Spanish Screen Fiction

BookSpanish Screen Fiction

Spanish Screen Fiction

Between Cinema and Television

Contemporary Hispanic and Lusophone Cultures, 3


October 19th, 2009

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This pioneering book is the first to argue that cinema and television in Spain only make sense when considered together as twin vehicles for screen fiction. The Spanish audiovisual sector is now one of the most successful in the world, with feature films achieving wider distribution in foreign markets than nations with better known cinematic traditions and newly innovative TV formats, already dominant at home, now widely exported. Beyond the industrial context, which has seen close convergence of the two media, this book also examines the textual evidence for crossover between cinema and television at the level of narrative and form. The book, which is of interest to both Hispanic and media studies, gives new readings of some well-known texts and discovers new or forgotten ones. For example it compares Almodóvar’s classic feature Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’) with his production company El Deseo’s first venture into TV production, the 2006 series also known as Mujeres (‘Women’). It also reclaims the lost history of female flat share comedy on Spanish TV from the 1960s to the present day. It examines a wide range of prize winning workplace drama on TV, from police shows, to hospital and legal series. Amenábar’s Mar adentro (‘The Sea Inside’) an Oscar-winning film on the theme of euthanasia, is contrasted with its antecedent, an episode of national network Tele5’s top-rated drama Periodistas. The book also traces the attempt to establish a Latin American genre, the telenovela, in the very different context of Spanish scheduling. Finally it proposes two new terms: ‘Auteur TV’ charts the careers of creators who have established distinctive profiles in television over decades; ‘sitcom cinema’ charts, conversely, the incursion of television aesthetics and economics into the film comedies that have proved amongst the most popular features at the Spanish box office in the last decade.

Smith is a passionate critic, an original and thorough cultural historian and a completely engaging writer (qualities that don’t often come together). Readers of all stripes will come away richly rewarded by this book.
Kathleen Vernon

Author Information

Paul Julian Smith FBA is Distinguished Professor in the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Program at the Graduate Center in City University of New York, and was formerly Professor of Spanish at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Spanish Screen Fiction: Between Cinema and Television (LUP, 2009) among many other books.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page4
Copyright Page5
Table of Contents8
List of Illustrations9
Introduction: Between Cinema and Television12
1 City Girls I: Almodóvar’s Women on Film and Television18
2 City Girls II: Television’s Urban Women, Pre- and Post-Almodóvar39
3 Crime Scenes: Police Drama on Television66
4 Dramatic Professions: Workplace Fiction on Television86
5 Two Suicides and a Funeral: The Euthanasia Debate on Film and Television106
6 Transnational Telenovela: From Mexico to Madrid, via Barcelona123
7 Auteur TV: Case Studies in Creativity146
8 Sitcom Cinema: Case Studies in Convergence176