The representation of the family in the Spanish cinema from 1950 to the present day
The principal aim of this thesis is to study the ways the family has been represented in Spanish cinema both during the dictatorship of General Franco and in the early years of democracy after his death. The family, both as a social institution and as the privileged domain of individuals, provides unrivalled scope for conducting an examination of a whole range of issues peculiar to Spanish society in the second half of the twentieth century, since the relationships of power, domination and submission in the context of the family under patriarchy may represent the experiences of a whole society smothered by a repressive and authoritarian regime. It is indeed through the depiction of the family, and the exaltation or degradation of family values as presented in key films, that we may most clearly understand the political, social and moral ideas which have prevailed in Spain over the last forty years. The family, a medium as powerful as any other institution of the State - the Police, the Army, the Church, the School - in shaping and preserving the rigid structures of a male-dominated society, offers a yardstick for measuring the real extent of the changes which are supposed to have taken place in Spain since the mid-point of the century, during which time the nation has become transformed from a backward, deeply conservative and poverty-stricken country of the post-war era into a developed and complex society consolidated under Socialist governments since 1982. Espousing Molly Haskell's view that 'Movies are one of the clearest and most accesible of looking glasses into the past, being both cultural artifacts and mirrors', I intend to explore selected aspects of this varied subject matter as depicted in a range of Spanish films made during the last four decades.' Without ignoring the problems and peculiarities of the Spanish Film Industry, I shall progress from a study of the general preoccupations introduced in films of different periods to a discussion of the specific treatment of the theme of the family in them. Exploiting recent developments in ideological, psychoanalytical and feminist theories, and drawing on earlier works of major film theorists, I shall investigate the topics of patriarchy, marriage, monogamy, the nuclear family, notions of masculinity and femininity, the role of women in society and other matters included under the general term of Sexual Politics.