Good Morning Freedom! Spanish cinema after Franco at BFI Southbank

28 May

Almodovar at his best

The death of Spain’s fascist dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 gave rise to an alternative, adventurous and eclectic movement within Spanish culture, the movida. Next month BFI Southbank will host a season celebrating this brand of cinema with showings of Cria Cuervos (Raise Ravens, 1975) as well as Pedro Almodóvar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios, 1998),and the lesser known titles The Anchorite (El anacoreta, 1977) and Opera Prima (1980).

Franco’s death signalled the end of censorship, and the birth of a filmmaking generation unleashed from a climate of repression. Famous Spanish directors like Pedro Almodóvar and Iván Zululeta approached subjects that were previously beyond taboo: sex, drugs, homosexuality, politics and all with an innovative, free spirit that brought together filmmakers, professional and amateur actors, designers and musicians.

Almodovar's favourite Carmen Maura (R) in 'Mujeres...'

The Movida madrileña came about in late 1975 and lasted until the end of the 1980s as Spain’s new democracy grew strong. It was mainly a music movement  but, with mottos like ‘Madrid nunca duerme’ (‘Madrid never sleeps’) or ‘¡Esta noche todo el mundo a la calle!’ (‘Everybody in the street tonight!’) – its spirit extended to film, television, photography, fashion and comics. The work of Fernando Trueba and Fernando Colomo epitomise the movement; their first films often being made among friends whose main wish was to enjoy life, sex, grass and have fun; this reflected the mood of many young Spaniards at the time. Though most of the film industry was still concentrated in Madrid, Spain’s cinema also found a new pluralism, and some communities – particularly in Cataluña and the Basque Country – found a way to express their particular identity through cinema.
Spanish Cinema after Franco will run at BFI Southbank from 2nd to 30th June. For tickets call 020 7928 3232 or visit www.bfi.org.uk/southbank
Image 1: impawards
Image 2: listal
 
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