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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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20. Idols, Characters, and Stereotypes of the Male Athlete


Joaquín Marín-Montín1

Spanish fictionalized film lacks a large list of titles directly linked to sport. Sports films are narratives that have sport as their main subject, although they allow exploring cross-cutting themes. Other films present elements in which sport, without being the main theme, occupies an important space for the development of their plots:

Because of sport’s place in so many lives, its carrying so many meanings, both utopian and dystopian, many films that cannot be called sports films feature sequences where a sport is invoked in ways that are more developed than mere passing allusions1

Sport is one of the most revealing environments where the construction of masculine identity is commonplace. It is an aspiration of the Western world, referring above all to power, strength, or wealth.2 Also, cinema has played an important role in enhancing the prominence of men in sport, where the physical component becomes a trait relevant to many works. Thus, sports films provide a useful context for the analysis of dominant ideas about masculinity and its evolution over time.3

The relationship between sports films and masculinity should be understood as a historical and ideological process in which different standpoints are developed, changed, and combined over time. Accordingly, the figure of the male athlete has been represented in Spanish cinema differently through specific characterizations. The boxer, the soccer player, or the coach have been, among others, a source of inspiration for the creation...

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