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City, costumbrismo and stereotypes: populist discourse and popular culture in Edgar Neville’s El crimen de la Calle de Bordadores (1946)

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Edgar Neville is not only one of the most significant film-makers of the 1940s, his overall influence on the subsequent history of Spanish cinema has proven unparalleled and stretches from the critical films of his inmediate heirs, Luis García Berlanga and Juan Antonio Bardem, to the contemporary work of Pedro Almodóvar. Neville, moreover, combined his Hollywood training with a background in popular Madrid theatre (as well as an intimate knowledge of his native city), to establish a cinematic legacy that endures to this day. This article argues that, while Neville’s ideological sympathies fluctuated, his placing in the interstices of popular culture and Francoist cultural populism provides rich material for a Gramscian interpretation of his work and the historical context that produced it. Such an approach enables the possibility of an unmasking of class and gender relations in film that avoids both the ‘mechanical’ pitfalls of classical Marxism and subverts as ‘totalizing’ the thrust of Foucauldian discourse analysis.

Keywords: Ideology; discourse; everyday; metonymy; populism; urban

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Missouri

Publication date: 2004-03-01

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