Spanish Queer Cinema

Spanish Queer Cinema

Spanish Queer Cinema

Spanish Queer Cinema

Synopsis

There is a lot more to Spanish Queer Cinema than Pedro Almodóvar or the gay comedies of the 1990s. A wealth of short films, documentaries and features -- many by, for, or about lesbians -- is at the core of a creative culture responding to exceptionally intense social changes. The country has moved from institutionalising same-sex unions at the regional civic level (from 1998) to legal recognition of same-sex marriage (in 2005). Moving images and the debates and conversations around them have made a stand against homophobia and exclusion, responded to health and welfare crises, questioned or affirmed the value of same-sex marriage, and constructed new forms of love and community. They, and their audiences, build a new Spanish queer imagination. The book opens all this up, and shows some of the wider social contexts and forms of communication which underpin it.

Excerpt

This book is an analysis of the development of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Queer (LGBTQ) culture and film-making and film-watching in Spain from the end of the 1990s onwards. There are two reasons for the chosen period of coverage. Firstly, the 1990s were years of rising recognition for lesbian and gay, and New Queer, cinema worldwide, and Spain by the end of the decade had joined in; furthermore, 1998 was the year in which the Catalan government passed the first of a series of regional government laws in Spain on civil union, marking a substantial increase in the intensity and visibility of discourses – verbal and visual or performed – around lgbtq identities. Changes to the Spanish Civil Code were, famously, passed into law in July 2005, providing ‘access for same-sex married couples to rights of inheritance, residence, adoption of the other spouse’s children, tax benefits, and to divorce rights’ (Platero Méndez 2007b: 335). This sequence of surface events, with profound social and personal implications, created a ripple effect in the politics of the everyday and in the cultural expression and production of lgbtq Spain: unsurprisingly, the effect is felt and amplified in some films, or tellingly ignored or simplified in others. Chapter 1 links its discussion of ‘queer’ to this phenomenon of liberalisation in terms of rights, and takes into account the clashes and exchanges between ‘gay’, ‘queer’ and ‘lesbian’ cultures, and how these inform the notion of a Spanish queer cinema. Chapter 1, then, is concerned with post-identity politics modes of being as well as of post-gay lifestyle ways of behaving in community. It indicates where these developments manifest themselves in, and are themselves inspired by, films of many kinds. Chapter 2 looks back through the lens of some key film historical studies and cultural analyses on legacies beneficial and detrimental alike; it then turns about and looks at traces of both sorts of legacy in the 2000s and beyond. the emergence in my chosen period of filmic representations of trans lives – few, but very new – counterbalances earlier exploitative accounts and, in the context of a new Ley de Identidad de Género (2007) (Gender Identity Law) brings vital images of resistance to the . . .

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