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Destiny, theatricality and identity in contemporary European cinema

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This article explores ten years of contemporary Spanish cinema (19962006) and investigates how Spanish cinema, in line with European film of this period, manipulates and integrates theatrical components to reinvent itself. As Spanish cinema attempts to compete with Hollywood blockbusters and forge a new status in world cinema, the re-creation of theatrical devices within a cinematic medium contributes to an exploration of identity and destiny on screen. Through analysis of selected films by internationally renowned and lesser-known film directors, including Almdovar, Amenbar and Iborra, varying degrees of theatricality will be explored to reach some understanding of how the theatrical can elucidate themes, balance Hollywood influences and both complement and undermine the cinematic experience. Beginning and ending with adaptations of plays by Lope de Vega to which the Spanish public responded in very different ways, this article will assess whether it is truly possible for one genre to function within another.

Keywords: Alejandro Amenbar Open Your Eyes; The Sea Inside; Dogme 95; Lars Von Trier Dogville; Manderlay; Manuel Iborra La dama boba; Ozon 5x2; Pedro Almodvar Live Flesh; All About My Mother; Talk to Her; Pilar Mir The Dog in the Manger; Tykwer Run Lola Run; destiny; identity; theatricality

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Swansea University.

Publication date: February 9, 2007

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  • The journal aims to provide a platform for the study of new forms of cinematic practice and fresh approaches to cinemas hitherto neglected in western scholarship. It particularly welcomes scholarship that does not take existing paradigms and theoretical conceptualisations as given; rather, it anticipates submissions that are refreshing in approach and exhibit a willingness to tackle cinematic practices that are still in the process of development into something new.  
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