Performance and gesture as crisis in La aldea maldita/The Cursed Village (Florián Rey, 1930)
in Performance and Spanish film
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Through a close analysis of the 1930 version of La aldea maldita, this chapter reflects on the influences ushered in by Spain’s embrace of modernity. Touted as ‘Spain’s last silent film’ as well as its most important one, La aldea maldita presents a harsh, minimalist beauty that has long been praised by audiences and critics. The chapter shows that the acting style is influenced not just by trends of the time but also by the film’s relationship to sound: after the disastrous experience with the sonorisation of a previous film, Rey decided to film La aldea maldita as if it were silent, when in fact the first showing of the film included sound. It also addresses the performance in the version of this film, questioning the sense of anachronism that now pervades them and reflecting on attitudes to aesthetics, acting and the cinematic medium itself.

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