La madre muerta (The Dead Mother, 1993) and Tierra (Earth, 1995): Basque identity, or just the other?

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This paper examines two films by Julio Medem and Juanma Bajo Ulloa in relation to questions raised by the lable Basque film. These questions originate in the fact that so-called Basque films are not normally filmed in the Basque language; that Basque identity has a history of suppression by the Spanish State, and that its renowned directors, such as Medem and Bajo Ulloa, try to avoid being labelled Basque. Despite their formal differences, this paper argues that anxieties in relation to masculine, regional, national, and/or transnational identity emerge in the way both films screen the identity of their protagonists as a kind of cinematographic, Lacanian battle with O/others that is represented in the internal divisions of the protagonists, in the narrative fort-da oscillation between these protagonists and the female characters, and, finally, in the two films' ironic and demystifying representations of Basque mythology and Christian iconography.

Keywords: Basque film; Lacanian O/others; Spanish State; alterity; masculine identity; psychoanalysis

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University College, London.

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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