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Latin Hitchcock

Latin Hitchcock: How Almodóvar, Amenábar, De la Iglesia, Del Toro and Campanella Became Notorious

Dona M. Kercher
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Latin Hitchcock
    Book Description:

    This study explores how five major directors--Pedro Almodóvar, Alejandro Amenábar, Alex de la Iglesia, Guillermo del Toro, and Juan José Campanella--modeled their early careers on Hitchcock and his film aesthetics. In shadowing Hitchcock, their works embraced the global aspirations his movies epitomize. Each section of the book begins with an extensive study, based on newspaper accounts, of the original reception of Hitchcock's movies in either Spain or Latin America and how local preferences for genre, glamour, moral issues, and humor affected their success. The text brings a new approach to world film history, showcasing both the commercial and artistic importance of Hitchcock in Spain and Latin America

    eISBN: 978-0-231-85073-5
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    Alfred Hitchcock is arguably the most influential director of the twentieth century, or of the first century of film history. Significantly, the reach of his work has long been international. As befits a canonical artist, the Hitchcock bibliography, in print and in other media, is prodigious. There are more than a few lifetimes worth of criticism written on his works, certainly enough to give one pause before setting off to write more. The essential, hefty biographical tomes of Donald Spoto,The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock(1999), disavowed by the Hitchcock clan, and Patrick McGilligan,Alfred...


    • CHAPTER ONE First Loves, First Cuts: The Initial Response to Hitchcock’s Films in Spain
      (pp. 15-62)

      Were Hitchcock’s films greeted with enthusiasm when they were first seen in Spain and Latin America? Was he an instant sensation? Well, no. Hitchcock’s relationship to the Spanish-speaking world evolved over the course of the six decades of his long career; his visits to Spain bracketed two important stages of that career. In the early 1920s when he was first setting out he scouted Spanish locations for the silent filmThe Spanish Jadefor Famous Players-Lasky. Later in the 1950s at the height of his creative output he launchedVertigoandNorth by Northwestin San Sebastián, site of the...

    • CHAPTER TWO Pedro Almodóvar’s Criminal Side: Plot, Humour and Cinematic Style
      (pp. 63-132)

      Much has been written about the impact of Hollywood classics on Pedro Almodóvar’s corpus of works.¹ Almodóvar himself has responded to interview questions citing admiration for specific examples of ‘Golden Age’ Hollywood, to the extent that even he discusses choosing an aesthetic, ‘la máshollywoodiensede todas’ (‘the most Hollywood-like of all’), forTacones Tejanos(High Heels, 1991) (Strauss 1995: 131). An extensive interview by Lynn Hirschberg in theNew York Times Magazine, which appeared before the screening ofLa Mala educación(Bad Education) at the New York Film Festival, exemplifies the placing of Almodóvar in world film history. Hitchcock...

    • CHAPTER THREE Drawing on a Darker Humour, Cultural Icons and Mass Media: Álex de la lglesia’s Journey from Outer Space to the Spanish Academy
      (pp. 133-182)

      On the DVD director’s track for his filmDía de la Bestia(Day of the Beast, 1985) Álex de la Iglesia says that he insisted on getting an opening shot at the Arantzazu Sanctuary in northern Spain despite his producer’s objections that it was not worth the trip up there.¹ The rest of the complex opening scene was constructed on a film set in Madrid. Because of a legendary sighting of the Virgin by a Basque shepherd, Arantzazu has been a pilgrimage shrine since the sixteenth century. The existing stone basilica, a beautiful modern structure dating from 1951, represents the...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Against Hitchcock: Alejandro Amenábar’s Meteoric Career
      (pp. 183-232)

      Alejandro Amenábar flunked out of film school. Today his sanitised biography in the US college textbookCinema for Spanish Conversationsays he left because he was not being challenged by the curriculum (McVey Gill et al. 2006: 260). But Amenábar was bitter as a student. He definitely held a grudge against the professor who failed him in his screenwriting class. In his successful debut filmTesis(Thesis, 1996), Amenábar took his revenge by parodying his nemesis through the character of Professor Castro (Xabier Elorriaga). Although Castro speaks the ‘dirty’ truth about the abysmal state of Spanish cinema in the 1990s...


    • CHAPTER FIVE Latin American Openings of Hitchcock’s Films: The Reception History of Hitchcock’s Films for Mexico City
      (pp. 235-265)

      Throughout the decades of Hitchcock’s career, the Mexican film industry constituted the strongest, most productive counterpoint to Hollywood in Spanish-speaking Latin America. As Paulo Antonio Paranaguá states inTradición y modernidad en el cine de América Latina(Tradition and Modernity in Latin American Cinema, 2003), ‘the Mexican film industry was the principal cinematographic phenomenon in Latin America during the first half of the twentieth century; such primacy would belong to Brazil’s New Cinema in the second half’ (2003: 15). That its cinema represented a high level of expertise evoked considerable national pride in Mexico, often precisely because it kept the...

    • CHAPTER SIX Guillermo del Toro’s Continuing Education: Adapting Hitchcock’s Moral and Visual Sensibilities to the World of Horror
      (pp. 266-317)

      Before 2006, when Guillermo Del Toro released his international mega-hitEl laberinto del fauno(Pan’s Labyrinth), the Mexican director, born in 1964, had made five feature-length films, all within the horror or fantasy genre, that alternated between small-budget Spanish-language films in Mexico and Spain –Cronos(1993) andEl espinazo del diablo(The Devil’s Backbone, 2001) – and Hollywood productions –Mimic(1997),BladeII (2002) andHellboy(2004). Conventionally this alternation makes Del Toro the epitome of a successful crossover director. Unlike other Latin crossover directors, such as Álex de la Iglesia, Del Toro has consistently been successful at the box office....

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Understanding Osmosis: Hitchcock in Argentina Through the Eyes of Juan José Campanella
      (pp. 318-358)

      At the press conference of the 2009 San Sebastián Film Festival for Juan José Campanella’s filmEl secreto de sus ojos(The Secret in Their Eyes) I asked the Argentinean director whether he was influenced by Hitchcock. His quick answer was ‘¿ Quién no ha sido influenciado por Hitchcock? Por osmosis’ (‘Who hasn’t been influenced by Hitchcock? By osmosis’). He then responded to what had been my lead-in to this question, first a comment thatThe Secret in Their Eyeswas an amazing film because of the tension between a particularly Argentinean sense of humour and the thriller genre, which...

  6. CONCLUSION: They Became Notorious
    (pp. 359-365)

    This study demonstrates the crucial importance of Hitchcock to the development of cinema in Spain and Latin America far beyond what has been acknowledged before. Five of the most successful filmmakers in the Spanish-speaking world, as defined by awards and box office returns, modelled their transnational careers on Hitchcock’s and mined the aesthetics of his films in their own. Several themes are also apparent in what Hitchcock distinctively represented in Spain and Latin America.

    First, as his films premiered and also as the five filmmakers studied here reinterpreted them in recent decades, Hitchcock meant technical and artistic innovation, synonymous with...

  7. Bibliography
    (pp. 366-376)
  8. INDEX
    (pp. 377-384)