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Cinematising the crowd: V. Blasco Ibaez's Silent Sangre y arena (1916)

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In present essay I examine the image of the crowd in Vicente Blasco Ibaez's 1916 film adaptation of his novel Sangre y arena (1908) and how the writer's foray into the art of filmmaking constitutes an attempt to harness the popular appeal of film as an instrument of democracy. I explore the cinematisation of the novel's critique of the myths of fame and celebrity that sustained the bullfighter as a popular hero, and how film and novel eventually reveal him to be a product of the degenerate desires of a crowd of fans. I offer a detailed analysis of how Blasco uses the visualisation of the crowd on-screen to make the case that he does so not only to underscore his moralising message, but also as a mechanism to force the potentially unruly crowd of spectators, gathered in the cinema, to confront and reject a negative image of itself.

Keywords: bullfighting; celebrity; crowd theory; literary adaptation; silent film

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Bates College, USA.

Publication date: May 19, 2008

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