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Rumbas, Tangos, Boleros and Cupls: Performing and crossing musical borders in Una cubana en Espaa (1951)

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This essay examines early Francoist cinema through a transnational perspective, shedding light on an understudied history of transatlantic crossings by Latin American-and Iberian directors and performers. Taking the musical Una cubana en Espaa (1951) as a case study, I seek to trace the transcultural relationships and translocations evoked by the film's title in the film's set design, costumes and musical score and in the characters' idiosyncrasies of speech. In the process, I investigate the ways in which bodies and voices, dialog, music, costumes and sets are dialectically invested in performing difference and likeness, alternately erecting and dismantling symbolic borders. In the end, Una cubana en Espaa strives towards the overcoming of conflict through an affirmation of underlying commonalities, a cornerstone of the rhetoric of Hispanidad endorsed by Franco's regime, thereby adumbrating a vision of community which superseded political and cultural difference.

Keywords: Blanquita Amaro; Cifesa; Francoist cinema; Hispanidad; Luis Bayn Herrera; transnational cinema

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: New York University.

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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