Thursday, 8 December 2011

Another Book Added

Mira, A. (2010) -The A-Z of Spanish Cinema, Plymouth: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN: 9780810876224.

The merits of A-Z type compendiums have always appeared somewhat dubious to me as they usually tend towards the simplistic and obvious (although Routledge's Key Concepts series, which operates along similar lines, has always been excellent). Happily that is not the case here. I haven't come across The Scarecrow Press's A-Z series previously, but it covers a broad range of subjects -this book is no.244 in the series (nestled in between The A-Z of U.S. diplomacy from World War I through World War II and The A-Z of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation).
The book starts with a chronology of Spanish cinema between 1896 and 2008, then has a fairly substantial introductory chapter before moving onto the dictionary proper. The dictionary includes entries on key films, themes (including specifically Spanish terms such as costumbrismo), directors, writers, producers, and actors. I think it benefits from being the work of just one person because it feels like a unified whole with a consistent viewpoint and entries cross-referencing other entries. One can always quibble with what gets left out but actually the balance is pretty evenly struck between old and modern classics, and the range of individuals covered also feels varied (there is a mix of generations, but all are established names). But I think that the crowning glory is the 94-page bibliography. It is the most extensive and exhaustive bibliography on Spanish cinema that I've ever come across; I've been seeking these things out for years and this bibliography is seriously impressive (If you're the type of person who is impressed by bibliographies. Which I am). The bibliography is divided into several sections (some items appear in more than section): General and Reference; Origins and Silent Years (1896-1931); Republican Period and the Civil War (1931-1939); Early Francoism (1939-1960); The Desarrollismo Period and Late Francoism (1961-1975); Transition Period and Socialist Change (1975-1990); Recent Spanish Cinema (from 1990); Specific Filmmakers; Legislation and Economy; Autonomous Regions; Journals; Internet Sites. I've been merrily filling in Inter-Library Loan request forms ever since this book arrived through the post. If you're researching / interested in specific periods of Spanish cinema, or specific Spanish filmmakers, this book would be an excellent starting point.

This will be added to Books on Spanish Cinema, Part Two