Friday, 1 March 2013

New Book

Labanyi, Jo and Tatjana Pavlović (ed.s) (2013) - A Companion to Spanish Cinema, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd. ISBN: 9781405194389

    I mentioned this book at the end of last year as one that I was hoping to get hold of through the library due to its prohibitive price (£120) - I clearly timed my request well in the lull after New Year because it arrived a few days later. In fairness, although I regularly carp on about the price of film books, this one is substantial in both size (more than 600 pages) and content. The book takes a thematic approach with chapters divided into sections written by different authors - although the contents of the chapters generally progress chronologically (in terms of the history of Spanish cinema and also in their use of films as case studies), the range of authors (with distinct points of view) involved allows a multi-faceted take on Spanish cinema to develop. The editors underline that this melange of voices was part of the intention of the book, saying that:
'In keeping with the aim of showcasing different models of analysis, the essays in the volume bring together outstanding scholars - established and young - from Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Just as the volume stresses the transnationalism of Spanish cinema, we have wanted to offer readers a sample of the best scholarship in all three national critical traditions. In presenting a wide range of critical approaches, we aim not only to give a rounded picture of Spanish cinema but also to offer readers a sense of the possibilities open to them in their own future critical work. We have deliberately not tried to iron out the differences of approach between our twenty-six contributors, since we regard these differences as one of the volume's strengths' (p.11)
Whatever your own particular area of interest (for example, directors or actors, genre, or maybe the more technical side of filmmaking) in Spanish cinema, you will find something in this book for you; ideas of 'national cinema', directors, and star theory are of specific interest to me, but I also became engrossed in the chapters on genre, television, and the technical aspects of image and sound. Each section includes a bibliography and there is also a 'further reading' list at the end of each chapter. Unusually for me, I didn't find myself skimming vast swathes of the book - I think that the mix of voices (and also the broad range of films analysed) kept me engaged but I was also genuinely interested in the topics covered. Recommended (although from a library - much as I enjoyed reading it, I couldn't pay that much for it).
   As is usually the case with book posts, I am including the table of contents below - I am using the same format as the book itself, so although the authors for each chapter are indicated, the titles of their individual sections are not given. I will add the book to part 2 of the 'Books on Spanish Cinema' post.

1: Introduction - Jo Labanyi and Tatjana Pavlović
Part I: Reframing the National
2: Transnational Frameworks - Gerard Dapena, Marvin D'Lugo, and Alberto Elena
3: Echoes and Traces: Catalan Cinema, or Cinema in Catalonia - Brad Epps
4: Negotiating the Global and the Local: Andalusia, the Basque Country, and Galicia - José Colmeiro and Joseba Gabilondo
Part II: The Construction of the Auteur
5: Auteurism and the Construction of the Canon - Marvin D'Lugo and Paul Julian Smith
6: Strategic Auteurism - Antonio Lázaro-Reboll, Steven Marsh, Susan Martin-Márquez, and Santos Zunzunegui
Part III: Genre
7: Comedy and Musicals - Steven Marsh, Chris Perriam, Eva Woods Peiró, and Santos Zunzunegui
8: Melodrama and Historical Film - Jo Labanyi, Annabel Martín, and Vicente Rodríguez Ortega
9: Film Noir, the Thriller, and Horror - Jo Labanyi, Antonio Lázaro-Reboll, and Vicente Rodríguez Ortega
Part IV: Stars as Cultural Icons
10: The Construction of the Star System - Kathleen M. Vernon and Eva Woods Peiró
11: Stars, Modernity, and Celebrity Culture - Tatjana Pavlović, Chris Perriam, and Nuria Triana Toribio
Part V: Image and Sound
12: Photography, Production Design, and Editing - Vicente Sánchez-Biosca
13: Soundtrack - Román Gubern and Kathleen M. Vernon
Part VI: The Film Apparatus: Production, Infrastructure, and Audiences
14: Censorship, Film Studios, and Production Companies - Josetxo Cerdán, Román Gubern, Jo Labanyi, Steven Marsh, Tatjana Pavlović, and Nuria Triana Toribio
15: Film Clubs, Festivals, Archives, and Magazines - Ferran Alberich, Román Gubern, and Vicente Sánchez-Biosca
16: Audiences - Manuel Palacio and Kathleen M. Vernon
Part VII: Relations with Other Media
17: Cinema, Popular Entertainment, Literature, and Television - Sally Faulkner, Vicente Sánchez-Biosca, and Paul Julian Smith
Part VIII: Beyond the Fiction Film
18: Newsreels, Documentary, Experimental Film, Shorts, and Animation - Josetxo Cerdán and Vicente Sánchez-Biosca
Part IX: Reading Films Through Theory
19: Isabel Coixet's Engagement with Feminist Film Theory: From G (the Gaze) to H (the Haptic) - Susan Martin-Márquez
20: Becoming a Queer (M)Other in/and/through Film: Transsexuality, Trans-subjectivity, and Maternal Relationality in Almodóvar's Todo sobre mi madre - Julián Daniel Gutiérrez-Albilla
21: The Space of the Vampire: Materiality and Disappearance in the Films of Iván Zulueta - Brad Epps