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Representation and the cultural politics of aging in Justino, un asesino de la tercera edad (La Cuadrilla, 1994)

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Abstract:

Challenging the presumed bankruptcy popularly ascribed to horror and its parodic offshoots vis--vis matters of social consciousness, La Cuadrilla's low-budget, Goya-winning Justino, un asesino de la tercera edad/Justino: A Senior Citizen Killer (1994), foregrounds the issue of aged-based, forced retirement at a time when youthful exploits and images dominate much of mainstream Spanish cinema. The film ideographically links imposed retirement to the surrendering of adulthood and of life itself, thus forging a discourse that places this quirky comedy in conversation with an emerging body of social theory on aging (precisely as demographic studies signal unprecedented growth in Spain's senior-citizen population). At the level of representation, Justino's deadly performance of resistance flips onto its head a deep-seated element of victimhood that has often characterized on-screen senior identity. The peculiarities of the protagonist's subject position raise, in an otherwise light spoof on the slasher genre, some unexpectedly heavy questions concerning the politics of age and generation in early 1990s' Spain.

Keywords: La Cuadrilla; aging; comedic horror; representation; social-issue cinema; subjectivity

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/shci.6.2.139/1

Affiliations: Pennsylvania State University.

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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