Tuesday, 18 October 2011

New Book Added to List


Torres Hortelano, L.J. (ed.) (2011) - Directory of World Cinema: Spain, Bristol: Intellect. ISBN: 9781841504636

This book forms part of a relatively new series from Intellect looking at various world cinemas. The aim is that future volumes will be added to each country's directory every couple of years (this volume makes tentative references to possible subjects to be included in future editions). On the back cover it says: 'Each volume of the directory will take the form of a collection of reviews, longer essay, and research resources, accompanied by film stills highlighting significant films and players.'
The book is divided into different sections encompassing focusses on specific directors, locations, film festivals, cultural background, and genres. The genres (some of which are specific to Spain) form the backbone of the directory with the ten different genre sections including an essay and then reviews of ten films that fall within that genre (although this is sometimes 'loosely' / bizarrely interpreted -for example, how did Cesc Gay's En la ciudad come to be classified as 'Experimental Documentary'?). Although 100 films are included, the editor is very clear in saying that this is not a '100 Best Spanish Films' enterprise, but rather the intention is to give a flavour of the variety within Spanish cinema. Future volumes would look at different genres. One could argue about the omissions (I know that it is often said that Almodóvar overshadows everyone else, but to only include one Almodóvar film feels an overcorrection too far in the other direction -especially when other directors have multiple films included. Plus, the Torrente phenomenon deserves some coverage) but, as this is seen as a project that will develop over time, perhaps those absences will be addressed in the future ('films about the Civil War' is a category that is mentioned for inclusion in the possible second volume).
This is more a book to dip in and out of rather than to read cover to cover (I haven't read all of it yet), but it's probably a good starting point for someone who is interested in watching Spanish films but doesn't know where to begin. As is often the case with books with multiple contributors (70, in this case), the style and quality of the writing is variable (some of the reviews lean towards the descriptive rather than the analytical, others seem to have suffered in translation), but an interesting aspect to the collection of contributors is how many of them are Spanish; it is relatively rare to see Spanish views on Spanish cinema published in English. Overall, a good introduction to the variety that Spanish cinema has to offer, but more of a starting point for further investigation than a one-stop-shop.
The table of contents is below, and because the impetus behind my starting the book lists was my frustration with being unable to find out what films are covered in a particular book, I'm going to include the (original) film titles of those reviewed in the various sections (but not the contributor names because of the vast number).

Introduction by the Editor
Film of the Year: Biutiful
Interview with Jaime Rosales
Industry Spotlight: Spanish Film Production
Cultural Crossover
-Influence of European Avant-garde
-Representations of Violence
-Don Quixote Visual Ridings
Festival Focus
-Semana de Cine Experimental de Madrid / Experimental Film Week of Madrid
Film Location: Madrid
Directors:
-Edgar Neville
-Fernando Fernán-Gómez
-Carlos Saura
-Victor Erice
-Pedro Almodóvar
Auteur Melodrama / Melodrama de autor
-Essay
-Reviews (Jamón, jamón (Bigas Luna, 1992), Todo sobre mi madre (Almodóvar, 1999), Cielo negro (Mur Oti, 1951), Caótica Ana (Medem, 2007), La vida mancha (Urbizu, 2003), My Life Without Me (Coixet, 2003), La ardilla roja (Medem, 1993), The Secret Life of Words (Coixet, 2005), Things I Never Told You (Coixet, 1996), Las voces de la noche (García Ruiz, 2003)).
Grotesque Comedy / Esperpento
-Essay
-Reviews (Amanece, que no es poco (Cuerda, 1988), Atraco a las tres (Forqué, 1962), Belle epoque (Trueba, 1992), El verdugo (García Berlanga, 1963), El milagro de P Tinto (Fesser, 1998), La escopeta nacional (García Berlanga, 1978), Plácido (García Berlanga, 1961), La linea del cielo (Colomo, 1983), El extraño viaje (Fernán-Gómez, 1964), Los tramposos (Lazaga, 1959)).
Iberian Drama
-Essay
-Reviews (Solas (Zambrano, 1999), Alas de mariposa (Bajo Ulloa, 1991), En la ciudad sin límites (Hernández, 2002), Flores del otro mundo (Bollaín, 1999), La casa de Bernarda Alba (Camus, 1987), La caza (Saura, 1965), Los lunes al sol (León de Aranoa, 2002), Poniente (Gutiérrez, 2002), La soledad (Rosales, 2007), Viridiana (Buñuel, 1961)).
Musical (But Not Only Flamenco...)
-Essay
-Reviews (¡Ay, Carmela! (Saura, 1990), Morena clara (Rey, 1936), Flamenco (Saura, 1995), La niña de tus ojos (Trueba, 1998), Pena, penita, pena (Morayta, 1953), El otro lado de la cama (Martínez Lázaro, 2002), Shirley Temple Story (Padrós, 1976), Canciones para después de una guerra (Patino, 1976), Embrujo (Serrano de Osma, 1946)).
Period Films / De época
-Essay
-Reviews (Alatriste (Díaz Yanes, 2006), Bocage (Leitão de Barros, 1936), Vacas (Medem, 1992), El perro del hortelano (Miró, 1996), Honor de cavalleria (Serra, 2006), Los últimos de Filipinas (Román, 1945), Locura de amor (Orduña, 1948), Nuestra Señora de Fátima (Gil, 1951), Sin novedad en el Alcázar (Genina, 1940), You Are the One (Una historia de entonces) (Garci, 2000)).
Dictatorship Forgotten Cinema
-Essay
-Reviews (Un hombre va por el camino (Mur Oti, 1949), Carmen fra i rossi (Neville, 1939), Surcos (Nieves Conde, 1951), La vida en un hilo (Neville, 1945), Calle Mayor (Bardem, 1956), Marcelino pan y vino (Vajda, 1955), El clavo (Gil, 1944), Historias de la radio (Sáenz de Heredia, 1955), El espíritu de la colmena (Erice, 1973), Vida en sombras (Llobet Gracia, 1948)).
The Transition to Democracy Cinema / Cine de la Transición
-Essay
-Reviews (El desencanto (Chávarri, 1976), El bosque animado (Cuerda, 1987), Los santos inocentes (Camus, 1984), La vieja memoria (Camino, 1979), Furtivos (Borau, 1975), Arrebato (Zulueta, 1979), Los restos del naufragio (Franco, 1978), 7 días de enero (Bardem, 1979), Habla, mudita (Gutiérrez Aragón, 1973), El viaje a ninguna parte (Fernán-Gómez, 1986)).
Crime and Thriller
-Essay
-Reviews (Angustia (Bigas Luna, 1987), Bilbao (Bigas Luna, 1978), Domingo de carnaval (Neville, 1945), Muerte de un ciclista (Bardem, 1955), El cebo (Vajda, 1958), Nadie hablará de nosotras cuando hayamos muerto (Díaz Yanes, 1995), Los peces rojos (Nieves Conde, 1955), Soldados de Salamina (Trueba, 2003), Tesis (Amenábar, 1996), Los cronocrímenes (Vigalondo, 2007)).
Fantasy and Horror
-Essay
-Reviews (El día de la bestia (de la Iglesia, 1995), El espinazo del diablo (del Toro, 2001), La Residencia (Ibáñez Serrador, 1969), Acción mutante (de la Iglesia, 1993), El orfanato (Bayona, 2007), The Others (Amenábar, 2001), El laberinto del fauno (del Toro, 2006), La cabina (Mercero, 1972), [Rec] (Balagueró and Plaza, 2007), La torre de los siete jorobados (Neville, 1944)).
Experimental Documentary
-Essay
-Reviews (El cant dels ocells (Serra, 2008), Contactos (Viota, 1970), El sol del membrillo (Erice, 1992), En la ciudad (Gay, 2003), Las Hurdes. Tierra sin pan (Buñuel, 1933), Die stille vor Bach (Portabella, 2007), Tren de sombras: El espectro de Le Thuit (Guerín, 1997), Umbracle (Portabella, 1972), Un chien andalou (Buñuel, 1929), Aguaespejo granadino (Val de Omar, 1953-1955)).
Recommended Reading
Spanish Cinema Online
Notes on Contributors
Glossary
Filmography

The book has been added to the Books on Spanish Cinema, Part Two post.

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