In exploring the role of the songs in the quinqui film, this chapter demonstrates how they can contribute towards the understanding of the relationship between sound and space. The music articulates a structure of spatial mobility - in both the movement of migration routes, and the consumption of the songs as mobile objects through the prominent use of car stereos in the films - that is central to the shaping of migrant youth subculture during the Transition to democracy. The chapter illustrates how, through sound, the delinquents were able to actively produce a space of their own, both inside and outside the film text. It argues that the soundscape that they produced was one of resistance and transgression, and a crucial means of articulating their visibility in a geography that excluded them, and rendered them invisible.
Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo's La noche de los girasoles/The Night of the Sunflowers provides an archaeology of Spain's rural memory, where the rural emerges as traces of a violent and monstrous nightmare, which haunt the urban consciousness. This chapter shows that this tension is played out in the complex representation of landscape in the film. The landscape is primarily one of loss, trauma and fragmentation: it registers a nation unable to reconcile itself with its recent rural past and articulates a greater desire to nurture and preserve a way of life that is fast disappearing in the present. The discussion of the film contributes towards our understanding of the contemporary shifting structures of rural Spain, and its increasingly complex location in the national imaginary. The legacy of the rural genre appears to haunt the film and to find its most vivid expression in its representation of violence and landscape.
Pilar Miró's Gary Cooper, que estás en los cielos (Gary Cooper Who Art in Heaven) has long been regarded as one of the key films of Spain's transition to democracy. Unlike her previous films, Gary Cooper is firmly grounded in the contemporary social reality of Spanish women in the workplace during the transition to democracy. This chapter looks at a crucial aspect of the film that has been largely overlooked: its complex and contradictory engagement with pathos. It shows that the affective structure of Miro's film is a particularly revealing framework for exploring the ways in which female citizenship and identity were renegotiated during the transition. The chapter explores the ways in which pathos can be read as a political strategy in the film, paying particular attention to its relationship with the body, silence, music and the crucial role of the stardom of Gary Cooper.
Vocal performance, gesture and technology in Spanish film
This chapter explores the transition from post-synch to direct sound in Spanish cinema through a particular emphasis on José Luis López Vázquez’s voice. This chapter shows the ways in which sound design marked a shift in register from a gestural and presentational acting style to a more Stanislavskian mode of performance that stressed interiority and the unspoken. It further argues that direct sound shaped and transformed Spanish performance, reconfiguring the relationship between body and space in cinema. The analysis of López Vázquez’s vocal performance thus casts a light on the limits between the embodiment and disembodiment of performance and sound, as well as providing a means of tracing the emerging acting styles of the 1970s. The presence (and absence) of López Vázquez's voice in his performances, and how these were determined by the synchronisation of sound in post-production, provide a valuable opportunity to understand how technology and acting are linked in complex ways.
While several critical works on Spanish cinema have centred on the cultural, social and industrial significance of stars, there has been relatively little critical scholarship on what stars are paid to do: act. Bringing together a range of scholars that attend carefully to the performances, acting styles, and historical influences of Spanish film, Performance and Spanish Film is the first book to place the process of Spanish acting centre stage. Comprising fifteen original essays, the book casts light on the manifold meanings, methods and influences of Spanish screen performance, from the silent era to the present day. It situates the development of Spanish screen acting in both its national and global contexts, tracing acting techniques that are largely indigenous to Spain, as well as unpicking the ways in which Spanish performance has frequently been shaped by international influences and forces. As the volume ultimately demonstrates, acting can serve as a powerful site of meaning through which broader questions around Spanish film practices, culture and society can be explored.