Spanish Cinema Essay

Submitted By destinyflame-.
Words: 1715
Pages: 7

Winter 2009 Cinema History in Barcelona and Spain Cinema reflects the voice and culture of a nation. It documents important changes in politics, lifestyle, and even language. Barcelona was the birthplace for Cinema in of Spain. During the silent period of film all of the biggest Spanish directors including Marro, Chmon, Gelabert, and Bnos were based out of Barcelona (Alvarez 6). The first films that had sound where shown in Barcelona before anywhere else, although without sound due to the lapse in technological capabilities (Alvarez 7). Barcelonas movement in film did not stop there. Throughout the years and generations Catalan cinema has been a part of Spanish culture and has in its own right fought to survive. In the beginning Barcelona was the sole player in Spanish Cinema. Madrid, the other major metropolitan area, was more concerned with traditional forms of entertainment such as bullfighting and la zarzuela (musical theater) (Alvarez 6). The first Spanish film was actually that of a group of church goers leaving Sunday Mass which was entitled Salida de la misa de doce del Pilar or in English Leaving the Midday Mass at the Church of Pilar in Zaragoza. This film was already the way from 1896 and would seem to show an enthusiastic future for film if it were not for such factors as foreign competition, government, and an overbearing church (Stone 14). During the turn of the century in particular themes of the church dominated with films such as The View of Campo Valds Taken at the Leaving of Midday Mass, Leaving the Midday Mass at the Church of Saint Peter, and Voyage of His Majesty to Albufera (Stone 15). The first fiction film did not come along until 1897. The director was Fructouso Gelabert who was born in Barcelona and was a carpenter and photographer by trade (Stone 16). His first film, Brawl in a Caf, reflected the Catalan mindset of revolution and separating from its current government (which back then was not quite yet under Francos rule, allowing this films sediment to be expressed). The film was only 48 seconds long, and the story reflected the title two gentleman fighting in a caf only to be separated by a good Samaritan. Much like Gelabert, even those of middle class status showcased their wealth by sponsoring films that featured boats and trains(Stone 17). Gelabert, however, was the one who tried to pull stories into these silent films. He went on to do several literary adaptions such as Terra Baixa and Mala Raza, the latter of which he was unsuccessfully sued for plagiarism (Bentley 6). He had a sense of humor and enjoyed utilizing special effects in his film as illustrating in his films Cerveza gratis and Choque de dos translnticos respectively (Bentley 6). By the time he died he had produced over 111 films (Bentley 6). Another notable director was Segundo de Chomn. Chomn studied film in Paris, but experimented in Barcelona (Bentley 7). He brought not only color to the industry, but was the first one who introduced the concept of moving a camera while filming and thus inventing the traveling shot (Stone 18). He also introduced stop motion into the industry with his well known film El hotel elctrico (The Haunted Hotel) which consisted of a couple checking into a hotel and witnessing inanimate objects moving by themselves (Bentley 7). While the concept may sound cryptic, the film was actually done in a very light hearted and humorous manner (Stone 18). Chomn eventually teamed up with Joan Fuster Gari to start a production company of which they turned out thirty seven films, but only two of these films were picked up for distribution, making the company unprofitable. Fuster abandoned the company leaving Chomn without a studio or equiptment, and thus ending another period in Spanish and Catalan film (Stone 19). Around this time a war erupted that would change the face of cinema all over. World War I had begun, and while Spain was doing its best to stay out of it while