This analysis of contemporary Spanish cinema focuses on one of its fundamental recurring themes: the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath. More than a war-film sub-genre, the films analyzed here manifest a somewhat broader phenomenon of Spanish culture known as cainismo, or a fraternal antagonism within the Spanish society. This study begins with films that portray the social turmoil that led up to the civil war, continues with films that portray the actual conflict on the front line and the repercussions of the war on the civilian population in the rear guard, and analyzes the cinematographic representation of various aspects of the aftermath of the war-the anti-Franco guerilla movement, the misery and the black market, "moles" who lived clandestine lives, attempts to relive the past, the long-standing social divisions in Spanish society, and the documentary films that attempt to reconstruct the past. Spain's remarkable transition from dictatorship to democracy allowed new perspectives on the civil war and the Franco regime, and this process of probing the past continues with the most contemporary films in Spain today. This illustrated study will be welcomed by those interested in film studies, Hispanic studies, twentieth-century history, and the Spanish civil war.
Thomas G. Deveny is Chair, Dept. of Foreign Languages, and Professor of Spanish, Western Maryland College. He is the author of several articles on Spanish film, Spanish literature, and Brazilian literature.