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Men on the Screen

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

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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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22. Violently Sexist Men: Aggression as a Sign of Masculinity

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Manuel Garrido-Lora1

Violence is present in cinema from the start, just as in other art forms. In historical accounts and as well as in fictionalized ones, writers and audiences have long been seduced by the appeal of violence. And in general, male characters in these stories are usually characterized by the use of power, domination, and even violence at all levels, as it occurs in real life. In opposition to these men, the portrayal of women in the so-called patriarchal cinema takes place by “means of sublimation through fetishism and by means of humiliation through contempt … which have existed since the beginning of cinematographic times.”1 Spanish cinema has not been an exception to this global trend. However, academic studies on Spanish cinema have shown less interest in violent male characters. Evidently, concrete analyzes can be found on gender violence in Spanish cinema or on the aggressors portrayed in the filmography of some significant filmmakers, as in the case of Pedro Almodóvar, but violence, as a distinguishing feature of numerous male characters in post-Franco Spanish cinema, has not aroused great interest among national researchers until recently.

This chapter broadly addresses the study of the representation of violence in Spanish cinema and, more specifically, of sexist violence in the films of the recent democratic era. Such violence is sometimes introduced as psychological domination and sometimes in a purposefully explicit manner, either verbally or physically. Some cases in which the male directors, or female directors,...

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