The Top 7 Must-Watch Movies and Must-Hear Songs of Argentina

Heading to Argentina soon? Want to show off your knowledge of Argentina’s culture to your new Argentinian friends and colleagues? We’ve got you covered.

Name-dropping these nationally beloved songs and movies will undoubtedly open new doors for you — as well as impress the pants off of your new porteño friends.

1. Enrique Santos Discepolo – Cambalache (2014)

A great introduction to lunfardo (a class of distinctly Argentinian slang), Cambalache is both beautiful and bitter in its sarcastic description of the tumult that has characterized Argentina in the 20th century. You’ll shock your Argentinian friends and colleagues when you drop some lunfardo that you learn in this song, such as chorro (thief) and caradura (shameless person). Full review of “Cambalache”

2. Astor Piazzolla – Balada para un loco (1967)

From the famously colorful streets of the Caminito (pictured below) to more relaxed dancing venues called milongas, tango is everywhere in Argentina. If your friends like to dance the tango, make sure you know this iconic song by Astor Piazzolla, who is exalted as “the world’s foremost composer of tango music”. Full review of “Balada para un loco”

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Photo by Ian Falland/Flickr

3. Soda Stereo – En la ciudad de la furia (1988)

Life in Argentina can be frustrating — maybe your subte got delayed, you had some bad asado (Argentine barbecue), or your day is just giving you a lot of bronca (you’re pissed off). For times like this, En la Ciudad de la Furia (“In the City of Fury”) is the song for you. The lyrics — which express the rage that you’re feeling in perfect Argentinian Spanish — will remind you that you’re not alone, even on your worst days. Full review of “En la ciudad de la furia”

4. Nueve Reinas (2000, 114 minutes)

An action-packed crowd pleaser, Nueve Reinas (“Nine Queens”) is especially good for getting used to the unique porteño accent and vocabulary (it’s filled to the brim with “che”s and “boludo”s). Take note while watching, so when you’re in Argentina you don’t fall for the same con-artist schemes that the protagonists cook up! Full review of Nueve Reinas

Think you’ve got the hang of Argentinian Spanish? Try your hand at a free listening test

5. 76 89 03 (2000, 85 minutes)

This movie is not well-known outside of Argentina, which makes it a great film to casually bring up while having a glass of Malbec with colleagues after work. A dark comedy, the film revolves around the shared memory of three friends who grew up together during the military coup of 1976. Aside from its gripping story, the film offers a glimpse into the Argentinian psyche, revealing the dark humor that Argentines harbor beneath their warm, welcoming exteriors. Full review of 76 89 03

image via Cinepata

image via Cinepata

6. Tangos: The Exile of Gardel (1985, 119 minutes)

This film, a hybrid between a musical and a politically-charged autobiography, is a great way to brush up on your political and musical Argentinian history — historical sequences with famous figures of the past are interspersed with music interludes of the country’s most famous tango pieces. Show off your newfound knowledge of José de San Martin and his fight for national independence — it’s bound to resonate with even your brainiest Argentinian coworkers. Full review of Tangos: The Exile of Gardel

7. Esperando la Carroza (1985, 85 minutes)

No film is as nationally adored as Esperando la Carroza (“Waiting for the Hearse”), a 1985 comedy about brothers struggling to decide who should host their ailing mother. In addition to providing insight about class differences in Argentina, movie’s dialogue will help you understand why everyone started laughing after your Argentine friend asked, “¿Qué hizo con mi mayonesa? (“What did you do with my mayonnaise?”). Full review of Esperando la Carroza 

image via Los Andes

image via Los Andes

If you want to fit in with the Argentina crowd, knowing the songs and movies in this list is a must (click on the links for more free reviews of Argentinian songs, movies, and books). But what will impress your Argentinian friends and coworkers more than anything is if you can communicate with them in castellano, even if you just learn a little bit before you go. Contact us for Spanish courses in your area, and you’ll be guaranteed to make plenty of local friends and connections on your trip to Argentina.

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