This chapter discusses Julio Medem's film Lucía y el sexo. Lucía y el sexo is a postmodern film about authorship that recalls the works of the writer Paul Auster and the Basque author Miguel de Unamuno. Medem wrote almost eighteen drafts for the script, and, due to the delay caused by the several drafts, had to assemble a very different cast for the film from that which he had imagined initially. The filming took thirteen weeks with a crew of fifty-nine, far removed from the tiny project that he had originally envisaged. At the heart of Lucía y el sexo lies a complex interdependence between Medem and Lorenzo that has parallels in the relationships of the writer and the reader, the filmmaker and his audience, and the artist and the critic. The film was distributed throughout Europe and the new markets of Croatia, Turkey and Israel.
This chapter deals with Julio Medem's film La pelota vasca, which is a documentary about the Basque nationalist movement in Spain. La pelota vasca is a polyphonic patchwork of speakers on this subject, whose range of perspectives and depth of feeling are interwoven in an inclusive montage that, in terms of finding a solution, is both open minded and, inevitably, open ended. Medem assembled the documentary by dividing out the pieces in sections. Its analysis takes into account the history of filmmaking in the Basque Country, wherein the union of political thought and action with film theory and practice propagated a forceful faith in documentary as an instrument of record and propaganda that contributed to a cultural offensive against the conventions of the centralised film industry during and after the dictatorship. The polemic made La pelota vasca the most commercially successful documentary in the history of Spanish cinema.
This chapter maps out the current works of Julio Medem. Medem has aspired to a concept of auteurism, and now, after five fictions and one documentary in which he resembles the mythological auteur, he faces the task of maintaining what is a deeply felt condition that can only be safeguarded by his imagination. Options for Medem include the seemingly ‘all or nothing’ gambit of Aitor, from whose inevitable controversy he may never recover, but which, if successful in artistic and commercial terms, would take him beyond the political expropriation of the film and any bad feeling in the Spanish media. Medem is a work in progress, busy constructing himself as auteur in the likeness of his own ambition. His story has been one of learning the responsibilities of authorship while enjoying the privileges of auteurism.
During the forty years of the fascist dictatorship film noir was a bête noire, unable to show its face for fear of reprisals on its perpetrators. This chapter argues that, film noir in the Spain of the dictatorship was never more insidious and was never more relevant. Whereas American noir of the 1950s could be said to hold a dark mirror to American society that questioned the fundamental optimism of the American dream, no such pessimism about the Francoist dream was permitted. Imitative policíacas suffered from limited resources and an even more limited understanding, for there was little available film analysis that would define the genre for filmmakers. As Paul Schrader contends, realism was key to the tone and mood for it 'succeeded in breaking film noir away from the domain of high-class melodrama, placing it where it more properly belonged, in the streets with everyday people'.
This book explains how the famous Spanish singer and actress Imperio Argentina starred in a film, Carmen, la de Triana, that was made in Berlin under the auspices of the Third Reich. It examines the Transition between the dictatorship and democratic eras in four films featuring performances in which transgendered protagonists lip-synch to songs from the Hispanic diaspora. The book considers how punk music and its attendant sensibility and cultural practices were profoundly influential in Spain throughout the early years of democracy. It focuses on one of the most financially successful Spanish films of the last ten years: El otro lado de la cama. The book moves to how punk music and its attendant sensibility and cultural practices were profoundly influential in Spain throughout the early years of democracy. This was when the Spanish version of British punk's irreverence, playful and disrespectful attitude toward art, bad taste, and corrosive humour nevertheless failed to capitalise on the political overtones of the original movement. The book lays emphasis on music as an indicator of the attitudes, social hierarchies and demarcations of youth but marks a shift in focus towards flamenco. Continuing the interwoven themes of rootlessness and evolution, it examines the diegetic and non-diegetic contribution of songs to representative films of the so-called 'immigration cinema' genre within Spanish cinema. Next come the exploration of transnationalism, migration and hybridity by exploring the role of Afro-Cuban song, music and dance in two films from Mexican cinema's golden age: Salón Méxicoand Víctimas del pecado.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explains how the famous Spanish singer and actress Imperio Argentina starred in a film, Carmen, la de Triana, that was made in Berlin under the auspices of the Third Reich. It considers how punk music and its attendant sensibility and cultural practices were profoundly influential in Spain throughout the early years of democracy. The book maintains the emphasis on music as an indicator of the attitudes, social hierarchies and demarcations of youth but marks a shift in focus towards flamenco, which inevitably features prominently in Spanish cinema. It then examines the diegetic and non-diegetic contribution of songs to representative films of the so-called 'immigration cinema' genre within Spanish cinema and detects significant recurrent patterns and strategies.