Thursday, October 11, 2007

Spain (Un)censored

MoMA is having an amazing film exhibition coming up running from October 17-November 5 called Spain (Un)censored. As I wrote my thesis on Almodovar's first films (which were really modern and shocking in light of Franco's fascist regime which ended upon his death in 1975, Spanish cinema has always been something that has greatly sparked my intrigue. Spanish film was used as a means of communicating 'unacceptable' ideals and messages through the 40 some-odd years that Franco was dictator of Spain. Movies like Viridiana by Buñuel were racy for their time as they depicted sex scenes that implicated incest, suicide. The first film to really break the barrier was Bienvenido Mr. Marshall which ultimately criticized Franco's foreign policy and the country's political infrastructure while simultaneously exploiting both Spanish and American stereotyping. Such topics were generally dismissed by the franquistas thus the study of film throughout the 1930s onward (including film today being that the Franco regime has left a long lasting impression upon Spain in more ways than one) is incredibly improtant and interesting.

Scene from Viridiana (Buñuel, 1961).

Below is MoMA's film exhibition synopsis as well as a link to their webpage with movie listings, etc.

Spanish cinema flourished during General Francisco Franco's regime (1939–75) despite the dictatorship. Provoked by the system they lived under, Spanish directors told stories about the people's hopes and troubles by using humor and symbols that reached their audiences and sidestepped the censors. This unique exhibition explores an era that fought for freedom through cinema. Until now, this fertile filmmaking period has gone unacknowledged; the generations following Franco's death in 1975 were eager to build a new democracy and leave the dictatorship behind. More than three decades later, these twenty features reveal an enthralling, daring, and formally innovative era of Spanish cinema. All films are from Spain and in Spanish, with English subtitles, except where noted.

Coinciding with the exhibition, "Expression in Times of Repression," a panel discussion with director Basilio Martin Patino and Fernando Lara (Director of ICAA and Chema de la Pena and director of Salamanca a ninguna parte [From Salamanca to Nowhere, 2002]), and moderated by Richard Pena, Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, takes place at the Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, New York University, on October 20. For more information visit Other events include a book-release reception for Breaking the Code: Daring Films that Mocked the Repression in Spain at the Instituto Cervantes at Amster Yard on October 18. Spain (Un)Censored travels to the BFI Southbank, London, in January 2008.



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