Screening capital and culture in Airbag and Smoking Room
William J. Nichols
Genre', Christine Gledhill declares, 'is first and foremost a boundary phenomenon', and genre critics act as 'cartographers' concerned with exploring and defining the 'fictional territories' that distinguish certain kinds of films, like westerns, from others, such as gangster films. This chapter analyses the interpenetration of culture and capital in two recent Spanish films: Airbag (Juanma Bajo Ulloa, 1997) and Smoking Room (Roger Gual and Julio Wallovits, 2002). These two films offer a curious aesthetic juxtaposition and present a unique insight into the influence of capital on cultural production in Spain. The chapter begins the discussion of Airbag with a quote that frames the polemic surrounding the film's use of techniques typically associated with Hollywood blockbuster films. Smoking Room depicts the reactions of several employees in a Spanish subsidiary of an American multinational company that imposes its own corporate culture by forcing its workers to smoke outside.