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The bombing of Guernica in documentary film: Art and anniversary as discursive elements

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This article examines the way in which the April 1937 bombing of Guernica has been represented, either as an isolated episode or as part of the broader development of the Spanish Civil War, in documentaries created in regional, national and international production contexts. It draws attention to the techniques used in these films, mostly made for television, to reach viewers that – since they belong to multiple interpretative communities – are bound to understand the war in different ways. The study considers some of the ways in which the relationship between this historical event and Pablo Picasso’s Guernica both memorializes and universalizes the episode as a discursive element. I argue that this process contributes to framing events of the past both independently and as part of a cycle of commemorative junctures that comprise a regular schedule of anniversaries.
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Keywords: Guernica; Spanish Civil War; documentary; film; history; memory; television

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Bowdoin College

Publication date: 01 April 2016

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  • The Catalan Journal of Communication and Cultural Studies (CJCS) is committed to publishing research and theoretical articles in the fields of media studies, popular culture and cinema, public relations and advertising studies, social communication, new media, language uses in the media, communication and cultural policies, social and national identities, gender studies, sports and leisure, tourism and heritage, among other related issues. CJCS publishes double blind peer-reviewed articles and its aims and scope cover not only Catalan media and cultural systems but also other social contexts.
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