Stardom Wars: Controversies on Creativity and Authorship in Spanish Cinema
Universidad Pompeu Fabra
Area of Study
Art, Film Studies, Spanish Culture
Taught In English
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
The birth of cinema transformed the way we understand artistic creation. Film is a mechanically reproduced artwork without the aura of uniqueness that characterizes classical pieces (Benjamin, 1935). It emerges as a mechanical extension of the human body, an “artificial eye”. Film production is also automated: it is a paradigm of “creative industry” (Howkins, 2001). In many ways, cinema appears at the intersection of the joint creative effort of human talent, industry, science & technology. This course will study various aspects of creativity and authorship in examples from Spanish cinematography. Early theoretical and practical approaches to filmic creation, the development of new artistic professions and creative labor organization in the film industry will be studied through Spanish silent cinema and the growth of CIFESA studios (1932-1961).
There will be an introduction to the debates over the status of film’s leading creators, looking at producers, directors, and writers from this period. The political dimension will be presented through the creative ways in which filmmakers eluded Franco’s censorship. Since the 1960s and the rise of modern cinema, the highly influential French auteur theory favors the director as a film’s main creator. The course will introduce Spanish auteurs from the modern period (Camus, Picazo) and present critiques of the director’s importance, implicit in works of postmodern filmmakers (Almodóvar, Medem). The challenges faced by contemporary auteurs (Lacuesta, Sorogoyen) at the side of recent ideas sharply opposed to the auteur theory that consider films as a result of collective creation (Sellors, 2007) or the audience as a creative force (Mayne, 2002). The work of Spanish experimental filmmaking platforms like “Authorless Cinema Collective”, as well as the creative design of contemporary Spanish cinematography’s cultural policies and initiatives that foster female creativity will be considered. This course will also have a creative component: students will make short films as group projects.
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.