Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Matriarchy, Motherhood, Myth and the Negotiation of (Gender) Identity in Modern Basque Cinema

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2017), 94, (7), 731–746.

Abstract

The present article examines the role of the mythical figure of the matriarch in the negotiation and construction of Basque nationalist identity in Basque cinema. Through films such as La muerte de Mikel (1984), Akelarre (1984), Alas de mariposa (1991), Yoyes (2000), Ander (2009) 80 egunean (2010), Las brujas de Zugarramurdi (2013) and Loreak (2014), we study the cinematic representations of the monolithic archetype of the overpowering mother as a key pedagogical element of nationalism that became a fundamental guardian of Basqueness through the passing of and adherence to cultural norms, and through the administration of punishment to those who did not carefully observe them. However, as the importance of otherness in the construction of Basque identity dwindled in favour of a process of self-analysis and revision, so will the relevance of the matriarch, and its demise will allow the expression of Basqueness through the modernization of identitary spaces that articulate the heterogeneity of its own population rather than through the simple maintenance and recurrence of instances of otherness.

La identidad tradicional vasca se ha configurado como una construcción intransigente en oposición a fuerzas externas que amenazaban su existencia. En este contexto, la mítica figura de la matriarca se ha establecido en el imaginario vasco como guardián fundamental del vasquismo e inhibidor de identidades de género y sexualidades transgresivas que desafiaban el discurso nacional consuetudinario. El presente artículo explora las representaciones que en el cine vasco –por medio de filmes como La muerte de Mikel (1984), Akelarre (1984), Alas de mariposa (1991), Yoyes (2000), Ander (2009), 80 egunean (2010), Las brujas de Zugarramurdi (2013) y Loreak (2014)– se han dado del monolítico arquetipo de la matriarca como elemento pedagógico nacionalista clave en la negociación de modelos de comportamiento y su sustitución por sujetos híbridos que se posicionarán no como meras instancias de otredad enfrentadas a una amenaza externa, sino como expresiones de heterogeneidad opuestas a la narrativa tradicional.

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Stone, Rob, and Helen Jones, 2004. ‘Mapping the Gendered Space of the Basque Country’, Studies in European Cinemas, 1.1: 43–55. Mapping the Gendered Space of the Basque Country Studies in European Cinemas 1.1 43 55 Google Scholar

Stone, Rob, and María Pilar Rodríguez, 2015. Cine vasco: una historia política y cultural (Salamanca: Comunicación Social). Cine vasco: una historia política y cultural Google Scholar

Watson, Cameron J., 2003. ‘The Tragedy of Yoyes’, en Amatxi, Amuma, Amona: Writings in Honor of Basque Women, ed. Linda White and Cameron J. Watson (Reno: University of Nevada, Center for Basque Studies). The Tragedy of Yoyes Amatxi, Amuma, Amona: Writings in Honor of Basque Women Google Scholar

Aranzadi, Juan, 1982. Milenarismo vasco: edad de oro, etnia y nativismo (Madrid: Taurus). Milenarismo vasco: edad de oro, etnia y nativismo Google Scholar

Bhabha, Homi K., 1994. The Location of Culture (Routledge: New York). The Location of Culture Google Scholar

Bilbao Terreros, Gorka, 2013. ‘Baserritarra: Identity, Violence and the Other in Post-Franco Basque Cinema’, Arizona Journal of Hispanic Studies, 17: 9–28. Baserritarra: Identity, Violence and the Other in Post-Franco Basque Cinema Arizona Journal of Hispanic Studies 17 9 28 Google Scholar

Bullen, Margaret, 2003. Basque Gender Studies (Reno: University of Nevada, Center for Basque Studies). Basque Gender Studies Google Scholar

D’Lugo, Marvin, 2003. ‘Re-Imagining the Community: Imanol Uribe’s La muerte de Mikel (1983) and the Cinema of Transition’, in Spanish Cinema: The Autherist Tradition, ed. Peter Evans (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Re-Imagining the Community: Imanol Uribe’s La muerte de Mikel (1983) and the Cinema of Transition Spanish Cinema: The Autherist Tradition Google Scholar

Davies, Ann, 2003. ‘Male Sexuality and Basque Separatism in Two Films by Imanol Uribe’, Hispanic Research Journal, 4: 121–32. Male Sexuality and Basque Separatism in Two Films by Imanol Uribe Hispanic Research Journal 4 121 32 Google Scholar

Davies, Ann, 2009. ‘Woman and Home: Gender and the Theorisation of Basque (National) Cinema’, Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, 10: 359–72. Woman and Home: Gender and the Theorisation of Basque (National) Cinema Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 10 359 72 Google Scholar

De Miguel Martínez, Casilda, 2001. ‘Deconstruyendo el matriarcado, la madre en el cine vasco de los 80’, Zer – Revista de Estudios de Comunicación (Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea), 6.10. Deconstruyendo el matriarcado, la madre en el cine vasco de los 80 Zer – Revista de Estudios de Comunicación Google Scholar

Del Valle, Teresa (ed.), 1985. Mujer vasca: imagen y realidad (Barcelona: Anthropos). Mujer vasca: imagen y realidad Google Scholar

Del Valle, Teresa (ed.), 2011. ‘La capacidad de negociación de las mujeres en este país es mucho mayor que la de los hombres’. [Entrevista a Terera del Valle.] GARA, 22 de mayo. Available at: >http://gara.naiz.eus/paperezkoa/20110522/267880/es/La-capacidad-negociacion-mujeres-este-pais-esmucho-mayor-que-hombres> [accessed 25 May 2017]. Google Scholar

Díez Mintegui, Carmen, and Margaret Bullen, 2010. ‘Matriarchy Versus Equality: From Mari to Feminist Demands’, in Feminist Challenges in the Social Studies: Gender Studies in the Basque Country, ed. Mari Luz Esteban and Mila Amurrio (Reno: University of Nevada). Matriarchy Versus Equality: From Mari to Feminist Demands Feminist Challenges in the Social Studies: Gender Studies in the Basque Country Google Scholar

Douglass, William A., 1973. Muerte en Murelaga: en contexto de la muerte en el País Vasco (Barcelona: Barral). Muerte en Murelaga: en contexto de la muerte en el País Vasco Google Scholar

Evans, Jo, 1999. ‘Imanol Uribe’s La muerte de Mikel: Policing the Gaze/Mind the Gap’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 76.1: 101–109. Imanol Uribe’s La muerte de Mikel: Policing the Gaze/Mind the Gap Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 76.1 101 109 Google Scholar

Evans, Jo, 2006. ‘La madre muerta (The Dead Mother, 1993) and Tierra (Earth, 1995): Basque Identity, or Just the Other?’, New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film, 4.3: 173–83. La madre muerta (The Dead Mother, 1993) and Tierra (Earth, 1995): Basque Identity, or Just the Other? New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film 4.3 173 83 Google Scholar

Gabilondo, Joseba, 2003. ‘Uncanny Identity: Violence, Gaze and Desire in Contemporary Basque Cinema’, in Constructing Identity in Contemporary Spain: Theoretical Debates and Cultural Practice, ed. Jo Labanyi (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Uncanny Identity: Violence, Gaze and Desire in Contemporary Basque Cinema Constructing Identity in Contemporary Spain: Theoretical Debates and Cultural Practice Google Scholar

Genovés, Santiago, 1980. La violencia en el país vasco y en sus relaciones con España – No todo es política (México D.F.: UNAM). La violencia en el país vasco y en sus relaciones con España – No todo es política Google Scholar

Hernández, Jone M., and Elixabete Imaz, 2010. ‘Demythicizing, Unveiling, Challenging: A Review of Twenty-Five Years of Feminist Academic Production (1985–2010)’, in Feminist Challenges in the Social Studies: Gender Studies in the Basque Country, ed. Mari Luz Esteban and Mila Amurrio (Reno: University of Nevada). Demythicizing, Unveiling, Challenging: A Review of Twenty-Five Years of Feminist Academic Production (1985–2010) Feminist Challenges in the Social Studies: Gender Studies in the Basque Country Google Scholar

Hornilla, Txema, 1981. La ginecocracia vasca: contribución a los estudios sobre el eusko-matriarcado (Bilbao: GEU Argitaldaria). La ginecocracia vasca: contribución a los estudios sobre el eusko-matriarcado Google Scholar

Kristeva, Julia, 1982. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (New York: Columbia University Press). Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection Google Scholar

Labanyi, Jo, 1995. ‘Postmodernism and the Problem of Cultural Identity’, in Spanish Cultural Studies: An Introduction, ed. Helen Graham y Jo Labanyi (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Postmodernism and the Problem of Cultural Identity Spanish Cultural Studies: An Introduction Google Scholar

Macías, Joseba, 2010. ‘Cine vasco: ¿un debate cerrado?’, Zer: Revista de Estudios de Comunicación (Universidad del País Vasco/Euskl Herriko Unibertsitatea), 15.28: 31–48. Cine vasco: ¿un debate cerrado? Zer: Revista de Estudios de Comunicación 15.28 31 48 Google Scholar

Martí-Olivella, Jaume, 2012. ‘Mikel/Ander/Tasio: Narrative Castings and Othering Masculinities in Basque Cinema’, in Queering Iberia: Iberian Masculinities at the Margins, ed. Josep M. Armengol-Carrera (New York: Peter Lang). Mikel/Ander/Tasio: Narrative Castings and Othering Masculinities in Basque Cinema Queering Iberia: Iberian Masculinities at the Margins Google Scholar

Monterde Lozoya, José Enrique, 2014. ‘“El desgaste de la vida”: Loreak, de Jose Mari Goenaga y Jon Garaño’, Caimán: Cuadernos de Cine, 32 (November): 38. Available at: >https://www.caimanediciones.es/la-pelicula-de-la-semana-loreak/> [accessed 25 May 2017]. Google Scholar

Ortiz Osés, Andrés, and Franz. K. Mayr, 1980. El matriarcalismo vasco: reinterpretación de la cultura vasca (Bilbao: Publicaciones de la Universidad de Deusto). El matriarcalismo vasco: reinterpretación de la cultura vasca Google Scholar

Salazar, Octavio, 2015. ‘Loreak: de flores, heridas y mujeres’, El País, 1 de octubre. Available at: >http://blogs.elpais.com/mujeres/2015/10/loreak-de-flores-heridas-y-mujeres.html [accessed 25 May 2017]. Google Scholar

Stone, Rob, and Helen Jones, 2004. ‘Mapping the Gendered Space of the Basque Country’, Studies in European Cinemas, 1.1: 43–55. Mapping the Gendered Space of the Basque Country Studies in European Cinemas 1.1 43 55 Google Scholar

Stone, Rob, and María Pilar Rodríguez, 2015. Cine vasco: una historia política y cultural (Salamanca: Comunicación Social). Cine vasco: una historia política y cultural Google Scholar

Watson, Cameron J., 2003. ‘The Tragedy of Yoyes’, en Amatxi, Amuma, Amona: Writings in Honor of Basque Women, ed. Linda White and Cameron J. Watson (Reno: University of Nevada, Center for Basque Studies). The Tragedy of Yoyes Amatxi, Amuma, Amona: Writings in Honor of Basque Women Google Scholar

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Terreros, Gorka Bilbao

Terreros, Gorka Bilbao