Spain as an entity and Spanish cultural identity are no less difficult to pin
down as the concept of the nation state is simultaneously assailed by political,
economic and cultural globalisation and the fragmentation of the state by the
demands of its autonomous communities. This book presents a coherent picture of
the main narrative, thematic, stylistic and representational trends which have
characterised the recent cinema produced in Spain. It seeks to explore the
obsession of Spanish cinema with the past and its role as part of a wider
recuperation industry. The book examines the varied forms of historical cinema
ranging from literary adaptation and period drama to retro thriller and musical.
It offers an analysis of other main forms of genre cinema which have dominated
the commercial industry and the popular imagination in Spain since the 1970s.
The book explores constructions of gender and sexuality across a wide range of
examples taken from a variety of contemporary movies. It also focuses on cinema
in the autonomous communities, mainly Catalonia and the Basque Country. The
period 1993 to 1994 was perhaps one of the most difficult for the film industry
in post-Franco Spain, particularly in relation to production totals and audience
figures. The setting Institut de Cinema Catalá offered a new forum for
debate and inaugurated the first of a number of attempts to define what Catalan
film and a Catalan film industry ought to be doing and how Catalan professionals
should develop their sector.
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.
In the full-length treatment of the child in Spanish cinema, this book explores the ways that the cinematic child comes to represent 'prosthetic memory'. The cinematic children in the book retain traces of their mechanical origins: thus they are dolls, ventriloquists' dummies, cyborgs or automata. Moreover, by developing the monstrous undertones evoked by these mechanical traces (cinema such as 'Frankensteinian dream'), these films, in different ways, return repeatedly to a central motif. The central motif is the child's confrontation with a monster and, derivatively, the theme of the monstrous child. Through their obsessive recreation over time, the themes of the child and the monster and the monstrous child come to stand in metonymically for the confrontation of the self with the horrors of Spain's recent past. The book focuses on the cine religioso (religious cinema), in particular, Marcelino, pan y vino. The children of cine religioso appear like automata, programmed to love unconditionally an absent mother. The book then examines the Marisol's films from the 1960s and the way she was groomed by her creators to respond and engineer the economic and cultural changes of the consumerist Spain of the 1960s. It further deals with Victor Erice's El espiritu de la colmena and works through cinematic memories of this film in later works such as El laberinto del fauno, El orfanato and El espinazo del diablo. The films are seen to gesture towards the imaginary creation of a missing child.
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.
This book explains how the famous Spanish singer and actress Imperio Argentina starred in a film, Carmen, la de Triana, that was made in Berlin under the auspices of the Third Reich. It examines the Transition between the dictatorship and democratic eras in four films featuring performances in which transgendered protagonists lip-synch to songs from the Hispanic diaspora. The book considers how punk music and its attendant sensibility and cultural practices were profoundly influential in Spain throughout the early years of democracy. It focuses on one of the most financially successful Spanish films of the last ten years: El otro lado de la cama. The book moves to how punk music and its attendant sensibility and cultural practices were profoundly influential in Spain throughout the early years of democracy. This was when the Spanish version of British punk's irreverence, playful and disrespectful attitude toward art, bad taste, and corrosive humour nevertheless failed to capitalise on the political overtones of the original movement. The book lays emphasis on music as an indicator of the attitudes, social hierarchies and demarcations of youth but marks a shift in focus towards flamenco. Continuing the interwoven themes of rootlessness and evolution, it examines the diegetic and non-diegetic contribution of songs to representative films of the so-called 'immigration cinema' genre within Spanish cinema. Next come the exploration of transnationalism, migration and hybridity by exploring the role of Afro-Cuban song, music and dance in two films from Mexican cinema's golden age: Salón Méxicoand Víctimas del pecado.
This collection analyses the significant
changes in the aesthetics, production and reception of Spanishcinema 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 Spanishcinema and genre while providing multiple perspectives
on the concepts of national cinemas and genre theory. We start from the
This is the first major study in English of cine quinqui, a cycle of popular Spanish films from the late 1970s and early 1980s that starred real-life juvenile delinquents. The book provides a close analysis of key quinqui films by directors such as Eloy de la Iglesia, José Antonio de la Loma and Carlos Saura, as well as the moral panics, public fears and media debates that surrounded their controversial production and reception. In paying particular attention to the soundtrack of the films, the book shows how marginal youth cultures during Spain’s transition to democracy were shaped by sound. It will be of interest to scholars and students of Spanish film, history and cultural studies, as well as to those working in sound studies and youth subcultures more broadly.
As Spain’s narrative of itself has changed through the late 1990s and the twenty-first century due to its engagement with historical memory and an interrogation of the country’s democratic credentials, analyses of Almodóvar’s cinema have changed to accommodate this. This book explores the evolving way in which the cinema of Pedro Almodóvar is employed to read Spain within the country and abroad. It focuses on how Almodóvar’s cinema engages with the narrative of the nation and the country’s twentieth- and twenty-first-century history through a metamodern (rather than postmodern) aesthetic. Whereas Almodóvar’s cinema does not wear politics on its sleeve, this book argues that, through using postmodern techniques with an ethical intent, a foregrounding of cinematic excess, and the poetic function, it nevertheless addresses Spain’s traumatic past and its legacy in relation to gender, class, and the precarious position of the LGBTQ+ community. The political nature of Almodóvar's work has been obscured by his alignment with the allegedly apolitical Spanish cultural movement known as la movida, but his cinema is in fact a form of social critique disguised as frivolity. The book offers a comprehensive film-by-film analysis of the cinema of the Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, from early transgressive comedies of the 1980s like Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón and Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios to award winning dramas like Todo sobre mi madre, Hable con ella, and Dolor y gloria. In doing so, it shows how Almodóvar's films draw on various national cinemas and film genres.
overall purpose, to relate the work of one director to
his (in this case) specific context, the Spanish industry within which
he makes his films. And in doing this it is not a question of simply
enlarging the auteurist frame to take in more of the background – the
auteur as dominant voice in a chorus, rather than as solo singer. It
is to suggest the director as a nexus, a crossing point, of interrelated
threads that go to make up the contemporary Spanishcinema scene.
In this light, a study of Calparsoro should tell us something not only
about Calparsoro’s films but
repeatedly insists on female subjectivity even if, as
we have seen, this subjectivity can be problematic. Only Almodóvar,
from an earlier era, surpasses him. If Spanishcinema has opened
up conceptions of contemporary women, then Spanish critique has
certainly not noticed this in Calparsoro’s case, pursuing Nimri with
their pens as they argue Calparsoro does with his camera. If Spanishcinema has changed in terms of women, Calparsoro exposes the
possibility that Spanish critique has not adjusted.
Also consistent throughout Calparsoro’s oeuvre is his sense of