The ‘road that turning always...’: Re-placing the familiar and the unfamiliar in Iciar Bollain’s Flores de otro mundo/Flowers from Another World (1999)
Author: Santaolalla, Isabel
Source: Studies in European Cinema, Volume 1, Number 2, September 2004 , pp. 129-138(10)
Abstract:Recent Spanish cinema has tended to choose the city as the stage for the encounter between old and new versions of ethnicity. The city’s fundamental heterogeneous condition has turned it into the ‘natural’ space for the portrayal of, say, modern versions of gypsyness, or embryonic relations between nationals and immigrants. Flores de otro mundo/Flowers from Another World (Bollain, 1999) seeks new horizons, and concentrates on the exposure of the very heart of (pen)insular Spain to the new realities of transnational contact, offering the new arrivals access to places from which they had been traditionally excluded. Interestingly, the film frustrates expectations of what is familiar (the Spanish village and its inhabitants) and what is unfamiliar (the Caribbean mulattos). In Flowers, as in Freud’s theorization of the ‘uncanny’, the familiar and the unfamiliar inhabit the same space, one of ambiguity in which opposites coincide. Through mechanisms of space construction, the conventional dichotomies of the ‘here’ vs. ‘there’, the ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ are undermined. Recourse to liminal, transitional spaces, and the foregrounding of a variety of instruments that serve to negotiate spatial isolation or to cut across spatial frontiers adds to the film’s construction of identity and history through space.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Roehampton University of Surrey, UK
Publication date: 2004-09-01
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