Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Capitalist Magic and the Sacred Antidote in Carlos Vermut’s Magical Girl (2014)

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2020), 97, (6), 635–648.

Abstract

Given the ongoing Spanish crisis brought about by zealous capitalistic speculation, this article examines the film Magical Girl (2014) by Carlos Vermut as an exploration of the properties of cultural production to serve as an antidote to the ‘magical’ properties of capitalism. Reading in Magical Girl a return to the theological concept of the sacred as proposed by Jean-Luc Nancy, it argues that this sacred is a secular one best seen through artistic production because of its ability to unveil the hidden workings of the capitalist project.

Tomando como contexto la crisis española, originada por el capitalismo especulativo financiero, este artículo examina la película Magical Girl (2014) de Carlos Vermut y explora el potencial de ciertas producciones culturales españolas como antídotos a las propiedades ‘mágicas’ del capitalismo. A través de una lectura de Magical Girl que la propone como un retorno al concepto teológico de lo sagrado, según lo define el filósofo francés Jean-Luc Nancy, este artículo propone a la producción artística como espacio que mejor visibiliza lo sagrado debido a su habilidad para develar los mecanismos ocultos del proyecto capitalista.

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Works cited

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Yokoyama, Mitsuteru, 1966–1967. ‘Mahōtsukai Sunny’, Ribon (Tokyo: Shueisha). Google Scholar

Akatsuka, Fujio, 1662–1965. Himitsu no Akko-chan, Ribon (Tokyo: Shueisha). Google Scholar

Branch, Lori, 2016. ‘Postsecular Studies’, in The Routledge Companion to Literature and Religion, ed. Mark Knight (New York: Routledge), pp. 134–48. Google Scholar

Copjec, Joan, 1989. ‘The Orthopsychic Subject: Film Theory and the Reception of Lacan’, October 49: 53–71. Google Scholar

Copjec, Joan, 2003. Imagine There’s No Woman: Ethics and Sublimation (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press). Google Scholar

Cordoba, António, and Daniel Garcia–Donoso (eds), 2016. The Sacred and Modernity in Urban Spain: Beyond the Secular City (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan). Google Scholar

Derrida, Jacques, 1987. The Truth in Painting, trans. Geoff Bennington and Ian McLeod (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press). Google Scholar

Doane, Mary Ann, 1982. ‘Film and the Masquerade: Theorising the Female Spectator’, Screen 23: 74–88. Google Scholar

Douglass, Carrie B., 1997. Bulls, Bullfighting, and Spanish Identity (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press). Google Scholar

Durkheim, Emile, 2012 [1915]. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, trans. Joseph W. Swain. www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/41360. Accessed 27 April 2020. Google Scholar

Gomez Fortes, Braulio, and Ignacio Urquiza, 2015. ‘Political Corruption and the End of the Two– party System after the May 2015 Spanish Regional Elections’, Regional and Federal Studies 25.4: 379–89. Google Scholar

Harvey, David, 2006. Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development (New York: Verso). Google Scholar

Keesey, Donald, 1978–1979. ‘On Some Recent Interpretations of Catharsis’, The Classical World 72.4: 193–205. Google Scholar

Konings, Martijn, 2018. Capital and Time: For a New Critique of Neoliberal Reason (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press). Google Scholar

Kuro tokage/ Black Lizard. 1968, dir. Kinji Fukasaku (Shochiku). Google Scholar

Landridge, Darren, and Meg Barker (eds), 2007. Safe, Sane and Consensual: Contemporary Perspectives on Sadomasochism (New York: Palgrave Macmillan). Google Scholar

Magical Girl. 2014, dir. Carlos Vermut (Cameo). Google Scholar

Marx, Karl, 1848. The Communist Manifesto. Marxist Internet Archive. www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Manifesto.pdf. Accessed 27 April 2020. Google Scholar

Marx, Karl, and Frederick Engels, 1867. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Vol. I. Marxist Internet Archive. www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Capital-Volume-I.pdf. Accessed 27 April 2020. Google Scholar

McGowen, Todd, 2016. Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets (New York: Columbia University Press). Google Scholar

McMahon, Laura, 2012. Cinema and Contact: The Withdrawal of Touch in Nancy, Breton, Duras and Denis (New York: Legenda). Google Scholar

Moeran, Brian, 2017. ‘Magical Capitalism’, Journal of Business Anthropology 6.2: 133–57. rauli.cbs.dk/index.php/jba/article/view/5409. Accessed 27 April 2020. Google Scholar

Nancy, Jean-Luc, 1991. The Inoperative Community, ed. Peter Connor, trans. Peter Connor, Lisa Garbus, Michael Holland and Simona Sawhney (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Google Scholar

Nancy, Jean-Luc, 1997. ‘The Technique of the Present’. lab404.com/egs/nancy.html. Accessed 28 April 2020. Google Scholar

Nancy, Jean-Luc, 2001. The Evidence of Film: Abbas Kiarostami, trans. Christine Irizarry and Verena Andermatt Conley (Brussels and New York: Yves Gevaert). Google Scholar

Nancy, Jean-Luc, 2013. ‘Notes on the Sacred’, Theory, Culture and Society 30.5: 153–58. Google Scholar

Ortega y Gasset, José, 1966. Obras completas 8 (Madrid: Revista de Occidente). Google Scholar

Rejas, José C., 2017. ‘El toro de Osborne cumple 50 años’, El País, 12 Feb. elpais.com/elpais/2007/02/12/actualidad/1171266529_850215.html. Accessed 27 April 2020. Google Scholar

Royo, Sebastián, 2014. ‘Institutional Degeneration and the Economic Crisis in Spain’, American Behavioral Scientist 58.12: 1568–91. Google Scholar

Saito, K., 2014. ‘Magic, Shōjo, and Metamorphosis: Magical Girl Anime and the Challenges of Changing Gender Identities in Japanese Society’, Journal of Asian Studies 73.1: 143–64. Google Scholar

Sanchez-Biosca, Vicente, 1998. ‘Cuerpo fantasmático, cuerpo religioso, cuerpo corrupto: Viridiana, un discurso de los límites’, Banda Aparte 11: 79–84. Google Scholar

Stengers, Isabelle, 2012. Reclaiming Animism. E-flux. www.e-flux.com/journal/36/61245/reclaiming-animism/. Accessed 27 April 2020. Google Scholar

Viestenz, William, 2014. By the Grace of God: Francoist Spain and the Sacred Roots of Political Imagination (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Google Scholar

Viridiana. 1961, dir. Luis Buñuel (UNINCI, Gustavo Alatriste, Films 59). Google Scholar

Yokoyama, Mitsuteru, 1966–1967. ‘Mahōtsukai Sunny’, Ribon (Tokyo: Shueisha). Google Scholar

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Details

Author details

TENHAAF, RACHEL