Thursday, 12 April 2012

Another Book Added

Torres Hortelano, L. J. (ed) (2012) - World Film Locations: Madrid, Bristol: Intellect Books. ISBN: 9781841505688.

'When a book on cinema is launched, the first thing that one might try to do is figure out exactly what type of book it is. The book may be aimed at cinephiles, academic scholars or even those who just love to talk about movies. The World Film Locations series does not fit comfortably into any of those categories. What readers will find are the myths and the facts that explain what cinema is today through the representation of the city. We can see what remains today from the early twentieth up to the twenty-first century, and also what cinema has become. Movies are one of the most powerful cultural means of expression and catalyst for society. This series focuses on the representation of an area that was born alongside cinema: the city.' (p.5)

   Part cinematic appreciation, part travel guide, this book is effectively a love letter to Madrid and its various onscreen incarnations. It brings together seven bite-sized essays on various aspects of Madrid's representation(s) on film with an examination of forty-four scenes from different films. The introduction states that the 'criterion for the selection of films is not so much the length of footage that is dedicated to the city [...] but the importance of the scenarios, buildings or monuments in the narrative of the film, as well as the intrinsic role of the city of Madrid to the film as a whole' (p.5). The scenes are arranged throughout the book in chronological order (dating from 1912 to 2009), so we get a sense of change over time not just in terms of how the city has been utilised onscreen but also how the city itself has evolved. Each 'set' of scenes includes a map with the locations marked on it, and the two pages that each film receives include stills from the scene in question as well as photographs of the locations as they are today. The discussion of each scene is only a paragraph long but that's enough in most cases to give you a taste of the film and how the scene and its use of the city fit within the film overall. Having felt that Intellect's Directory of World Cinema: Spain was a bit light on a particular high-profile director, I was pleased to see that several of his films appear in this volume: a consideration of Madrid as a cinematic city would be seriously lacking if it did not give Pedro Almodóvar a certain prominence. But there are a range of films and directors included, including non-Spanish films that have sequences set in Madrid. Overall, I felt that the bite-sized essays take some interesting angles on the book's theme, and the scene discussions serve as a good taster for the films (there are certainly some that I haven't seen, but will now try to track down). Recommended.
I will add the title to the Books on Spanish Cinema, Part Two post. The list of contents (including film titles) is below.

Madrid: City of the Imagination -Lorenzo J. Torres Hortelano
Scenes 1-8 (1912-1951):
Asesinato y entierro de Don José de Canalejas / The Assassination and Burial of Don José de Canalejas (Enrique Blanco and Adelardo Fernández Arias, 1912), El sexto sentido / The Sixth Sense (Nemesio Sobrevilla, 1929), La verbena de la paloma / Fair of the Dove (Benito Perojo, 1935), La torre de los siete jorobados / Tower of the Seven Hunchbacks (Edgar Neville, 1943), Domingo de carnaval / Sunday Carnival (Edgar Neville, 1945), Siempre vuelven de madrugada / They Always Come at Dawn (Jerónimo Mihura, 1948), El último caballo / The Last Horse (Edgar Neville, 1950), Surcos / Furrows (José Antonio Nieves Conde, 1951).
Madrid in Motion: Squares, Corralas, Markets, Verbenas -José Luis Castro de Paz and José Ramón Garitaonaindía de Vera
Scenes 9-16 (1955-1965):
Muerte de un ciclista / Death of a Cyclist (Juan Antonio Bardem, 1955), El inquilino / The Tenant (José Antonio Nieves Conde, 1957), El pisito / The Little Apartment (Marco Ferreri, 1958), El cochecito / The Little Car (Marco Ferreri, 1960), The Happy Thieves (George Marshall, 1961), La gran familia / The Great Family (Fernando Palacios, 1962), El mundo sigue / Life Goes On (Fernando Fernán-Gómez, 1963), Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles, 1965).
Iván Zulueta: Films of Madrid's Underground -Steven Marsh
Scenes 17-24 (1967-1984):
La busca / The Search (Angelino Fons, 1967), Cría cuervos / Raise Ravens (Carlos Saura, 1976), Elisa, vida mía / Elisa, My Life (Carlos Saura, 1977), Ese oscuro objeto de deseo / That Obscure Object of Desire (Luis Buñuel, 1977), Asignatura pendiente / Unfinished Business (José Luis Garci, 1977), Maravillas (Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, 1980), Las bicicletas son para el verano / Bicycles Are For the Summer (Jaime Chávarri, 1984), ¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto!! / What Have I Done to Deserve This? (Pedro Almodóvar, 1984).
Embracing Normalcy: Madrid Gay Cinema at the Turn of the New Millennium -Helio San Miguel
Scenes 25-32 (1987-1997):
La ley del deso / Law of Desire (Pedro Almodóvar, 1987), Siesta (Mary Lambert, 1987), ¡Atame! / Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (Pedro Almodóvar, 1990), El día de la bestia / Day of the Beast (Álex de la Iglesia, 1995), La flor de mi secreto / The Flower of My Secret (Pedro Almodóvar, 1995), Nadie hablará de nosotras cuando hayamos muerto / Nobody Will Speak of Us When We Are Dead (Agustín Díaz Yanes, 1995), Tesis / Thesis (Alejandro Amenábar, 1996), Barrio / Neighbourhood (Fernando León de Aranoa, 1997).
Madrid: Unexpected Dream Factory -Helio San Miguel
Scenes 33-38 (1997-2002):
La buena estrella / Lucky Star (Ricardo Franco, 1997), Abre los ojos / Open Your Eyes (Alejandro Amenábar, 1997), Segunda piel / Second Skin (Gerardo Vera, 1999), El corazón del guerrero / Heart of the Warrior (Daniel Monzón, 2000), Lucía y el sexo / Sex and Lucía (Julio Medem, 2000), Hable con ella / Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar, 2002).
Beyond the Cliché: Madrid in Twenty-First Century American Thrillers -John D Sanderson
Scenes 39-44 (2003-2009):
Noviembre / November (Achero Mañas, 2003), Camarón (Jaime Chávarri, 2005), The Bourne Ultimatum (Paul Greengrass, 2007), Deception (Marcel Langenegger, 2008), Los abrazos rotos / Broken Embraces (Pedro Almodóvar, 2009), The Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch, 2009).
Bright Young Things: Neo-existentialism in Madrid Cinema of the 1990s -Rafael Gómez Alonso
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