Spanish Cinema

Refiguring Spain: Cinema/Media/Representation, edited by Marsha Kinder

Composed of three sections, Historical Recuperation, Sexual Reinscription, and Marketing Transfiguration: Money/Politics/Regionalism, Refiguring Spain: Cinema/Media/Representation is a collection of essays that examine the ways in which Spanish cinema has both defined and constructed a national identity in the latter half of the twentieth century under a transformative climate of repression, democratization, social liberation, and globalism…. read more »

Indecent Exposures: Buñuel, Saura, Erice and Almodóvar by Gwynne Edwards

Indecent Exposures: Buñuel, Saura, Erice and Almodóvar by Gwynne Edwards examines the unique influence and residual legacy of the Spanish Civil War on the films of four notable Spanish directors: Luis Buñuel, Carlos Saura, Victor Erice, and Pedro Almodóvar. Edwards examines three Luis Buñuel films, Viridiana, The Exterminating Angel, and Tristana in order to characterize… read more »

Broken Embraces, 2009

Ingeniously constructed as parallel metafilms – one, Ray X’s (Rubén Ochandiano) behind the scenes documentary that illustrates the intersection (and disjunction) between reality and fiction; the other, Mateo’s (Lluís Homar) reconstruction of a doomed film project made 14 years earlier that reflects the role of the filmmaker as archaeologist and conjurer – Pedro Almodóvar’s wry,… read more »

Bad Education, 2004

From the Saul Bass-inspired opening credit sequence of peeling, layered billboard posters, Pedro Almodóvar evokes the densely layered cinema of Alfred Hitchchock to create a reverent, yet continuously inventive, exquisitely realized, and brilliantly modulated comic melodrama in Bad Education. Ostensibly a story about a filmmaker (Fele Martinez) suffering from a creative block (who, as the… read more »

Matador, 1986

A dashing former matador named Diego Montes (Nacho Martínez), prematurely retired after a career-ending injury, rehearses the principal tenets of the art of the kill at a converted classroom on his estate to a group of aspiring bullfighters, including an unlikely, hypersensitive student named Angel Giménez (Antonio Banderas). The training lecture then cuts to the… read more »

Dark Habits, 1983

An early episode in Dark Habits showing a group of cloistered nuns’ giddy excitement over the declaration by Mother Superior Julia (Julieta Serrano) that a wayward lounge singer named Yolanda Bell (Cristina Sánchez Pascual) has sought refuge in the convent after her lover’s accidental drug overdose encapsulates the subversive, sardonic humor of Pedro Almodóvar: “Very… read more »

El Cielo gira, 2004

Part elegy on the dying of a rural village, part exposition on mortality and obsolescence, and part exaltation of quotidian grace, Mercedes Álvarez’s El Cielo gira (The Turning Sky) is a serene, contemplative, and indelible rumination on the permanence of landscape, the transitory nature of existence, the imprint of history, and the eternal cycle of… read more »

Take My Eyes, 2003

A harried woman seemingly on the verge of an emotional breakdown wakes her son, hurriedly packs their belongings and steals away in the middle of the night, arriving at the door of her sister Ana (Candela Peña) still unwittingly dressed in her house slippers. Pilar (Laia Marull) has finally decided to leave her abusive husband… read more »

The Education of Fairies, 2006

Part whimsical fable and part affectionate human comedy, José Luis Cuerda’s The Education of Fairies is a slight and effervescent, but charming and thoughtful demythification of a “happily ever after” romantic ideal. The opening transition from a graphically illustrated title sequence to a live action shot of a father recounting a bedtime story on the… read more »

The Holy Innocents, 1984

Evoking the films of Carlos Saura in its allegorical portraits of culturally entrenched social and psychological landscapes (most notably, in The Hunt) coupled with Luis Buñuel’s wry excoriation of the bourgeoisie, Mario Camus’ The Holy Innocents presents a caustic and potent indictment of the inhumanity (and corruption) of privilege, class stratification, and marginalization. Adapted from… read more »