Guide to the Cinema of Spain

Guide to the Cinema of Spain

Guide to the Cinema of Spain

Guide to the Cinema of Spain

Excerpt

Film historians have traditionally neglected the study of Spanish cinema. When they do include it at all, they reduce it to the works of two or three “international” figures, such as Luis Buñuel, Carlos Saura, or, more recently, Pedro Almodóvar. Such treatments are usually based on a combination of factors, the principal one being the assumption that, unlike France, Italy, England, or the United States, Spain was never one of the major industrial centers of film production. This argument is often supported by the assertion that, except for a few isolated figures, Spanish film has not spawned any truly international film movements equivalent to German Expressionism, Italian neorealism, or French poetic realism or the later New Wave. Rather, it is often implied that Spanish cinema has been a relatively inconsequential and imitative cinema, constrained by the weight of its history and politics.

The international commercial success of an increasing number of Spanish films since the 1970s has done much to shake off the image of Spanish cinema as a minor national cinema, as has the recognition given to Spanish films at important international film festivals. Interest in Spanish films has been further increased by their frequent nomination for Oscars by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, culminating in awards in 1983 and again in 1992 in the Best Foreign Film category.

Critical acclaim has been matched in recent years by the publication of a number of scholarly books on Spanish cinema. Among the works that present important and penetrating discussions of major figures, movements, and films are Peter Besas’s Behind the Spanish Lens (1985); John Hopewell’s Out of the Past: Spanish Cinema after Franco (1986); Virginia Higginbotham’s Spanish Film under Franco (1988), and Marsha Kinder’s Blood Cinema: The Reconstruction of National Identity in Spain (1993). Broad critical views of Spanish film history have been accompanied by other, more specialized studies of particular film-

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