Thursday, 5 September 2013

New Book - A History of Spanish Film: Cinema and Society 1910-2010

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: 'A History of Spanish Film explores, first, the cinema's representation of upwardly and downwardly mobile groups on-screen, and places this representation, second, alongside class realignments in Spanish society off-screen' (p.1). As Faulkner points out in her introduction, by examining Spanish cinema decade-by-decade rather than the traditional narrative of 'key dates' approach (often centring on whether a film is pre- or post-1975), she manages to uncover continuities at the beginning and end of the 1970s. But by focussing on 'an original terrain that was in-between previous "art" and "popular" alternatives' she also 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. From a personal perspective, the section on Los lunes al sol, which I'm intending to write about in relation to Javier Bardem's performance style, has given me much food for thought not least because it offers a more positive interpretation of its fusing of social realism and melodrama (much decried by the likes of Ángel Quintana and others) and has pointed me in the direction of other useful sources on the film as well. I'm also planning to track down some of the films that I haven't seen. A really interesting read.
As usual, I'm listing the table of contents below - I've listed the films English title first because that's how it's done in the book (I usually put the Spanish title first).

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)

I will add the book to part 1 of the book list.

I've been building up quite a stockpile of books on Spanish cinema recently, partly because there have been an unusually high number published this year, but also because I'm trying to expand my knowledge (concentrated on 1992 onwards) backwards to encompass the 1980s and 1970s. The more-recently published books on my 'to be read' pile include:

Delgado, M.M. and R. Fiddian (ed.s) (2013) - Spanish Cinema 1973-2010: Auteurism, politics, landscape and memory, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Maurer Queipo, I. (ed) (2013) - Directory of World Cinema: Latin America, Bristol: Intellect Press.
Palacio, M. (ed) (2011) - El cine y la transición política en España 1975-1982, Madrid: Editorial Biblioteca Nueva, S.L.
Huerta Floriano, M.Á. and E. Pérez Morán (ed.s) (2012) - El "cine de barrio" tardofranquista: Reflejo de una sociedad, Madrid: Editorial Biblioteca Nueva, S.L.
Aguilar, J. (2012) - Las estrellas del destape y la transición: El cine español se desnuda, Madrid: T&B Editores.
Benet, V.J. (2012) - El cine español: Una historia cultural, Barcelona: Paidós.

Expect some of those to feature on here at some point in the future.