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The Films of Elías Querejeta

The Films of Elías Querejeta: A Producer of Landscapes

Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
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  • Book Info
    The Films of Elías Querejeta
    Book Description:

    The Films of Elías Querejeta: A Producer of Landscapes is the first book in English to explore the career of Spain’s most important producer. Through their recurring emphasis on landscape, his films have consistently documented a country in the grip of modernization from the 1960s to the present day. In particular, this book investigates the ways in which landscape in his productions can be understood as a site of political struggle against Francoism and Spain’s embrace of neoliberal capitalism. In bringing together both the importance of cinematic and spatial production, the twin focus of this book intends not only to make an original contribution to Film Studies, but also to Spanish Cultural Studies and Cultural Geography.

    eISBN: 978-0-7083-2439-4
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Series Editors’ Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)

    Over recent decades the traditional ‘languages and literatures’ model in Spanish departments in universities in the United Kingdom has been superseded by a contextual, interdisciplinary and ‘area studies’ approach to the study of the culture, history, society and politics of the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds – categories that extend far beyond the confines of the Iberian Peninsula, not only in Latin America but also to Spanish-speaking and Lusophone Africa.

    In response to these dynamic trends in research priorities and curriculum development, this series is designed to present both disciplinary and interdisciplinary research within the general field of Iberian and Latin American...

  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction Producing Resistance: Elías Querejeta’s Political Landscapes
    (pp. 1-20)

    To speak of the producer Elías Querejeta, who was born in Hernani in 1934, is to speak of the history of modern Spanish film. From the early 1960s to the present day, he has overseen the production of fifty-nine feature-length films. Many of these have been among the most important in the history of Spanish cinema:El espíritu de la colmena(Spirit of the Beehive) (Víctor Erice, 1973),Cría cuervos(Raise Ravens) (Carlos Saura, 1975) andBarrio(Fernando León, 1998), for instance, have earned critical acclaim with domestic critics and film festivals alike, while catapulting their respective directors to international...

  6. Chapter 1 Geographies of Anxiety
    (pp. 21-44)

    Elías Querejeta’s earliest foray into film-making,A través de San Sebastián(1960), captured a Spain on the cusp of modernization. Just one year before its release, the Spanish economy had been opened up to foreign investment, ushering in a period of accelerated economic growth, otherwise known as Spain’s economic miracle. Significantly, this development was dependent upon rapid urbanization and coastal tourism, and these geographical transformations not only transformed the fabric of everyday life, but revealed acutely just how far Spanish society had been lagging behind the rest of western Europe. Economic liberalization suddenly threw into relief the static and conservative...

  7. Chapter 2 Spaces of Violence
    (pp. 45-70)

    By December 1967, possibilities for artistic film-making in Spain had become scarce: García Escudero left his position as director general de cinematografía, subsidies were reduced, and the category of ‘interés especial’ was suppressed. Just four years after its inception, the excitement which surrounded the so-callednuevo cine españolhad dissipated. As a result, several of the careers of directors who had dissipated under García Escudero’s system were suddenly cut short, with a good number, such as Julio Diamante and Jesús Fernández Santos, disappearing into obscurity altogether. In spite of these considerable setbacks, Elías Querejeta PC continued to produce artistically ambitious...

  8. Chapter 3 Infinite Landscapes
    (pp. 71-88)

    While many of Elías Querejeta’s productions of the 1970s continued to make use of the landscape to convey their anti-Francoist messages,Habla, mudita(Gutiérrez Aragón, 1973) stands out somewhat as a departure from this politicized style of film-making. Its release also signalled the beginnings of a trend in Spanish film which explored the wilderness of the regions of northern Spain.Habla, muditaalong with the laterFeroz(1984), which is also marked by fascination with the northern wilderness, are the two films which Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón directed under Querejeta’s production. In the decade which separates the two films, Gutiérrez Aragón...

  9. Chapter 4 Rediscovering Roots: Ecology, Land and Region
    (pp. 89-108)

    Tasio(Montxo Armendáriz, 1984) depicts the life of one of the last surviving charcoal burners in Navarre. In representing rural life in a region of northern Spain, the film at first glance suggests a parallel with the wilderness films discussed in the previous chapter.Tasio, however, advances an altogether different view of nature. While inHabla, muditaandFeroz, the landscape is enunciated through an urban point of view,Tasiocaptures the experience of rural life through the perspective of those who dwell there. As such, the representation of space does not so much centre on man’s alienation from nature...

  10. Chapter 5 No-Man’s-Land: Transitional Space and Time
    (pp. 109-124)

    Filmed on the outskirts of Madrid,Deprisa, deprisa(Carlos Saura, 1980) signalled a new direction for Elías Querejeta PC. Not only did it indicate a predominant shift in emphasis from rural to urban space, but it would also be the first of several social realist films to be backed by the producer. Social realism tends to emphasize the relationship between space and identity. As Hallam and Marshment have observed, it usually revolves around marginal and oppressed characters who find themselves contained within ‘tightly inscribed socio-economic and geographical boundaries’ (Hallam and Marshment, 2000, p. 194). This is especially borne out in...

  11. Chapter 6 Global Spaces
    (pp. 125-146)

    In recent years, Elías Querejeta has focussed his attention beyond the national borders of Spain. For instance,El último viaje de Robert Rylands(Robert Rylands’ Last Journey) (Gracia Querejeta, 1996) is a psychological drama set entirely in Oxford, whileCuernos de espuma(Shampoo Horns) (Manuel Toledano, 1998) is a fictionalized account of the drag queen nightclub scene in New York. With Jaime Corcuera’s hard-hitting documentariesLa espalda del mundo(The Back of the World) (2000) and theInvierno en Bagdad(Winter in Baghdad) (2004), the producer has continued to back projects which centre on the marginalized and the dispossessed. While...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 147-148)

    Despite his age, Elías Querejeta tirelessly continues to make a significant impact on the Spanish film industry. This was borne out in April 2008, when Querejeta was awarded a lifetime achievement award – the latest of a very long and accomplished line – at the San Sebastián Festival of Cinema and Human Rights. There, he was commended for his courageous and socially committed method of film-making that has consistently spoken out against injustice. After this award, Querejeta went on to write and direct the documentaryCerca de tus ojos(‘Close To Your Eyes’) (2009), a film that exposes the many breaches of...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 149-158)
  14. Filmography
    (pp. 159-162)
  15. Works Cited
    (pp. 163-170)
  16. Index
    (pp. 171-176)