Tag Archives: Franco

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.

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Opposition through film in Clandestí: Invisible Catalan Cinema under Franco

25 Nov

Little is known of the hardship the Spanish people experienced under Franco’s dictatorship from 1939 to 1975 due to press censorship and isolationism. However, a new series of films created in secrecy during his regime are set to reveal this suffering first hand, some for the first time.

Clandestí: Invisible Catalan Cinema under Franco, which takes place tomorrow until 30th November at BFI Southbank, features works produced by a group of Catalan filmmakers who chronicled the lives of workers, activists and artists living in one of the most fierce centres of opposition to the fascist regime.

These brave artists were connected with workers’ movements and outlawed opposition parties, such as Santiago Carrillo’s Communists, and managed to distribute their film through recreation centres, private homes, cinema clubs, universities and schools. Many of the films have no credits in order to protect the identities of their participants. Continue reading

Pope Benedict XVI in an ‘aggressively secular’ Spain

7 Nov

During his two days in Spain, Pope Benedict XVI has succeeded in converting what could have been a victorious tour of a traditional Catholic stronghold into a visit mired in controversy. Before even arriving in Santiago de Compostela to begin his visit, the Pope told reporters that Spain was suffering an ‘aggressive secularism’, which he compared with the anticlericalism of the 1930s.

Zapatero alongside Pope Benedict in what seems an awkward encounter

By referring to the 1930s when Spain stood on the brink of a civil war, the Pope irresponsibly highlights political divisions that have been difficult to rid from the national consciousness. In the 1930s Spanish society was divided between liberal, left-wing Republicans and right-wing, largely Catholic Nationalists. The Second Republic from 1931 to 1936 passed legislation separating the church and the state, legalising divorce and allowing women the vote. During this time radical left-wingers demonstrated their anticlericalism through attacks on nuns and monks and by burning churches. To compare the current state of Spain’s Catholic Church to these violent acts carried out by a minority is not only inaccurate, it is irresponsible. In the past, comments like this could have served to polarise Spanish society, described by the Civil War expert Ángel Viñas as ‘un juego pendular’, or pendulum game, for its history of extreme left and right politics. Continue reading