Thursday, 14 April 2011

Books on Spanish Cinema, Part One

This post is inspired by my attempts a couple of weeks ago to discover which films were covered in an edited collection of articles on Spanish films. I was looking for info about / analysis of La madre muerta and I knew that the book in question looked at key Spanish films –but could I find a list of contents anywhere? No. Not on Amazon, not on the publisher’s website, not on the public library catalogue. I eventually tracked down a copy in one of the university libraries in this city (it didn’t have anything about La madre muerta, incidentally), but this reminded me that the recurring problem that I have had when buying books about Spanish cinema, especially when the books are in Spanish, is that I effectively have to buy ‘blind’ because there is so little information about the book available online. This is especially true on websites such as Casa del Libro, which lists very little information beyond author, title, and publisher, but Amazon is equally as bad with edited collections (where you are often given no indication of what topics are included, or who has written the various articles) and books not in English. Note to publishers: putting some kind of content information online would net you more sales.
So, I’ve decided to be helpful (at least, this would have been helpful to me in the past).
What I’m going to do is this: with books that are written by one author, I will write a (very) brief summary of the book; with the edited collections, I will include the list of contents; and if an article is available online, I will link to it. I’m not going to translate the titles of articles that are in Spanish because there is little point given that the article itself will also be in Spanish. The aim for this resource is that it will be a cross between a recommended reading list and an annotated bibliography –I may write some book reviews of some of the books included at a later date, but that is not the purpose of this particular post.
First up will be books / articles that are about Spanish cinema in general (I will post something about books on directors / actors / specific films at a later date) –this is going to be split across more than one post because I’ve got rather a long list. The books / articles are being chosen by two criteria: 1) I’ve read them and currently have access to a copy (I can’t get the information without the physical copy) and 2) they relate to the period that I’ve said this blog is going to cover (the last twenty years). The latter point is why some older books by significant authors are not included. The list is in alphabetical order by author because that’s the most straightforward way to do it. If you think that I’ve left a glaring omission (especially for books in Spanish –buying blind means that my collection is a bit hit and miss), please leave a comment below. Likewise, if you’ve got something to say about the books included, please join in as well!
If you’re in the UK, most of these books can be obtained from the British Library via the Inter-Library Loan system. If you want to buy any, I’d recommend comparing the prices available between Amazon, Casa del Libro, Ocho y Medio, The Book Depository, Alibris, and Abe Books –there are bargains to be had if you do some searching (but likewise there are some people –on Amazon in particular- selling second-hand copies for absurdly high prices).
Ok, let’s get started!

Part One: Authors A-J

Alonso García, L. (ed) (2003) –Once miradas sobre la crisis y el cine español, Madrid: Ocho y medio. ISBN: 9788495839435 [Eleven Views on the Crisis and Spanish Cinema]
Half of the authors in this collection don’t believe that ‘Spanish cinema’ exists as a coherent entity, and the other half believe that it exists but don’t seem overly keen on it. But there is some insightful analysis here and, even if you disagree with some of the arguments, all of them are persuasively written –one of my best blind buys.
Una adormilada serpiente en invierno –Luis Alonso García [Intro]
La crisis: situaciones y contextos
La crisis como flujo –José Luis Castro de Paz & Josetxo Cerdán
Una crisis tan interminable como enmascarada –Txomin Ansola González
¿Dónde está el enemigo del cine español? –Emilio C. García Fernández
¡No encuentro el punto de giro! –Carmen Arocena
Sensaciones y propuestas de un espectador –Francisco Javier Gómez Tarín
Las crisis y el abanino –Alejandro Montiel
Nuestro cinema: identidades y oquedades
Lo nuestro y lo ajeno: cine, cultura, y nacionalidad –Joan M. Minguet Batllori
La crisis imaginada de un cine sin público –Josep Lluís Fecé & Cristina Pujol
Sobre el discurso de la crisis  lo que no oculta –Eva Larrondo Copel
El censo, el mapa y el museo –Begoña Soto Vázquez
Los bajos fondos del cinema –Luis Alonso García

Balfour, S. and A. Quiroga (2007) – The Reinvention of Spain: Nation and Identity since Democracy, Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780199206674
This book isn’t about Spanish cinema but it is the most interesting (and readable) book I’ve read about the reinvention of national identities in contemporary Spain –highly recommended and well worth reading if you’re considering Spanish cinema in terms of national cinemas / cultures. 

Beck, J. and V. Rodríguez Ortega (ed.s) (2008) –Contemporary Spanish Cinema and Genre, Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press. ISBN: 9780719077753
Introduction –Jay Beck & Vicente Rodríguez Ortega
Part 1: Industry, marketing and film culture
The Fantastic Factory: the horror genre and contemporary Spanish cinema –Andrew Willis
Trailing the Spanish auteur: Almodóvar’s, Amenábar’s and de la Iglesia’s generic routes in the US markets - Vicente Rodríguez Ortega
‘Now playing everywhere’: the Spanish horror film in the marketplace –Antonio Lázaro-Reboll
Part 2: Generic hybridity: negotiating the regional, the national and the transnational
From Sevilla to the world: the transnational and the transgeneric initiative of La Zanfoña Producciones –Josetxo Cerdán and Miguel Fernández Labayen
Justino, un asesino de la tercera edad: Spanishness, dark comedy and horror –Juan F. Egea
Tracing the past, dealing with the present: notes on the political thriller in contemporary Spanish cinema –Vicente J. Benet
Selling out Spain: screening capital and culture in Airbag and Smoking Room –William J. Nichols
Part 3: Genre and authorship
The transvestite figure and film noir: Pedro Almodóvar’s transnational imaginary –Carla Marcantonio
Caressing the text: episodic erotics and generic structures in Ventura Pons’s ‘Minimalist Trilogy’ –David Scott Diffrient
Horror of allegory: The Others and its contexts –Ernesto R. Acevedo-Muñoz
Love, loneliness and Laundromats: affect and artifice in the melodramas of Isabel Coixet –Belén Vidal
Part 4: Multilingual imaginaries, borderless Spain
Dancing with ‘Spanishness’: Hollywood codes and the site of memory in the contemporary film musical –Pietsie Feenstra
Immigration films: communicating conventions of (in)visibility in contemporary Spain –Maria Van Liew
Spanish-Cuban co-productions: tourism, transnational romance and anxieties of authenticity –Mariana Johnson

Benet, V.J. (2001) –‘El malestar del entretenimiento’, Archivos de la filmoteca, no.39 (October), pp.40-53. [Added 14th June 2011]
[Taken from the official abstract] This article looks at various film adaptations of Spanish novels, specifically those of Ray Loriga and José Ángel Mañas. The analysis examines the values and symbols reflected in these films, which differ significantly from films made during the Spanish transition to democracy. The article situates the relationship between these films and their literary sources within an economic perspective, taking leisure and entertainment as key cultural concepts.

Caparrós Lera, J.M. (2005) – La Pantalla Popular: El cine español durante el Gobierno de la derecha (1996-2003), Madrid: Ediciones Akal, S.A. ISBN: 9788446024149
Offers critical analysis of 69 key films made between 1996-2003 when the Partido Popular were in government (the Socialists regained power in 2004) as well as chapters on the Almodóvar phenomenon, José Luis Garci, Joven Cine Español [Young Spanish Cinema] (i.e. the influx of new directors in this era), and an historical overview of the Spanish film industry during this period.

Davies, A. (ed.) (2010) –Spain on Screen: Developments in Contemporary Spanish Cinema, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN: 9780230236202 [Added 5th May 2011]
This collection stems from a one-day symposium on contemporary Spanish cinema held at Newcastle University in July 2008. I was in the audience at that symposium and there were some very interesting discussions –these articles are mainly extended versions of the papers given that day (with a few written especially for this book).
Introduction: The Study of Contemporary Spanish Cinema –Ann Davies
Audiences, Film Culture, Public Subsidies: The End of Spanish Cinema? –Barry Jordan
Al mal tiempo, buena cara: Spanish Slackers, Time-images, New Media and the New Cinema Law –Rob Stone
Re-visions of Teresa: Historical Fiction in Television and Film –Paul Julian Smith
The Final Girl and Monstrous Mother of El orfanato –Ann Davies
Ensnared Between Pleasure and Politics: Looking for Chicas Bigas Luna, Re-viewing Bambola –Santiago Fouz-Hernández
Javier Bardem: Costume, Crime, and Commitment –Chris Perriam
Children of Exile: Trauma, Memory and Testimony in Jaime Camino’s Documentary Los niños de Rusia (2001) –Julián Daniel Gutiérrez-Albilla

Evans, P.W. (2004) – Jamón, jamón, Barcelona: Ediciones Paidós. ISBN: 9788484893028
Yes, I did say that I would leave books on individual films for a later post, but I wanted to point out that there is a Spanish equivalent of the BFI Classics series –a series of monographs on key films. Like the BFI series, the Paidós collection selects films from all over the world, but there are several Spanish films included (for example, Viridiana, El espíritu de la colmena, Todo sobre mi madre, and Jamón, jamón). Paidós seem to have been taken over by another publisher, or at least their old website has disappeared, but you can find the books on Amazon by entering ‘Paidós Ibérica’ under Publisher in the advanced search and then selecting ‘Music, Stage, & Screen’ in the results categories.

Evans, P.W. (ed.) (1999) –Spanish Cinema: The Auteurist Tradition, Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN: 019818414X
This covers from 1952 to the mid-1990s and has been a set text on undergraduate Spanish cinema modules since its publication.
Prologue: The Long March of the Spanish Cinema towards Itself –José Luis Borau
Introduction –Peter William Evans
¡Bienvenido Mr Marshall! (Berlanga, 1952) –Wendy Rolph
In Search of a New Spanish Realism: Bardem’s Calle Mayor (1956) –Stephen Roberts
Saura’s Los golfos (1959; released 1962): Heralding a New Cinema for the 1960s –Maria Delgado
Culture and Acculturation in Manuel Summers’s Del rosa…al amarillo (1963) –Susan Martin-Márquez
Fetishism and the Problem of Sexual Difference in Buñuel’s Tristana (1970) –Jo Labanyi
Between Metaphysics and Scientism: Rehistoricizing Víctor Erice’s El espíritu de la colmena (1973) –Paul Julian Smith
Furtivos (Borau, 1975): My Mother, my Lover –Peter William Evans
Sex Change and Cultural Transformation in Aranda and Abril’s Cambio de sexo (1977) –Marsha Kinder
Feminism, Politics, and Psychosis in Fernán-Gómez’s Mi hija Hildegart (1977) –Dominic Keown
El corazón del bosque (Gutiérrez Aragón, 1979): Mist, Myth, and History –John Hopewell
Female Subjectivity in Gary Cooper que estás en los cielos (Miró, 1980) –Rikki Morgan
Re-imagining the Community: Imanol Uribe’s La muerte de Mikel (1983) and the Cinema of Transition –Marvin D’Lugo
Epílogo (Suárez, 1984) –Xon de Ros
¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto? (Almodóvar, 1984) –Núria Triana-Toribio
La vida alegre (Colomo, 1986) –Robin Fiddian
Las cosas del querer (Chávarri, 1989) –Chris Perriam
Motherland: Space, Femininity, and Spanishness in Jamón, jamón (Bigas Luna, 1992) –Celestino Deleyto
Promiscuity, Pleasure, and Girl Power: Fernando Trueba’s Belle Epoque (1992) –Barry Jordan
Julio Medem’s Vacas (1991): Historicizing the Forest –Isabel C. Santaolalla
The Eroteticism of Nadie hablará de nosotras cuando hayamos muerto (Díaz Yanes, 1995) –Bernard P.E. Bentley

Faulkner, S. (2013) - A History of Spanish Film: Cinema and Society 1910-2010, London: Bloomsbury. ISBN: 9780826416674
   This book uses the concept of Spanish middlebrow cinema to explore the representation of class and social mobility across a century of Spanish cinema. By focussing on 'an original terrain that was in-between previous "art" and "popular" alternatives', Faulkner traces the 'middlebrow' through Spanish cinema from the 1970s onwards, arguing for the presence of a greater consistency and continuity in the Spanish cinematic output than is usually taken to be the case.
    The close textual analysis in combination with a nuanced reading of production, reception and changes in taste in Spain gives new insights into a range of films, including those that have already had acres written about them. A really interesting read.

Introduction: Cinema and Society 1910-2010
1. Questions of Class and Questions of Art in Early Cinema
       Blood and Sand (Sangre y arena -André and Ibáñez, 1916)
       Don Juan Tenorio (de Baños, 1922)
       The Grandfather (El abuelo -Buchs, 1925)
       The Mystery of the Puerta del Sol (El misterio de la Puerta del Sol - Elías, 1929)
       The Cursed Village (La aldea maldita -Rey, 1930)
       The Fair of the Dove (La verbena de la paloma -Perojo, 1935)
2. Social Mobility and Cinema of the 1940s and 1950s: Consolation and Condemnation
       The Nail (El clavo -Gil, 1944)
       She, He and His Millions (Ella, él y sus millones -Orduña, 1944)
       From Woman to Woman (De mujer a mujer -Lucia, 1950)
       Furrows (Surcos -Nieves Conde, 1951)
       That Happy Couple (Esa pareja feliz -Bardem and Berlanga, 1951)
       Main Street (Calle mayor -Bardem, 1956)
3. Charting Upward Social Mobility: 1960s Films about the Middle Classes and the Middlebrow
       Plácido (Berlanga, 1961)
       Life Goes On (El mundo sigue -Fernán Gómez, 1963)
       Summer Night (Noche de verano -Grau, 1962)
       The Happy Sixties (Los felices sesenta -Camino, 1963)
       City Life is not for Me (La cuidad no es para mí -Lazaga, 1966)
       Marisol's Four Weddings (Las cuatro bodas de Marisol -Lucia, 1967)
4. The 'Third Way' and the Spanish Middlebrow Film in the 1970s
       Tristana (Buñuel, 1970)
       Tormento (Olea, 1974)
       Spaniards in Paris (Españolas en París -Bodegas, 1971)
       My Dearest Señorita (Mi Querida Señorita -Armiñán, 1972)
       Unfinished Business (Asignatura pendiente -Garci, 1977)
       Daddy's War (La guerra de papá -Mercero, 1977)
5. Miró Films and Middlebrow Cinema in the 1980s
       First Work (Ópera prima -Trueba, 1980)
       Blood Wedding (Bodas de sangre -Saura, 1981)
       The Beehive (La colmena -Camus, 1982)
       Diamond Square (La plaza del diamante -Betriu, 1982)
       Mambrú Went to War (Mambrú se fue a la guerra -Fernán Gómez, 1986)
       Half of Heaven (La mitad del cielo -Gutiérrez Aragón, 1986)
6. Middlebrow Cinema of the 1990s: From Miró to Cine social
       The Dumbfounded King (El rey pasmado -Uribe, 1991)
       The Flower of My Secret (La flor de mi secreto -Almodóvar, 1995)
       The Dog in the Manger (El perro del hortelano -Miró, 1996)
       The Grandfather (El abuelo -Garci, 1998)
       A Time for Defiance (La hora de los valientes -Mercero, 1998)
       Alone (Solas -Zambrano, 1999)
7. From Cine social to Heritage Cinema in Films of the 2000s
       Mondays in the Sun (Los lunes al sol -León de Aranoa, 2002)
       Take My Eyes (Te doy mis ojos -Bollaín, 2003)
       Carol's Journey (El viaje de Carol -Uribe, 2002)
       Soldiers of Salamina (Los soldados de Salamina -Trueba, 2003)
       Alatriste (Díaz Yanes, 2006)
       Lope (Waddington, 2010)

Fecé, J.L. (2005) –‘La excepción y la norma. Reflexiones sobre la españolidad de nuestro cine reciente’, Archivos de la Filmoteca, No. 49, February, pp.82-95.
[From the official abstract] Over the past two years Spanish cinema has claimed to be in crisis, or more specifically a cultural crisis. In this regard, it points to its own supposed role as “a spearhead in defending national cultural identity and a powerful tool for promoting the image and language(s) of Spain abroad”. This paper examines the identity of contemporary Spanish cinema, or its “Spanishness”. Taking Hobsbawm’s concept of “invented tradition” as a starting point, it aims to show that this “Spanishness” and the supposed tradition(s) of Spanish cinema are largely an elitist construct, to which it may be seen that the majority of contemporary productions do not adhere.

Feenstra, P. and H. Hermans (ed.s) (2008) –Miradas sobre pasado y presente en el cine español (1990-2005), Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi. ISBN: 9789042024731
Another lucky blind buy –a good combination of articles on a range of films.
La migración del cine español –Pietsie Feenstra & Hub. Hermans
La definitiva renovación generacional (1990-2005) –Eduardo Rodríguez Merchán & Gema Fernández-Hoya
El pasado filmado
Silencio roto (Montos Armendáriz): imperativos del relato y políitica de la memoria –Vicente Sánchez-Biosca
Lenguajes de la memoria en El grito del sur: Casas Viejas de Basilio Martín Patino –Pilar García Jiménez
Jaime Camino, Los niños de Rusia (2001), siguiendo el camino de la memoria –Bénédicte Brémard
El silencio llevado a cine: Cercas, Trueba y los Soldados de Salamina –Hub. Herman
‘Coreografías-monumentales’ en La nina de tus ojos (1998) de Fernando Trueba –Pietsie Feenstra
Carlos Saura o el arte de heredar –Nancy Berthier
El presente filmado
Ficción: discursos diversos sobre temas sociales
‘La estética de lo híbrido’ en Hable con ella de Pedro Almodóvar –Isabel Maurer Queipo
¡Viva la diferencia (sexual)! o El otro lado de la cama (Emilio Martínez-Lázaro, 2002) –Marina Díaz López
La soledad a través de la cámara: Solas (1999) de Benito Zambrano –Verena Berger
Cineastas españolas que filman en inglés: Isabel Coixet –María Camí-Vela
Poniente (2002) de Chus Gutiérrez: ‘En España no hay racismo…’ –Lorenzo Javier Torres Hortelano
Documentales ficticios
¡Hay motivo! (2004): un macrotexto de cine militante –Román Gubert
Volar sobre el conflicto vasco: La pelota vasca. La piel contra la piedra / Euskal Pilota. Larrua Harriaren Kontra (Julio Medem, 2003) –Josetxo Cerdán
El cine de denuncia social en España: el caso de Te doy mis ojos de Icíar Bollaín –Pascale Thibaudeau
Fernando León de Aranoa: Princesas (2005) y el realismo tímido en el cine español –Àngel Quintana
Mar adentro (Alejandro Amenábar, 2004) y las zozobras del cine español –José Luis Castro de Paz

Fernández-Santos, Á. (2007) –La mirada encendida: escritos sobre cine, Barcelona: Random House Mondadori, S.A. ISBN: 9788483067291
A collection of writings / reviews by the man who was the main film critic at El País for almost twenty-five years (he passed away in 2004) –always insightful, and sometimes sharp enough to make you wince. The book has a large section on Spanish cinema –also try searching for his name on the El País site, although you will undoubtedly also call up articles by his daughter Elsa (a fine writer in her own right) as well.

Fouz-Hernández, S. and A. Martínez-Expósito (2007) – Live Flesh: The Male Body in Contemporary Spanish Cinema, London & New York: I.B. Tauris. ISBN: 9781845114503
[Taken from the blurb on the back] ‘The book’s point of focus is Spanish films from the democratic period, both popular, made by directors of national and international prominence, such as Pedro Almodóvar, Alejandro Amenábar, Bigas Luna, or Julio Medem, as well as films featuring acclaimed actors who have contributed to the construction of contemporary ideas of the masculine in their country, including Antonio Banderas and Javier Bardem.’ –basically, it examines the reimagining / reshaping of ideas of masculinity in post-Franco Spain through the medium of film. Most of the examples / case studies used are from the 1990s to the present. Recommended.

Gámez Fuentes, M.J. (2001) –‘No todo sobre las madres: cine español y género de los noventa’, Archivos de la filmoteca, no.39 (October), pp.68-85. [Added 14th June 2011]
[Taken from the official abstract] This paper analyses the various images of motherhood through their configuration in ‘90s films such as El pájaro de la felicidad (1993), Nadie hablará de nosotras cuando hayamos muerto (1995), Solas (1999) and Todo sobre mi madre (1999). The different figures are considered as cultural products which articulate tensions contextualized at a particular historical moment: the consolidation of democracy in Spain. Through a detailed study of the maternal, such issues as job access, geographical origin and sexual identity are discussed within the framework of the private and public negotiations women are to be faced with in the new welfare state. The legacy of the dictatorial past is, undoubtedly, a question that also permeates the construction of female narratives -unfolded here in personal and historical complexity.

Heredero, C. F. (1997) –Espejo de miradas: Entrevistas con nuevos directores del cine español de los años noventa, Spain: Festival de Cine de Alcalá de Henares. ISBN: 8487153992.
This particular author is a prolific writer on the subject of Spanish cinema, especially in relation to directors –so I will return to some of his other work when I post a book list for directors. In this book he interviews (at length –it’s a massive book) the following directors: Alejandro Amenábar, Juanma Bajo Ulloa, Mariano Barroso, Icíar Bollaín, Daniel Calparsoro, Isabel Coixet, Agustín Díaz Yanes, Manuel Gómez Pereira, Chus Gutiérrez, Álex de la Iglesia, Fernando León de Aranoa, Julio Medem, Gracia Querejeta, David Trueba, and Enrique Urbizu. It also has an overview of the influx of new directors in Spanish cinema of the 1990s and biographical dictionary of other new directors from the period.

Hooper, J. (2006) –The New Spaniards –second edition, London: Penguin Books. 9780141016092
Again, another book that is not specifically about Spanish cinema, but an excellent guide to understanding Spanish culture and society.

ICAA (2004) – The Spanish Film Industry 1996-2003: Trends, Ministerio de Cultura. [clicking on the title will take you to a PDF of the report in English]
Looks at Spanish cinema in terms of box office / audience figures between 1996 and 2003, as well as funding / programming initiatives. If you like box office stats, this is a good place to start. You can also look up the box office / audience figures for specific films by going to the Ministry of Culture  > Cine & audio-visuales (in the navigation bar on the left) > Datos de películas calificadas (navigation bar) > Acceso a la base de datos… (centre of page) > Enter the title (in Spanish –if you don’t know what it is, it will say somewhere on the IMDb page for the film) and click on ‘buscar’ at the bottom > Page of results (click on relevant title) > Totales espectadores = ‘total spectators’, recaudación = ‘box office takings’.

Jordan, B. and M. Allinson (2005) – Spanish Cinema: A student’s guide, London: Hodder Arnold. 9780340807453
As the title suggests, this book is aimed at students studying Spanish cinema, but there’s plenty here for anyone interested in the subject. It gives an overview of basic concepts in film studies applied to Spanish films (such as El día de la bestia (de la Iglesia, 1995), Los santos inocentes (Camus, 1982), Carne trémula (Almodóvar, 1997), and La ardilla roja (Medem, 1993), to name but a few) but also looks at specifically Spanish terms and offers an overall history of Spanish cinema from 1896 to 2003. Case studies on individual filmmakers / actors include: Pedro Almodóvar, Luis Buñuel, Víctor Erice, Alfredo Landa, and Carmen Maura. Has a helpful glossary and also a list of useful websites.

Part two of this list should be up either tomorrow or the day after! UPDATE: Part Two is here.