This book is a collection of essays that offers a new lens through which to examine Spain's cinematic production following the decades of isolation imposed by the Franco regime. The films analysed span a period of some 40 years that have been crucial in the development of Spain, Spanish democracy and Spanish cinema. The book offers a new lens to examine Spain's cinematic production following the decades of isolation imposed by the Franco regime. The figure of the auteur jostles for attention alongside other features of film, ranging from genre, intertexuality and ethics, to filmic language and aesthetics. At the heart of this project lies an examination of the ways in which established auteurs and younger generations of filmmakers have harnessed cinematic language towards a commentary on the nation-state and the politics of historical and cultural memory. The films discussed in the book encompass different genres, both popular and more select arthouse fare, and are made in different languages: English, Basque, Castilian, Catalan, and French. Regarded universally as a classic of Spanish arthouse cinema, El espíritu de la colmena/The Spirit of the Beehive has attracted a wealth of critical attention which has focused on political, historical, psychological and formal aspects of Víctor Erice's co-authored film-text. Luis Bunuel's Cet obscur objet du désir/That Obscure Object of Desire, Catalan filmmaker Ventura Pons' Ocana. Retrat Intermitent/Ocana. An Intermittent Portrait, Francisco Franco's El Dorado, Víctor Erice's El sol del membrillo/The Quince Tree Sun, and Julio Medem's Vacas/Cows are some films that are discussed.
values and present us with perspectives which are far from obsolete. Ocaña. Retrat Intermitent/Ocaña. An Intermittent Portrait, directed by Catalan filmmaker Ventura Pons in 1977 – that is, at the height of the Barcelona movida sometimes referred to as the llibertari – is highly representative of the impulse for renewal in Transition cinema and the attempt to document the new social reality: a
others, a marginal phenomenon ( 2003 : 68). This does not mean that films are not made in Catalonia or by Catalan filmmakers; rather, with some exceptions such as Ventura Pons or Albert Serra, they are not perceived as ‘Catalan’. The financial complications involved in making commercial films in Catalan have been at the root of the marginality of the cinema with respect to the theatre and television, both of which based their
Catalan filmmakers unwilling to compromise with the demands of the commercial sector, a certain, marginal, independent cine de autor (auteur cinema) just about survived, having had its origins in the Escuela de Barcelona of the 1960s (Molina-Foix 1977 : 22–3). Unfortunately, between the low–budget, popular genre film and the art-house movie, destined for an elite audience, there was little or nothing
preparing to adapt the written word of Quim Monzó and Sergi Belbel for the big screen. Besides his avowed interest in the multi-character films of Joseph L. Mankiewicz – director of the quasi-episodic tale of an extramarital affair, A Letter to Three Wives (1949), not to mention All About Eve (1950), a work that inspired the Catalan filmmaker to helm Actrius/Actresses (1997) – Pons followed a path