Alejandro Amenábar

Author: Barry Jordan

Alejandro Amenábar has made only five main features over a 15-year period from 1995 to 2009. In 1995 he abandoned his Film Studies degree at Madrid's Complutense University in order to shoot Tesis (Thesis), his first feature. This book contains a brief biographical profile of Amenábar, but the main focus is a detailed analysis of his shorts, and the ways in which a set of templates and devices (stylistic, narrative and thematic) begin to emerge from them, as well as a series of working practices. It then provides detailed accounts of Amenábar's five feature films to date: Tesis, Abre los ojos, The Others, Mar adentro, and Ágora. Though the approaches adopted and the menu of topics vary in each chapter, the book seeks to combine important aspects of contextual information (historical, social, industrial) with detailed production and reception notes. It pays close attention to aspects of film form and style (e.g. the interplay in Tesis between classical Hollywood narration and 'art film narration'). The book explores the ways in which Amenábar appears to conduct experiments in generic hybridity to create a personal, auteur cinema which satisfies his cinephilia as well as his desire for ambiguity and profundity. At the same time, it demonstrates his commitment to the tastes and pleasures of film audiences. The study presented is guided in large part by questions already raised in scholarly writings on Amenábar, as well as other issues and evidence which have subsequently emerged.

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