Spain behind the camera

13th November 2013

News, Student news, Alumni news

Spanish culture, society and politics, viewed through the medium of cinema, are explored and explained in an exciting new book co-edited by Wadham’s Tutorial Fellow in Spanish, Professor Robin Fiddian.

  • Spain behind the camera
  • Robin Fiddian

    Robin Fiddian

Spanish cinema 1973–2010 - Auteurism, politics, landscape and memory (Manchester UP 2013) is a collection of essays written by leading film scholars, edited by Robin and Maria M Delgado, Queen Mary, University of London.

This collection offers a new lens through which to examine Spain’s cinema production following the isolation imposed by the Franco regime.

Robin comments: “There was a glaring need for a comprehensive study of Spanish cinema that would stretch from the last years of the Franco regime down to the present. The collection gave us all an opportunity to reassess some established landmark films at the same time as looking at much more recent releases and the issues they addressed. Principal amongst these were the highly controversial recovery of historical memory and the redefinition of gender roles in Spain in the 2000s.  I feel that the volume met ‘con creces’ the aims both of the editors and of the seventeen authors who participated in the project.”

The seventeen key films analysed in the volume span a period of 35 years that have been crucial in the development of Spain, Spanish democracy and Spanish cinema. They encompass different genres (horror, thriller, melodrama, social realism, documentary), both popular (Los abrazos rotos/Broken Embraces, Vicky Cristina Barcelona) and more select art house fare (En la ciudad de Sylvia/In the City of Sylvia, El espíritu de la colmena/Spirit of the Beehive) and are made in English (as both first and second language), Basque, Castilian, Catalan and French.

Offering an expanded understanding of ‘national’ cinemas, the volume explores key works by Guillermo del Toro and Lucrecia Martel alongside an examination of the ways in which established auteurs (Almodóvar, José Garci, Carlos Saura) and younger generations of filmmakers (Cesc Gay, Amenábar, Bollaín) have harnessed cinematic language towards a commentary on the nation-state. The result is a bold new study of the ways in which film has created new prisms that have determined how Spain is positioned in the global marketplace.