By John Hopewell

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Extra info for Out of the Past: Spanish Cinema After Franco

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Many mo dern Spanish directors, by contrast, are frequently elliptical, tending towards hermeticism. Cifesa has tainted the declaration in Spanish films for ever. When Fernando Fernau Gomez announces in La noche mas hermosa ('The Most Beautiful Night', Gutierrez Aragon, 1 9 84) that 'Nothing is impossible for Spanish televi­ sion', the Cifesa 'triumphalism' rears its head in the pointedly appropriate context o f a supp osed Francoist bunker - Spanish television. What sticks in the mind like a bad tune is the tone of the historical films .

The major political effort of the opposition to Franco went into exposing these delusions. Film-makers could isolate the political, social or economic interests under the myths they presented, and attempt to offer, as Elfas Querejeta put it when characterising the films he produced under Franco, 'a vision of reality different from the official version'. Directors could similarly satirise Francoist myths by playing off different versions of reality within their fictions.

Spaniards, it is implied, would never stoop so low. Spaniards, anyway, all pull together when it comes to the crunch: the defenders to the death of Saragossa even include a one-time reader of the Oeuvres Completes of Voltaire. Second, the style of the films is grossly vulgar but absolutely authorita­ rian. Dialogue is peppered with hurrah-phrases: resistance will continue, a character declares in Agustina, until 'not one Frog ('garbancho') is left in Spain'. Yet the Spanish spectator, groomed as a chauvinist new Numan­ tian, is also encouraged to feel like a god.

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