Memory and the child witness in ‘art-house horror’
in The child in Spanish cinema
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This chapter presents the Joe Kelleher's description of the dialectical relationship with the child as 'looked at, looked for and looking' to explore the child as spectacle, narrative and gaze. It chapter begins with a reconsideration of Ana Torrent's performance to explore the ways that the film establishes the dark-eyed child's gaze as visual motif. A recurrent motif in films with recreated memories of the war and its aftermath is the child and the monster, or, in a metonymic twist, the monstrous child. In a mise-en-abyme structure, the child is a witness to a prosthetic memory as the spectator views history on screen through the child. The chapter explores art-house films, horror films and those which develop the art-horror hybrid. It also explores films of the post Franco era which appear, in different ways, to refer back to Ana's gaze as the acknowledgement of the burdens of history.


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