Acting for the camera in Spanish film magazines of the 1920s and 1930s
in Performance and Spanish film
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This chapter locates specific instances in which writers, directors, and actors of the twenties referenced the actual object of the camera in relationship to Spanish film acting and performance. It further shows how, contrary to how Spaniards have been represented or have portrayed themselves throughout history, the phenomenology of technological mediation—in this case, acting—is deeply embedded in Spanish filmic culture. This chapter includes extensive archival work in order to analyse how Spanish critics of silent film regularly theorised on complex ideas concerning the need for actors to physically and psychologically adjust their performances to the requirements of the camera medium, the fragmentation and monotonisation of acting, and ultimately its commoditisation. It finally documents the ways in which the camera influenced acting styles and performances, and how the consciousness of cinemagoers participated in the policing, self-policing and racialization of subjects as readers of film magazines.

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