that although many of these territories in Spain share a common flag, their allegiances may lay with their specific territory.

                                        Comunidades VI: SMU Meadows Museum

For my final comunidades I chose to visit the SMU meadows museum, which houses a large variety of Spanish artwork from Picasso to Dali. As a fan of Dali's work and aesthetic, I spent most of my time perusing the collection of his work. Most of his artwork, almost entirely drawings and sketches, seemed to fuse a skeletal simplicity with an often haunting tone (seen in his piece "Demons"). Dali's work remains as timeless and poignant as ever, and although I spent time on Picasso and some classic Spanish portraiture, Dali's art was by far the most transcendent.

Apart from a great deal of dates and painting techniques which grew tedious after some time, past cultural and social issues laid embodied still in many of the more expressionistic pieces, such as Dali's. Even Picasso's pseudo-cartoon piece (in a photograph above) offers a comical commentary on colonization and the indigenous American peoples. I was struck by the amount of pride and heritage that characterized many of the Spanish pieces. In contrast to the social commentaries and cathartic entertainment that much of Anglo-Saxon art provides, much of the Spanish that art I was exposed to during my visit carried a more optimistic and prideful tone than other cultures'. Less tied to personal reflection and solemn subject material, a lot of the Spanish art and artists I learned about veered away from that mentality and created artwork that seemed slightly less pretentious, and more about the art itself than the social impact it was attempting to make.

I caught a glimpse of the Spanish culture through a very authentic and pure method, and in turn it showed some truth behind the cultural mindset of that society. The aesthetic that distinguished these pieces did so in a way completely unique to Spanish culture and it reflects that culture's values, respectively. This material I've learned will benefit me in the future as it is pretty much assured that I will take some form of Spanish, art, European history, global business, etc. course in the future, and this information will undoubtedly be of use in some form or another.


Throughout the year I have been exposed to a verity of information through various mediums such as podcast, physical artwork, food, etc. I have learned a great deal of information regarding the Hispanic culture that spans globally. However the two most important or interesting things I've learned this year would probably have to be the artwork of Dali and Picasso that I got the chance to view, and also the movie "El Ofrontero" was incredibly enjoyable. Both artifacts are pieces of art from different mediums and different times, but both shed more of the same light on aspects of Hispanic culture that I would not have been exposed to otherwise. The controversy surrounding the location of Christopher Columbus' remains also peaked my interest quite a bit when I was watching the Seville podcast, and as someone who enjoys history it was enjoyable for me to learn about the classic Spanish empires. This semester's comunidades proved to be more diverse and all-encompassing then last semesters because I feel that I covered a wider range of societies and time periods inside the Hispanic culture.

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