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Author: Rob Stone

This account of the life and films of the Spanish-Basque filmmaker Julio Medem is the first book in English on the internationally renowned writer-director of Vacas, La ardilla roja (Red Squirrel), Tierra, Los amantes del círculo polar (Lovers of the Arctic Circle), Lucía y el sexo (Sex and Lucía), La pelota vasca: la piel contra la piedra (Basque Ball) and Caótica Ana (Chaotic Ana). Initial chapters explore Medem's childhood, adolescence and education, and examine his earliest short films and critical writings against a background of a dramatically changing Spain. Later chapters provide accounts of the genesis, production and release of Medem's challenging and sensual films, which feed into analyses of their meanings, both political and personal, in which the author draws on traditions and innovations in Basque art, Spanish cinema and European philosophy to create a portrait of the director and his work.

Alejandro Melero

Almodóvar cemented the association of Spanish cinema with sex. The successful international distribution of films such as Amantes/​Lovers (Vicente Aranda, 1991) and Jamón, jamón (Bigas Luna, 1992) is part of this trend. The following generation of directors continued the tradition, as we can see when we look at the international reviews of Lucía y el sexo/​Sex and Lucia (Julio Medem, 2001). This reveals how the blatant sex scenes (which included the close-​ up of an erection) were the film’s most intriguing aspect. For instance, film critic Chris Tookey noted Medem

in Performance and Spanish film
patterns of the past in Vacas/Cows
David Archibald

a long period in which I confess that I distanced myself, especially politically, from all things Basque, the rise in the ultra Spanish nationalism of Aznar [the then right-wing prime minister of Spain], which had gradually become unbearable in its totalitarian confrontation with Basque nationalism, meant that, after Sex and Lucia, I decided to try again to write something minimally fair about the Basque conflict.’ 5 It is worthwhile, therefore, to place Medem’s work within a Basque, not simply a Spanish, context. This is not a straightforward process, however

in The war that won't die
The performance of disability and illness
Dean Allbritton

types and genres that have filmed such processes to both acclaim and infamy: animal deaths in films, pornography, snuff films and instructional cinema, to name a few (1998: 20). In Spanish film, similar exceptions can be found. For example, Petit indi (Marc Recha, 2009), Furtivos/​Poachers (José Luis Borau, 1975), and Hable con ella/​Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar, 2002) contain scenes of animal deaths and abuses; Lucía y el sexo/​Sex and Lucía (Julio Medem, 2001) shows its female star (Paz Vega) giving a handjob to an erect penis; and many of the films of Jesús ‘Jess

in Performance and Spanish film
Rob Stone

), Los amantes del Círculo Polar (Lovers of the Arctic Circle, 1998), Lucía y el sexo (Sex and Lucía, 2001) and the documentary La pelota vasca: la piel contra la piedra (Basque Ball: The Skin against the Stone, 2003) have gained him festival prizes, complex distribution strategies, quality DVD editions of his films, the backing of Spain’s media giant Sogecine, a belated and problematic reputation as a political filmmaker and an increasing degree of autonomy that comes from co-financing his own features and making use of new technologies such as high definition digital

in Julio Medem
Christopher Meir

music videos, filmed concerts and ‘soundtrack’ films. While this latter term is sometimes used derisively to mean films whose existence seems to be only a way to sell original soundtrack records, Palm’s catalogue includes critically prestigious art films such as Sex and Lucía (Julio Medem, 2001) and Noi the Albino (Dagur Kári, 2003) as well as other soundtrack-driven films. Palm’s favoured business model is thus one that seeks out opportunities for commercial synergies between music and film, a strategy that Trainspotting’s distributors followed to great commercial

in Scottish cinema
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The interaction of director and star
Ann Davies

comment on her ability to inspire sympathy with her hesitant attempts to communicate echoes not only the perception of Nimri as fragile and childlike but also the attraction that it has in its capacity to inspire emotion. (Losilla’s comment also hints at difficulties in understanding Nimri’s speech, a question to which I will return). This image of Nimri as tough on the outside but childlike and fragile beneath the surface recurs in much of her work with other directors: Abre los ojos as we have seen, but also the warm but vulnerable nurturer of Lucía y el sexo (Sex and

in Daniel Calparsoro