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Spain as an entity and Spanish cultural identity are no less difficult to pin down as the concept of the nation state is simultaneously assailed by political, economic and cultural globalisation and the fragmentation of the state by the demands of its autonomous communities. This book presents a coherent picture of the main narrative, thematic, stylistic and representational trends which have characterised the recent cinema produced in Spain. It seeks to explore the obsession of Spanish cinema with the past and its role as part of a wider recuperation industry. The book examines the varied forms of historical cinema ranging from literary adaptation and period drama to retro thriller and musical. It offers an analysis of other main forms of genre cinema which have dominated the commercial industry and the popular imagination in Spain since the 1970s. The book explores constructions of gender and sexuality across a wide range of examples taken from a variety of contemporary movies. It also focuses on cinema in the autonomous communities, mainly Catalonia and the Basque Country. The period 1993 to 1994 was perhaps one of the most difficult for the film industry in post-Franco Spain, particularly in relation to production totals and audience figures. The setting Institut de Cinema Catalá offered a new forum for debate and inaugurated the first of a number of attempts to define what Catalan film and a Catalan film industry ought to be doing and how Catalan professionals should develop their sector.

Popular genre film in post-Franco Spain
Barry Jordan and Rikki Morgan-Tamosunas

Genre tends to be applied most readily to popular films, products developed according to recognisable formulae, codes and conventions whereas the authors use terms such as 'art cinema', 'arthouse' or 'avant-garde' for films which do not 'fit' a formula. Genre films in post-Franco Spain have been dominated by the comedy. The dominance, popularity and commercial success of the comedy in post-Franco Spain clearly reflects the fact that the genre has enjoyed a long and very distinguished tradition in Spanish filmmaking. Sex and sexuality have long figured prominently as vehicles for humour in Spanish film comedy. After 1975, the film comedy was able to deal with social, political and cultural issues far more openly and aggressively, with greater explicitness, especially in the realm of sexuality and the use of colloquial language. The chapter presents the emergence of the New Spanish Comedy, whose nucleus was undoubtedly the so-called 'comedia madrileña'.

in Contemporary Spanish cinema
Film in the autonomous regions
Barry Jordan and Rikki Morgan-Tamosunas

Under Franco, as the regime attempted to 'rehispanicise' the Spanish nation, regional languages, cultures and identities other than Castilian were effectively outlawed and forced underground. As J. Hopewell points out, the death of Franco and the sustained popular pressure for political and cultural liberalisation in Spain in the mid- and late 1970s created the climate for a resurgence of nationalist cinema in the regions. In December 1975, almost immediately following Franco's death, more than seventy film professionals joined forces and set up the Institut de Cinema Catalá. It offered a new forum for debate and inaugurated the first of a number of attempts to define what Catalan film and a Catalan film industry ought to be doing and how Catalan professionals should develop their sector. The relevant powers over film production and promotion were transferred to the Autonomous Basque Government and delegated to the Consejería de Cultura.

in Contemporary Spanish cinema
Historical cinema in post-Franco Spain
Barry Jordan and Rikki Morgan-Tamosunas

One of the most prominent features of Spanish cinema since the end of the dictatorship in 1975 has been its obsessive concern with the past. This forms part of a wider preoccupation in Spain with recuperating the past. This chapter provides a brief overview of the relationship between history, cinema and the mitología franquista (Francoist mythology) during the dictatorship. It examines some of the major trends and developments in this very broad grouping of films in post-Franco cinema. The chapter seeks to identify some of the complex features underlying the relationships between the present and the past in contemporary Spanish culture, their articulation through the medium of film and the interpretative and representational issues these interactions raise. Throughout the history of Spanish cinema, the rural genre has provided a focus for images of Spanish national identity for internal and external consumption.

in Contemporary Spanish cinema
Barry Jordan and Rikki Morgan-Tamosunas

Spanish cinema is known for producing more explicit images (of both sex and violence) than most other contemporary European cinemas. Francoism operated on the basis of highly traditional and retrograde concepts of gender and sexuality. This chapter seeks to explore representations in the context of post-Franco cinema. It considers the impact of the so-called Movida on cultural and cinematic trends. The chapter focuses particularly on the increased profile of women both behind and in front of the camera. It attempts to deal with representations of patriarchy and masculinity and the contradictory images these can produce. The chapter explores the evidence of a more radical questioning of traditionally-erected gender boundaries and the promotion of a more eclectic range of models for sexual orientation and personal and family relationships.

in Contemporary Spanish cinema
Abstract only
Barry Jordan and Rikki Morgan-Tamosunas

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book presents the reader with a coherent picture of the main narrative, thematic, stylistic and representational trends which have characterised recent cinema produced in Spain. It seeks to explore the obsession of Spanish cinema with the past and its role as part of a wider recuperation industry. The book examines the varied forms of historical cinema ranging from literary adaptation and period drama to retro thriller and musical. It offers an analysis of other main forms of genre cinema which have dominated the commercial industry and the popular imagination in Spain since the 1970s. The book explores constructions of gender and sexuality across a wide range of examples taken from a variety of contemporary movies. It also focuses on cinema in the autonomous communities, mainly Catalonia and the Basque Country.

in Contemporary Spanish cinema
Abstract only
Barry Jordan and Rikki Morgan-Tamosunas

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Spanish cinema has enjoyed numerous instances of significant national and international success but against a background of industrial weakness and apparent long-term decline. Fernando Trueba's Oscar success with Belle Epoque in 1993 provided a welcome boost for Spanish films in overseas markets and confirmed that Spanish directors and the Spanish industry could compete with Hollywood. However, other siren voices in the early 1990s could be heard, voices announcing Spanish cinema's imminent demise. In anticipation of the centenary of Spain's film industry in 1995, critic Romá Gubern wondered whether he would be attending a funeral rather than a celebration. The period 1993 to 1994 was perhaps one of the most difficult for the film industry in post-Franco Spain, particularly in relation to production totals and audience figures.

in Contemporary Spanish cinema