Singing of dubious desire
Imperio Argentina and Penélope Cruz as Nazi Germany’s exotic Other
in Screening songs in Hispanic and Lusophone cinema
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As a result of her success as a singer, and subsequently as a leading actress in Spanish folkloric films of the 1930s and 1940s, Imperio Argentina became a grande dame of Spanish cinema. It is not only the general storyline that reminds us of Argentina's earlier film, but also plot details such as the fact that a German version of the film was made alongside the Spanish one, with German actors and directed by a character called Maisch. La niña also features the song 'Los piconeros', in both Spanish and German: the same song that formed a centrepiece of Carmen, la de Triana. If in order to perform her part as Carmen in both films Argentina learned German especially for the occasion, in La niña her fictional counterpart Macarena Granada (played by Penélope Cruz) demonstrates her own skills with her German dialogue and lyrics, which she learnt phonetically.

Editors: Lisa Shaw and Rob Stone

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