Gender and Spanish Cinema

Gender and Spanish Cinema

Gender and Spanish Cinema

Gender and Spanish Cinema

Synopsis

What does the portrayal of gender in film reveal about Spanish society? To what extent and in what ways does Spanish cinema contribute to constructions of national and regional identity? How does gender interact with ethnicity, class, politics and history? Gender and Spanish Cinema addresses these questions and more in its examination of twentieth-century Spanish film. Defining "gender" in its broadest sense, the authors discuss topics such as body, performance, desire and fantasy. Gender is not considered in isolation, but is discussed in relation to nationalism, race, memory, psychoanalyisis, and historical context. The chapters are wide-ranging, dealing with subjects such as Bu uel, cinema under Franco, 1950s melodrama and Pedro Almod var. Bringing together leading academics from the US, UK, and Spain, this volume provides the first broad overview of the relationship between Spanish cinema and gender.

Excerpt

Steven Marsh and Parvati Nair

The aim of this volume, Gender and Spanish Cinema, is to offer diverse perspectives on the treatment and conceptualizations of gender in Spanish cinema of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Bearing in mind the important political and socio-cultural changes that occurred in Spain over the course of the twentieth century, in particular the experience of nearly four decades of dictatorship, followed by the transition to democracy and the cultural effects of the country's consolidation as a modern European nation, the studies in this volume refer directly to those aspects of Spanish cinema that can be highlighted as providing landmarks to the ways in which gender intersects with the course of culture and politics. This introduction will begin with an examination of the conceptual conjuncture of cinema, gender and the nation. It will then move on to a discussion of reading gender in Spanish cinema and will conclude with a summary of the chapters that follow.

Cinema, Gender and the Nation

From its inception at the end of the nineteenth century and throughout its subsequent development as a key mass medium of the twentieth century, cinema has effectively carried out the twin roles of providing social diversion and conveying social messages. Herein lie both the attraction and the force of cinema: on the one hand it invites, entertains and enthrals while on the other it has the capacity to reinforce, challenge and subvert configurations of identity among its viewers. The curiosity and vivid interest that cinema inspires, therefore, arises not so much from its potential to represent reality as from the possibilities that it puts forward to transform, refract and breach the imagined horizons of social identity. There is, nowadays, a widespread recognition that film, as a central medium of modernity, is charged with a political weight that cannot be ignored; furthermore, the aesthetic of film is directly linked to . . .

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