Unfortunately for those who enjoy going to the cinema but don’t speak great Spanish or Catalan, or who simply can’t stand watching movies dubbed from their original language into another, there isn’t a whole lot of choice here on the Costa Brava. But, some choice is better than no choice – and hopefully things are changing.
Why are Spanish movies almost always dubbed?
Spain tends to dub foreign television or movies more than probably any other country in Europe and the reason for this can be traced back to our old “friend”, Generalissimo Francisco Franco!. Franco insisted that Castellano Spanish – and only Castellano Spanish – be spoken throughout Spain and so regional languages like Catalan, Basque and Gallego were banned and any foreign movies that were allowed to be shown were dubbed into Spanish. This also helped him censor any content to do with politics, religion or sex, making films and television a very useful propaganda tool.
Franco has long since departed but old habits die hard and foreign language content on Spanish tv is still almost always dubbed and the majority of Spaniards are accustomed to it at this stage and will tell you that it’s what they prefer as they can’t be dealing with reading subtitles.
There’s a silver lining to every cloud!
One of the “benefits” (depending on who you ask!) of the coronavirus pandemic was that the ensuing restrictions meant that most of the dubbing work could not be done and so most foreign-language movies had to be released in their original form with subtitles in Spanish. Despite the consternation this caused many Spaniards, most foreign residents quietly rejoiced!
What does V.O.S.E. stand for?
Before the coronavirus pandemic struck certain cinemas used to show V.O.S.E. movies but usually only fairly infrequently and usually only one movie – and, as Murphy’s Law would have it, rarely the movie you actually wanted to see! Before we go any further though, in case you’re not familiar with “V.O.S.E.”, it stands for (Versión Original Subtitulos Español = original version Spanish subtitles).
Why V.O.S.E. rather than dubbed?
We’re just going to borrow the words (translated from Catalan) from the website of one local cinema to explain the advantages of watching movies in their original version:
Veuràs la pel·lícula tal i com el director o directora l’ha creat.
You will see the film as the director created it.
Les veus i les entonacions dels actors doten de personalitat al seu personatge i això es perd amb els doblatges a el castellà. El mateix passa amb els jocs de paraules o els dobles sentits, que només és possible entendre en l’idioma original.
The voices and intonations of the actors give personality to their character and this is lost with the dubbings in Spanish. The same goes for puns or double meanings, which are only possible to understand in the original language.
Ajuden a aprendre idiomes i són un gran aliat per mesurar el teu nivell. Ajuden a que l’oïda es vagi acostumant als diferents accents, entonacions i estructures gramaticals amb les que et trobaràs quan viatges a l’estranger.
They help you learn languages and are a great ally in measuring your level. They help your ear get used to the different accents, intonations and grammatical structures you will encounter when you travel abroad.
V.O.S.E. Cinemas in the Baix Empordà
So, here are the cinemas showing V.O.S.E. movies in our area. Just click on the cinema’s name to be brought to the original version section of their website, and on the name of the town for the location.
Arinco Cinema, Palamós
At the end of October 2022 the Arinco Cinema closed its doors for the third and, sadly, final time.
For Palamosinos the OCINE complex in Platja d’Aro (below) is now your “local” cinema.
OCINE, Platja d’Aro
This OCINE cinema used to only show original version movies every second Thursday (although more often during the summer season). Now they also seem to show at least one or two every week. As with the Arinco, let’s get out and support them to help convince them to keep it up! On their website you’ll need to click on the movie that interests you to see if and when it will be shown in V.O.S.E.
Teatre Municipal, Palafrugell
As its name would suggest, this place is the municipal theatre that doubles as a cinema. It hosts all sorts of shows, including movies, some of which are shown in the original version. The website is only in Catalan so when you open the page, click on “Programació” at the top and then where it says “Filtrar per Categories”, select “Cinema”. Pretty easy, right? Then click on the individual movies to see what’s on in the original version.
The same OCINE chain also has a theatre in Girona city, just north and across the river from the old town. They used to have V.O.S.E. shows every Tuesday and Thursday but seem to have switched this to Thursday and Friday. The website works in an identical manner to the OCINE one for Platja d’Aro.
Truffaut Cinema, Girona
For something a little different, alternative even, try the Truffaut cinema in Girona. All their movies are in their original version and from a variety of countries and are, for the most part, non-mainstream flicks, at least outside their country of origin. Slightly ironically, their website is in Catalan only, but it’s easy to see what’s on the schedule. At the time of writing (early June 21) they are finishing off some renovations, but expect to reopen by the middle of this month, and in the autumn of this year they will be opening a second theatre.
On some of the websites, there seems to occasionally be a problem in purchasing tickets if you are in the English language version. To avoid this, once you have chosen a movie you want to go to, click back into “CA” or “ES” and then you should be able to buy your tickets without difficulty.