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Men on the Screen

Re-visions of Masculinity in Spanish Cinema (1939-2019)


Edited By Juan Rey

Cinema, whether it is understood as entertainment, business, criticism, or art, is always a reflection of the society in which it is born. Men on the Screen is a review of masculinity in cinema made in Spain by Spanish directors from 1939 to the present. The objective of this volume is, then, to observe the different types of masculinities, whose classification gives rise to a chronology that goes from the man who embodies the dream dreamt by the dictator Franco to the modern man, who is lost in his labyrinth, while also examining the repressed men, those men who have strayed and who live in the city, the rascals and braggarts, those who fight every day just to survive, the petty criminals, those men who divest themselves of the rancid national-Catholicism in order to be themselves, those who are caring, those who harass and kill their prey, the heroes, those who seduce women with their gab, corrupt politicians, those who sell their bodies, grandparents, violent and chauvinistic men, those who live in anguish for the passage of time, and even those immured by repressing and hypocritical morality. All of the masculine categories delineated above indicate that cinema is a reflection of the great changes experienced by Spanish society during these years. During this long period, Spain has gone from being a poor, isolated, dark, sad, politically and religiously depressed country to becoming a dynamic, modern country, one of the great countries of the West. And these transformations, these men, who are diverse, who are in conflict at times, and who are depressed, hopeful, hungry, consumerist, and dreamers—they are what cinema gathers. What follows next is a catalog of men who have wandered and roamed the Spanish screens.

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10. Man and God: The Sacred in the Construction of Masculinity


Aarón Rodríguez Serrano1

In a famous interview published posthumously in Spiegel magazine, the German philosopher Martin Heidegger left hanging in the air a series of mysterious suggestions about the difficult relations between the end of modernity and religious experience:

Philosophy cannot operate any immediate change in the current state of affairs of the world. This is true not only for philosophy, but especially for all efforts and purely human endeavors. Only a god can still save us. The only possibility of salvation I see is that we prepare, with thought and poetry, a disposition for the appearance of the god or for his absence in the twilight […]. If we disappear, we disappear before the face of an absent god.1

Heidegger’s god is always written in lowercase, unknown, a god who seems as indebted to Hölderlin as the ancient and forgotten Greek deities. It is situated as the only possibility of salvation thanks to the preparation of its advent through two arts: thought and poetry. It is, therefore, at the center of the very complex relationship between belief, cinema, and ideology that is found in contemporary man, which this chapter intends to address inthe following pages.

In fact, God had sustained a certain idea of the male, an idea based on the power of the father, on the effectiveness of his word, and on the rites that brought the community together, an idea that, incidentally, has been treated...

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