Rob Stone
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The other side of the hole
Vacas (1992)
in Julio Medem
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This chapter discusses the first narrative filmed by Julio Medem, Vacas. Vacas was to mark a new way of filmmaking in Spain, based upon independent financing, pre-sold distribution rights, American-style publicity, innovative strategies for attaining foreign sales and a fresh emphasis on the notion of the filmmaker as auteur. Magical realism is present in the paradox of the union of opposites such as life and death in the portal of the hole in the tree, as well as in the tensions that exist between the feudal, rural past of the Basque Country in the nineteenth century. Vacas is not just Medem's artful positioning as a Basque filmmaker in relation to Basque nationalism and Basque cinema, it is also an ironic reflection on his feelings about Basqueness and the emotional investment in its meaning that he makes with this film and his own son.

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