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Theatricality/sexuality/performance: Neorrealism and the construction of identity in Calle Mayor and Entre Visillos

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This article challenges the widely accepted notion that the protagonist in Juan Antonio Bardem's film Calle Mayor, Isabel, is not an object of sexual desire. The film shows a theatrical society where the characters constantly fabricate or refashion their own identities. These performative attitudes pose the question of an identity crisis/identity fabrication, which becomes the focus of Bardem's film. Isabel acts a doubly ambiguous signifier, precisely because the relationships between signified and signifier have been altered. I make cross references to another text of the same period and with similar preoccupations, and which also departs from a faade of Neorrealism to interrogate identity repression and the dangers of stereotyping: Carmen Martn Gaite's novel Entre Visillos.

Keywords: Bardem; Martn-Gaite; Neorrealism; identity; performance

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Royal Holloway, University of London.

Publication date: September 21, 2007

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