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A Cinema of Contradiction

A Cinema of Contradiction: Spanish Film in the 1960s

Sally Faulkner
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    A Cinema of Contradiction
    Book Description:

    A key decade in world cinema, the 1960s was also a crucial era of change in Spain. This is the first book to focus in depth on this period in Spain, analyses six films that reflect and interpret these transformations.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-2651-9
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vi-vii)
  4. List of Illustrations and Figures
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. Textual Note
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Introduction: Contexts
    (pp. 1-24)

    A key decade in world cinema, the 1960s was also a crucial era of change in Spain. This book analyses six films that reflect and interpret some of the political, social, economic and cultural transformations of this period. The coexistence of traditional and modern values following rapid industrialisation and urbanisation, and the timid acceptance of limited change by Franco’s authoritarian regime, are symptoms of the uneven modernity that scholars argue characterises Spain of the modern era.¹ Contradiction – the unavoidable effect of that unevenness – is the conceptual terrain explored by the six filmmakers discussed here, whose work ranges across...

  7. Part I: Spanish Popular Cinema

    • CHAPTER 1 Franco’s Great Family: La gran familia (The Great Family, Palacios 1962)
      (pp. 27-48)

      One of the last films to be awarded the ‘National Interest’ prize before José María García Escudero replaced the category in 1964, Fernando Palacios’s consensual comedy La gran familia seemed to contain everything that the promoters of the Nuevo Cine Español considered wrong with the Viejo Cine Español. The film is an example of the commercial Spanish industry despised by the young generation of art directors and their sympathisers.¹ It was commissioned by Pedro Masó, a scriptwriter and sometime director (he worked on sixty-nine scripts over his long career, including those of La gran familia and La ciudad no es...

    • CHAPTER 2 Civilising the City in La ciudad no es para mí (The City’s Not For Me, Lazaga 1965)
      (pp. 49-70)

      In La ciudad no es para mí, Pedro Masó’s goal shifts from government subsidy (the aim of La gran familia) to the box office, where the producer had equal success. La ciudad became the most profitable film of the 1960s, and one that is still considered a blockbuster. This success was thanks in part to the commissioned director, Pedro Lazaga. One of the most prolific (and least studied) directors of Spanish film history, with ninety-five features to his name over his career as a whole (1948–78), Lazaga brought the considerable experience and expertise in commercial comedy gained over the...

  8. Part II: The Nuevo Cine Español (New Spanish Cinema)

    • CHAPTER 3 Reality and Pretence in Los farsantes (Frauds, Camus 1963)
      (pp. 73-100)

      In the first two chapters of this book I offered close readings of representative films, paying attention to production as well as socio-historical contexts, to argue that the commercial cinema should not be condemned as uniformly conservative. The same approach is adopted in the rest of this book, necessarily modified to account for the comparative wealth of critical material on the NCE. If the films examined in Part I reveal that the VCE contained elements of dissent that have previously been overlooked, so the example of Los farsantes shows that the NCE was closer to the commercial industry than has...

    • CHAPTER 4 Repression and Excess in La tía Tula (Aunt Tula, Picazo 1964)
      (pp. 101-124)

      Miguel Picazo’s La tía Tula is an example of the NCE films that Mario Camus described as made ‘with friends’ (Sánchez Noriega 2003: 253). It was jointly produced by Surco Films, a company set up by the novelist Nino Quevedo especially for the film (Iznaola Gómez 2004a: 32), and Eco Films, which was run by José López Moreno, Juan Miguel Lamet and Ramiro Bermúdez de Castro, who had previously backed Manuel Summers’s Del rosa . . . al amarillo (1963) and La niña del luto (The Girl in Mourning 1964). Picazo’s technical crew included the cinematographer and editor who were...

    • CHAPTER 5 Identity and Nationality in Nueve cartas a Berta (Nine Letters to Berta, Patino 1965)
      (pp. 125-144)

      Basilio Martín Patino’s Nueve cartas a Berta of 1965 is widely acknowledged as one of the key works of the NCE. If Camus’s Los farsantes was made by a producer and technical team of the VCE, and Picazo’s La tía Tula was largely impervious to the formal experimentation of contemporary New Cinemas, Nueve cartas a Berta was, in Casimiro Torreiro’s words, ‘la película más emblemática del NCE, suerte de manifiesto-compendio de las virtudes y las debilidades del movimiento’ (the most emblematic film of the NCE, a sort of manifesto-compendium of the strengths and weaknesses of the movement) (Torreiro 1995b: 318)....

    • CHAPTER 6 Ageing and Coming of Age in La caza (The Hunt, Saura 1965)
      (pp. 145-174)

      Such has been the critical acclaim enjoyed by La caza over the forty years since its release that its origins in the NCE are sometimes overlooked. The film is both typical and atypical of the movement. Carlos Saura was slightly older than its other directors, many of whom he taught at the Film School where he had a post from 1957 to 1964, and he had already completed three shorts, a medium-length documentary (Cuenca 1958) and two feature-length films, when García Escudero’s new protectionist measures enabled him to make La caza. While his second film, Llanto por un bandido (1963),...

  9. Conclusion: Overlaps>
    (pp. 175-178)

    A Cinema of Contradiction seeks to interpret, not survey, Spanish film of the 1960s. Thus while the two examples selected in Part I show that popular cinema of this period may sustain contestatory readings, we must be equally attentive to the construction of conservative discourses in such films. Likewise, the examples of the NCE I analyse in Part II cannot chronicle the evolution of an entire movement, though my selection of four films is intended to show both its diversity, and its shared responses to contradiction.

    The key difference between the VCE and the NCE highlighted in this book is...

  10. Filmography
    (pp. 179-181)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 182-193)
  12. Index
    (pp. 194-198)