“Once Upon a Time there was a Little Girl: Fairy Tales and Traumatic Memory in Guillermo Del Toro´s Pan´s Labyrinth”
In the award-winning production, Pan´s Labyrinth (2006), Guillermo del Toro offers an unprecedented view of post-civil war Spain and the resistance of the Spanish maquis to the advances of Fascism by using as the major narrative thread the voice of a ten year-old child, Ofelia. This is representative of a cultural trend that looks for alternative strategies to articulate traumatic memory to come to terms with the traumatic event. Del Toro applies devices taken from children´s literature to enhance a childlike compensatory representation of the traumatic scenario. This paper analyses the procedures the young protagonist, Ofelia, develops for her own psychological self-protection against trauma and it concentrates on a study of fantasy and the realm of the imaginary as the major areas employed to formulate children´s traumatic memory.
Keywords: traumatic memory, Guillermo del Toro, fantasy.
Beatriz Oria. Universidad de Zaragoza
“‘We Are Family’: Friendship and Family Ties in the Contemporary Sitcom”
Current social work theory has shown a remarkable preoccupation with the changes undergone by the definition of the term “family” in the last decades (Neale, 1999; Featherstone, 2006). This drive to understand the changing status of family life has been paralleled by the pervasiveness of the issue in the popular media. This article analyses the representation of the family in the contemporary sitcom, exploring the way in which TV shows started to propose alternative family formations in the 1990s as a reflection of the changes undergone by this institution in the last decades. Shows like Seinfield, Friends, Will & Grace or Sex and the City reflected “the fragmentary nature of the family in contemporary society” (Mills, 2005: 44), which gave way to new social arrangements based on friendship rather than on biological ties. Some of these programmes went as far as proposing friendship as a valid alternative to the traditional heterosexual union, an option which seems to be increasingly pervasive in today’s TV representations of the family. My analysis reflects on the role played by these media texts in the process of acceptance, normalisation and expansion of “alternative” conceptions of social organisations to the traditional family.
Keywords: television, friendship, family, representation, female solidarity, sitcom.
Film Studies 2:Mesa Redonda
Celestino Deleyto Alcalá (coord.); Luis Miguel García Mainar; Elena Oliete; Julia Echeverría. Universidad de Zaragoza.
“From Hollywood to World Cinema: La identidad nacional de las películas en el cine contemporáneo”
Esta mesa redonda tratará de la identidad nacional de las películas en el cine contemporáneo, centrándose en aspectos industriales de producción y de recepción de las películas, así como de los discursos críticos a propósito de dicha identidad nacional.
Keywords: Identidad nacional, cine contemporáneo, Hollywood, producción, recepción
Film Studies 3 Julia Echeverría. Universidad de Zaragoza
“Biohazard Contamination: The Language of Epidemic Films”
What do Panic in the Streets (Elia Kazan, 1950), Outbreak (Wolfgang Petersen, 1995), and Contagion (Steven Soderbergh, 2011) bear in common? Yes, they all contain a highly contagious virus. These films, together with a rather large list of epidemic films, have been widely overlooked by scholarly criticism and studied as part of episodic cycles of disaster movies. However, the notion of contamination and viral contagion has proved to be, indeed, a fruitful and flexible tool with its own set of conventions and metaphorical implications, equally suitable for a post-World War Two anticommunist scenario as well as for a post-9/11 one. In this paper, I intend to bring to light some of the conventions that these films share in order to understand the organic relationship they maintain to one another, and the processes by which, to make use of an epidemic metaphor, they ‘contaminate’ each other.
Keywords: Epidemic films, disaster films, contemporary film, globalization
Jesús Ángel González. Universidad de Cantabria
“Borders and Frontiers in Recent Postwesterns”
The term “post-western cinema” has been coined by Neil Campbell to talk about films which are “coming after and going beyond the traditional western whilst engaging with and commenting on its deeply haunting assumptions and values”, and he has offered films like The Big Lebowski (1998) or Bad Day at Black Rock (1954) as examples of this category. This paper examines three recent American films—Frozen River (2008), Sin Nombre (2009) and Winter’s Bone (2010)—that can easily fit within the post-western category as defined by Campbell. The settings of these films (upstate New York, Mexico and the Ozark Mountains in Missouri) may at first appear to be contradictory with their inclusion in this group, but it is my contention that they use features of the western genre to scrutinize American values and myths associated with the idea of the West. After all, the American West, whether in popular westerns or in canon literature, has always been a symbolic rather than a physical place: the frontier, the place where civilizations and wilderness meet, the place whose physical and social aspects were conceived “as expressive emblems for the invention and development of a new national civilization,” as Edwin Fussel said. These films use the border and/or frontier settings to examine the West not as a place, but as an idea! , “an extremely powerful idea”, as Nicolas S. Witschi has noted, “that has evolved over several centuries in the imaginations of countless people both in the US and abroad… an idea that shimmers with abstractions such as frontier, opportunity, honor, individualism, and justice”, in short, the spatial representation of the American Dream or, rather, as these three films show, the contemporary American Nightmare.
Keywords: Post-western, the border, space, American Dream
Rosa Urtiaga. Universidad de Zaragoza
“From Invisibility to Hypervisibility: The Exploitation of the Latina Body in A Day Without a Mexican”
“How do you make the invisible visible? You take it away.” This logic condenses the critical stance of A Day Without a Mexican, in which all the Latino characters except for the television reporter Lila Rodríguez (Yareli Arizmendi) inexplicably vanish from California. It is suggested that the Latinos’ disappearance is an act of resistance to their invisibility both in society and the media. However, the opposite phenomenon is also fictionalized when the exploitation and consumption of the Latina body is epitomized by Lila’s hypervisibility in the mass media. Her high level of visibility through the reality television stands for what has been called the “burden of representation,” suffered by stars belonging to a specific ethnic or social group. The concept has been applied to the overpowering representation that a few Latina/o stars accumulate in the popular imagination, given the scarcity of Latina/o images in film and the media. This burden is progressively growing heavier for a relatively small number of performers representing an increasing number of Latinas/os living in the U.S. In A Day Without a Mexican, a mock documentary directed by Mexican filmmaker Sergio Arau, documentary codes and conventions are ironically used in order to create a fictional self-representation from the margins. This paper aims to show how the film’s ironic use of documentary conventions is deployed to denounce the objectification and exploitation of the Latina body in society and the media, while offering points of identification with a well-developed Latina character as an alternative to dominant stereotypes.
Keywords: hypervisibility, burden of representation, mock documentary, media, identification.
Film Studies 4: Mesa Redonda Josep Lluís Fecé Gómez (coord.); Maria del Mar Azcona Montoliú; Ana Moya Gutierrez; Cristina Pujol Ozonas
Universidad de Girona, Universidad de Zaragoza, Universidad de Barcelona, Universitat de les Illes Balears
“Hacia un enfoque cosmopolita de los Film Studies”
La circulación de mercancías, capitales, información y de personas es un fenómeno global que está transformando, o como mínimo redefiniendo, el papel y la capacidad de maniobra en los terrenos económicos, sociales y, por supuesto, culturales, de los estados-nación. En el contexto cinematográfico, estos cambios o transformaciones han contribuido a que la expresión “cine transnacional” se consolide como uno de los principales conceptos críticos en el ámbito de los film studies, donde una buena parte de la producción teórica y analítica se ha estado basando en la aceptación de categorías como “identidad nacional”, dando lugar a numerosos estudios centrados en la representación, ya sea de esas identidades o de otras como las de género, clase social, etc. Igualmente, el concepto de “cine transnacional” se asocia, en mayor o menor medida, a otro de gran relevancia: “globalización”. En esta mesa redonda planteamos una serie de cuestiones teóricas y metodológicas para el estudio de la mencionada realidad transnacional del cine contemporáneo. Para ello, proponemos utilizar el concepto de “cosmopolitismo” para incluirlo en un marco de análisis necesariamente multidisplinar que pueda integrar los aspectos sociales, culturales, económicos y políticos que afectan al cine contemporáno. La mesa redonda giraría alredor de dos grandes ejes. El primero, básicamente teórico, abordaría las distintas acepciones del concepto (desde el realismo cosmopolita de Ulrich Beck, hasta las posiciones de David Held, pasando por las de Kendall, Woodward y Skribis). El segundo, analítico, en el que se proponen estudios de caso concretos: el análisis de películas que exploran las relaciones entre mujer y cosmopolitismo y el de los cineastas que trabajan dentro de las llamadas industrias creativas.
Keywords: cine transnacional, globalización, identidad nacional, cosmopolitismo, industrias creativas.
Film Studies 5 Andrés Bartolomé. Universidad de Zaragoza
“Family Matters: Ideological State Apparatuses at Work in Ae Fond Kiss”
The intricate relationship of Britain with the outcomes of their Imperial period has been a very productive source of cultural and sociological analyses. Although historically regarded more as a victim than as a perpetrator, Scotland’s relationship with Britain’s colonial era has been demonstrated not to be so asymmetrical, even by fictional representations. In his 2004 film Ae Fond Kiss, Ken Loach depicts the cultural clashes originated around and out of the interracial relationship that the protagonists maintain in contemporary Glasgow. As this essay will try to argue, the film not only draws a connection between Scotland’s conflictual colonial past and today’s everlasting racism, but also points to the reasons behind the origin and perpetuation of this predicament. From an ideological perspective, the film puts the blame on what Louis Althusser called Ideoligical State Aparatusses, institutions responsible for the perpetuation of the capitalist system and the idea of difference in which it is based.
Keywords: Film, Postcolonialism, Ideology, Britain, Stereotypes, Marxism
Carolina Sánchez Palencia. Universidad de Sevilla
“The Empire Filmed Back: The Local and the Global in Anthony Minghella’s Breaking & Entering (2006) and Rachid Bouchareb’s London River (2009)”
Through the postcolonial reading of Breaking and Entering (Anthony Minghella, 2006) and London River (Rachid Bouchareb, 2009), I mean to analyse the multiethnic urban geography of London as the site where “cool Britannia” confronts the “new kids on the block”. In the tradition of filmmakers like Stephen Frears, Neil Jordan or Mike Leigh among others, Minghella and Bouchareb demonstrate how the dream of a white, pure, uncontaminated city is presently “out of focus”, while simultaneously confirming that colonialism persists under different forms. Both films are full of images in which the city’s imperial icons are visually deconstructed and resignified by those on whom the metropolitan meanings were traditionally imposed and now reclaim their legitimate space in the new hybrid and polyglot London. Nevertheless, despite the overwhelming presence of the multicultural rhetoric in contemporary visual culture, their focus is not on the carnival of transcultural consumption where questions of class, power and authority conveniently seem to disappear, but on the troubled lives of its agents, who experience the materially local urban reality as inevitably conditioned by the global forces –international war on terror, media coverage, black market, immigration mafias, corporate business—that transcend the local. This paradox is also perceived in the way the two filmmakers depict the postcolonial metropolis as the locus of social inequality and disequilibrium, but also as the scenario of unexpected encounters and alliances where both the protagonists and the spectators can explore the fantasies and fears about Otherness and thus contest racial stereotypes.
Keywords: Urban Design; Postcolonialism; Globalization; Rachid Bouchareb; Anthony Minghella.
Film Studies 6: Mesa Redonda
Adrián Álava Secaes (coord.); Jimena Escudero Pérez; María Mariño Faza
Universidad de Oviedo
“Human, Supra Human and Post Human: Visions of Otherness on Film”
Talking about “the other” is talking about your own self. The search for self-identification through the things we are not constitutes the basis for this binary opposition. Simple difference from the individual or collective unity becomes the central pillar for alterity, its constituting core. From diversity, Otherness leads to either subordination or exclusion from a system, now dominant. From Hegel’s metaphor of “master and slave” in his central work The Phenomenology of the Spirit (1807), Otherness has evolved, surpassing its original philosophical conception. Simone de Beauvoir applied the notion in The Second Sex (1949) to highlight the male-centered definition of the female world. It is with Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978) that the term is reinterpreted. The end of the European colonial era paved the way for the voices of the opposite side of the newly broken equation. The now postcolonial social groups started to deconstruct the old assumption of their given inferiority, reaching a self-consciousness previously denied. The original idea of “the other” as the element granting identities has been extensively portrayed in audiovisual arts in modern times, especially on TV and film.
Keywords: Otherness, contemporary film and television, identification, identities.