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Cinema and the Spanish Civil War
Esteve Riambau, Filmoteca de Catalunya (7/15, 7/16, 7/18); Blaine Bartell, UCLA Film & Television Archive (7/16).
The Spanish Civil War, the beginning of which is dated to July 1936, 80 years ago, was a tremendous military test, but also a test of cinema in the lead-up to World War II. Between 1936 and 1939, new cameras were introduced, as well as propaganda strategies developed from multiple points of views, involving those of political parties, and factions, and distinguished international filmmakers such as Joris Ivens and André Malraux, who visited the battlefields. Subsequently, the Franco regime applied an iron-fisted censorship t prohibit interpretations other than those of the victors and Franco himself sketched out guidelines by authoring the original story for the film Raza (1942). Not until the death of the dictator, in 1975, could Spanish cinema freely exercise its memory through films containing testimonies of anonymous survivors – such as the protagonists of the documentaries Els nens de Rússia (2001) or La doble vida del faquir (2005) – or through the films reconstructing stories from the perspective of the vanquished, as in the case of the freature Pà Negre (2010).
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