The Embodiment of Death and Life: Artistic Influences on Carlos Saura and Victor Erice in Three Films from Late Francoist Spain
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In this project I explore how Spanish visual culture (in addition to select works of art from other European nations), especially but not solely Spanish Baroque painting and the works of Francisco Goya, inspired the filmmakers Carlos Saura and Victor Erice in their depiction of late Francoist Spanish society. Additionally, I interpret how these two directors, whose acclaimed work changed Spanish cinema in the 1960s and 1970s, specifically embody Francoist Spain in their characters and settings. In my exploration of artistic influences on Saura and Erice’s embodiment of Francoism, I analyze three films, in order of their theatrical release: The Garden of Delights (1970), directed by Carlos Saura, The Spirit of the Beehive (1972), directed by Victor Erice, and Cria Cuervos (1975), directed by Saura. My method for analyzing each film includes my allusion to specific works of art that I consider as influential to Saura and Erice, whether on a conscious or subconscious level. Each film, in my view, evokes images that play an important role in Spanish visual culture, and the nation’s collective memory. I discuss The Garden of Delights primarily within the context of Hieronymus Bosch’s eponymous painting, as well as Goya’s Duel with Clubs. I analyze The Spirit of the Beehive, the film which I see as most evocative of painting, primarily within the context of Baroque and Romantic painting, and how the two styles’ contrasts are evoked in the film’s indoor and outdoor scenes, respectively. I show how Cria Cuervos, filmed as Franco lay dying, primarily evokes Goya’s Saturn and Velazquez’ portraiture. I conclude that (primarily) Spanish visual culture influenced Saura and Erice’s embodiment of their repressive society and effectively aided the auteurs’ symbolistic subversive filmmaking.
DepartmentGraduate Liberal Studies
CitationMolotiu, Razvan (2017). The Embodiment of Death and Life: Artistic Influences on Carlos Saura and Victor Erice in Three Films from Late Francoist Spain. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/14575.
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Rights for Collection: Graduate Liberal Studies