A generation ago, Spain was emerging from a nearly forty-year dictatorship. This book analyses the significant changes in the aesthetics, production and reception of Spanish cinema and genre from 1990 to the present. It brings together European and North American scholars to establish a critical dialogue on the topic of contemporary Spanish cinema and genre while providing multiple perspectives on the concepts of national cinemas and genre theory. The book addresses a particular production unit, the Barcelona-based Fantastic Factory as part of the increasingly important Filmax group of companies, with the explicit aim of making genre films that would have an appeal beyond the Spanish market. It explores the genrification of the Almodovar brand in the US media and cinematic imaginary as a point of departure to tackle how the concepts of genre, authorship and Spanish cinema itself acquire different meanings when transposed into a foreign film market. Melodrama and political thriller films have been a narrative and representational form tied to the imagining of the nation. The book also examines some of the aspects of Carícies that distinguish it from Pons's other entries in his Minimalist Trilogy. It looks briefly at the ways in which the letter acts as one of the central melodramatic gestures in Isabel Coixet's films. After an analysis of the Spanish musical from the 1990s until today, the book discusses Spanish immigration films and some Spanish-Cuban co-productions on tourism and transnational romance.
Affect and artifice in the melodramas of Isabel Coixet
Sporting low-budget production values and featuring Lili Taylor as Ann, a young woman experiencing loneliness and depression, Things I Never Told You had all the trappings of the contemporary American independent film. The coin-laundry or laundromat in particular fulfils to perfection the iconographic demands of the indie film. The repeated motif of the laundromat suggests that, by mobilising an American indie aesthetic as a ready-made idiom, Isabel Coixet's films are also able to borrow its ironic and detached stance as a deliberate artifice that, paradoxically, gives expression to a search for a visual vocabulary of intimacy and affect. This chapter looks briefly at the ways in which the letter (the ultimate token of language as artifice) acts as one of the central melodramatic gestures in Coixet's films. It endeavours to illustrate the cinephilic recuperation and rebranding of 'cool' melodrama.