Feminist Discourse and Spanish Cinema: Sight Unseen

Feminist Discourse and Spanish Cinema: Sight Unseen

Feminist Discourse and Spanish Cinema: Sight Unseen

Feminist Discourse and Spanish Cinema: Sight Unseen

Synopsis

Feminist Discourse and Spanish Cinema provides the first detailed consideration of women directors working before the Civil War and during Franco's dictatorship, and is the first to explore the impact of feminism on filmmaking in Spain. Part I focuses on three directors, Rosario Pi, Ana Mariscal, and Pilar Miro, whose careers span the history of sound cinema in Spain. The book highlights their struggle to achieve agency within the male-dominated film industry and draws on extensive archival research as well as in-depth textual analysis to reveal their negotiation with questions of authorship, female subjectivity and national cinema. Part II explores six films by women and men directors--three each from the Francoist and post-Franco periods--that foreground a number of issues of fundamental importance to feminism, from the indoctrination and "performance" of gender, to the fraught effort to reconcile power with sexual pleasure. The Afterword treats the remarkable recent boom in women directors and traces the shift in their work towards the exploration of multiple forms of difference.

Excerpt

In looking at the history of women in Spanish cinema, one is faced with the dismaying reality that the number of films directed by women is still much below the average for most European countries. . . in this context any notion of a 'feminist voice' within mainstream Spanish cinema has no meaning.

(Rosa Bosch, The Women's Companion to Intemational Film, 380)

Amidst fake palm trees, manufactured fog, and transplanted camels, Natalia, a fashion model, plays the role of an exotic Arabian beauty on a night-time commercial shoot on the outskirts of Barcelona. a passing motorcyclist in black leather stops to watch while the filming winds down, and then follows Natalia as she drives home along a remote highway. Playing cat and mouse with her car, the motorcyclist crashes onto the shoulder of the road. Natalia stops to help, chiding the young man for his foolish behaviour, and offers him a lift. Once they drive off, the motorcyclist grabs a nail file from Natalia's make-up kit, forces her to pull over, and rapes her. After he gets out of the car, Natalia vows to kill him, but she spends the rest of the film obsessively seeking out her rapist, with whom she has fallen in love. Over the course of her search she is raped several more times.

Kika is a sunny, good-hearted beautician who lives in Madrid with a younger man, the photographer Ramón.Paul Bazzo, a porn star on the lam, turns up at Kika's apartment, and with the unwitting cooperation of his sister (Kika's maid), rapes Kika repeatedly at knife-point. Kika struggles, physically and verbally, but is unable to dissuade her assailant from his mission, which is to break his personal record for successive orgasms. Meanwhile Ramón, who has been spying on Kika from his studio in a nearby building, informs the police of the rape. Two lackadaisical officers finally arrive and with much difficulty pull Paul . . .

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