Fettered geographies, unsettled histories and the abyss of alienation in the work of three Spanish women filmmakers
This chapter examines three key themes that are common to the work of these three women filmmakers (Ariadna Pujol, Chus Gutiérrez, and Icíar Bollaín) in their treatments of rural Spain and immigration: the geopolitics of power and disempowerment, the fracture of historical cohesion, and questions of alienation. It discusses three films of the filmmakers which showcase economic migrants from the developing world seeking empowerment in Spain, a developed nation. Their presence in rural areas underlines the uneven nature of development outside the 'First World'. Geographical mappings become complicated through such movements and unevenness, as human migration leads to an unsettlement of the singularity of place and any unbroken imagination of history. The chapter argues that what we see in the work of these three women filmmakers is the contingency of the rural and the many strategies that migrant subjects undertake for survival.
Music, iteration and translation in La leyenda del tiempo
Beauty and sadness permeate Isaki Lacuesta's film, La leyenda del tiempo. His films occupy the interesting overlaps of documentary, fiction and auteurist cinema. This chapter explores the idea of flamenco as a contrapuntal form of music in La leyenda del tiempo in order to argue that Lacuesta's film works against essentialist perceptions of flamenco and presents it instead as metaphor for the ephemeral chimeras of identity and belonging, inexorable but ardently pursued. It also explores the view that flamenco as represented in this film comes to life through a kind of performativity that hinges on both a spectral desire for repetition and a contingent migrancy that forces change, hybridity and innovation. Repetition and migrancy impose on this music a spatiotemporal counterpoint that shifts between iteration and translation.
While women directors continue to be a minority in most national and transnational film contexts, there are those among them who rank among the most innovative and inventive of filmmakers. Filmmaking by women becomes an important route to exploring what lies outside of and beyond the stereotype through reflexivity on violence and conflict, and through visual and narrative explorations of migration, exile, subjectivity, history or individual and collective memory. By documenting and interpreting a fascinating corpus of films made by women coming from Latin America, the US, Portugal and Spain, this book proposes research strategies and methodologies that can expand our understanding of socio-cultural and psychic constructions of gender and sexual politics. It critically examines the work of Hispanic and Lusophone female filmmakers. It 'weaves' several 'threads' by working at the intersections between feminist film theory, gender studies and film practices by women in Latin America, the US, Portugal and Spain. The book explores the transcultural connections, as well as the cultural specificities, that can be established between Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American and Latino contexts within and beyond the framework of the nation state. It suggests that the notion of home and of Basque motherland carry potentially different resonances for female directors.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the second part of this book. The book explores the concepts of exile and the uncanny, or unheimlich, and thus in turn implicitly the concept of home, in relation to Basque cinema. It suggests that the notion of home and of Basque motherland carry potentially different resonances for female directors. According to Edward Said, culture is inextricably and inherently linked to the manifestations of conflicts. As a mass medium, cinema becomes a means of representing cultural conflicts as a way of self-consciously or unconsciously reinforcing those social and ideological antagonisms, vicissitudes and turbulences. Cinema also mediates individual and collective experiences and discourses or reflects upon these processes in order to propose and to imagine alternative symbolic systems that may potentially contribute to political change and social transformation.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the third part of this book. The book examines the work of three Spanish women filmmakers, namely Icíar Bollaín, Chus Gutiérrez and Ariadna Pujol in order to analyse the dissonant encounters between immigrants and locals in rural areas of Spain. Implicit in the very idea of bringing together the work of women filmmakers from Hispanic and Lusophone contexts is the notion that these cultural categories must necessarily be viewed in terms of their migratory and transnational histories. Migration, transnationalism and the crossing of borders must be seen as key aspects of contemporary Hispanic and Lusophone cinema. When viewed in terms of migration, transnationalism and the question of borders, what comes to light is the contingency and alterability of that which is apparently solid or is generally assumed to be fixed.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines the work of Hispanic and Lusophone female filmmakers. It concentrates on the issues of critical discourse and debates and filmic or cultural representation, thereby seeking new ways of approaching the complicated status of Hispanic and Lusophone female identities and subjectivities through filmic and theoretical analyses and offering critical interventions and theoretical interrogations in existing scholarship. The book traces the historical connections that can be mapped vis-à-vis the production of films made by women and the process of social emancipation of women in societies that have been historically associated with a patriarchal and even heteronormative ideology. It looks at certain cinematic practices to raise questions of alterity in subjective and intersubjective processes, thinking, thus, of the question of femininity beyond a patriarchal system of thought based on lack and castration.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the first part of this book. The book shares a common politics of revision with regard to hegemonic perceptions of history and memory at a collective level. According to philosopher Paul Ricreur, history and memory are interwoven, both being selective in their choice of what is remembered, reliant upon traces of the past in order to do so and fraught with forgetting. Yet, most will agree that the narratives of history have been repeatedly used to commemorate and consolidate a fixed and authoritative vision of the past in order to perpetuate set ideological schemes. In the context of Hispanic and Lusophone cinema, one can add to this fixed ideological landscape the overriding influence of Hollywood, with its focus on questions of capital, hegemony and domination. Meanwhile, memory, both collective and individual, has often remained overshadowed, unvoiced and apparently irrelevant.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the fourth part of this book. The book explores how filmic autobiography brings aural and visual elements to the fore in its construction of selfhood on the screen. It explores the way that Lucrecia Martel's La ciénaga represents family and social disintegration in the context of the decadent world of traditional rural Argentine society through the use of a subjective realistic cinematic style. Subjectivity has been a crucial concern for cultural theory in general and, more relevant in the context of this book, feminist theory for the past decades. Although some theorists are exploring how analogy may be integral to subjectivity, it is often thought that the constitution of subjectivity is based on lack and castration and that it is always rooted in sexual difference.