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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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17. On Hunters and Prey: The Mise-en-Scène of a Lurking Masculinity


Alberto Hermida1

This chapter explores the concept of a stalking masculinity in context of its representation and mise-en-scène. In this form of masculinity, man is configured literally or symbolically as a hunter and a predator, who observes and stalks his prey to the ultimate consequences. The focus of this study is on the nature and the particular behavior of the main characters, as well as on the strategies they deploy during the harassment of their victims to satisfy their darkest desires, as observed in Spanish film productions during the last decade. In this last sense, special attention is given to the modus operandi carried out for the obsessive control of their prey. This allows a comparison in which the dynamics of surveillance and siege of the victims, among other variables, allows to contrast the most primitive and visceral attitudes with the most sophisticated calculating behaviors.

In this overview, the corpus of films under study includes Caníbal (Cannibal, Manuel Martín Cuenca, 2013), Mientras duermes (Sleep Tight, Jaume Balagueró, 2011) and La piel que habito (The skin I live in, Pedro Almodóvar, 2011). All of them place the man as an executioner and the woman as the victim object, with the “exception” of the double reading offered by Almodóvar’s film, which adds an enriching dimension to the present essay. These are narratives whose common places and mismatches depict different profiles of this stalking masculinity represented on the big screen. These are...

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