Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Conquering the Conquerors: Ricardo Darín's Rise to Stardom in Spanish Film Culture 1

Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Conquering the Conquerors: Ricardo Darín's Rise to Stardom in Spanish Film Culture 1

Article excerpt

Abstract

In the past two decades, Ricardo Darín has become a recurring figure in Spanish film culture. His appeal is due to a mixture of his 'guy next door' charisma; the strong influence of a large migration of Argentines to the Iberian Peninsula after its incorporation into the European Union, and later due to the 'crisis of 2001'; and the growing connections between the representatives of the Spanish and the Argentine film industries. This article explores the reception of Darín's image in both specialized and general public media with the aim of questioning how the impact of socio-economic circumstances and the dynamics of the cinematographic industry on the reception of foreign actors reflects and refracts the collective Spanish imaginary at times of intense migration on both sides of the Atlantic.

Resumen

En las últimas décadas, Ricardo Darín se ha convertido en una figura recurrente en la cultura fílmica española. Su atractivo se debe a una combinación del carisma del 'chico de al lado' con una fuerte influencia de la migración de argentinos a la península Ibérica después de su incorporación a la Unión Europea y luego a causa de la crisis del 2001, como así también a las crecientes interrelaciones entre los representantes de ambas industrias cinematográficas. El siguiente artículo se propone explorar la recepción de la imagen de Darín tanto en los medios especializados como en la prensa general con el fin de interrogar de qué manera el impacto del contexto socio-económico y las dinámicas de la industria cinematográfica refleja o refracta el imaginario español colectivo en un momento de intensa migración a ambos lados del Atlántico.

With his jacket hanging from one hand over his shoulder, Ricardo Darín walked through one of the many photocalls at the 2012 San Sebastian International Film Festival looking relaxed, as if he were strolling alone smoking a cigarette. The constant shouting of: 'Ricardo! Ricardo!' received a quick answer back: 'Sorry, I'm in a hurry. I have to meet Dustin Hoffman! Ahhhh!' (TVE 1: daily news, September 2012). Mirroring the same fan-frantic reaction of the public shouting his name, Darín positioned himself as just another fan about to meet a movie star. This ordinary-guy aura he emanates is part of the constructed on-and-off screen character that has captivated Spanish audiences since the end of the 1990s.

Darín's appeal in Spain is due not only to the 'guy-next-door' charisma but also to a mixture of the strong influence of a large migration of Argentines to the Iberian Peninsula after its incorporation into the European Union, and later due to the 'crisis of 2001', as well as the growing connections between the local Spanish institutions and the representatives of the Argentine film industry. Bearing this in mind, this article explores the reception of Darín in both specialized film literature and general public media, taking into consideration not only the films that have been shown in Spain but also his participation in major cinematographic events, such as the Goya awards and the San Sebastian film festival. By analysing the treatment of Darín's public image, this text aims to question how the impact of socio-economic circumstances and the dynamics of the cinematographic industry on the reception of foreign actors reflects and refracts the collective Spanish imaginary at times of intense migration on both sides of the Atlantic.

A Rising Star

Darín appeared for the first time in Spanish film theatres in 1994 with Perdido por perdido/Nothing to Lose directed by Alberto Lecchi. At that time, Argentine films were slowly starting to gain more attention, thanks to the huge success of Un lugar en el mundo/ A Place in the World (1992), a film directed by Adolfo Aristarain which attracted an outstanding number of half a million spectators in commercial theatres (Colmena 2013; Elena 2011: 42).2 Inspired by those figures, and considering that Lecchi was one of the scriptwriters of Aristarain's film, Perdido was destined to be one of only two Argentine films that made it to the big screen that year. …

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