By Juan F. Egea
In Dark Laughter, Juan F. Egea offers a amazing in-depth research of the darkish comedy movie style in Spain, in addition to a provocative severe engagement with the belief of nationwide cinema, the visible size of cultural specificity, and the ethics of darkish humor.
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Extra info for Dark Laughter: Spanish Film, Comedy, and the Nation
42 I would argue instead that only occasionally is the term grotesque appropriate or the concept of “deformation” precise enough for describing the aesthetics of the films I have set out to investigate. A similar feeling of unseemliness surrounds the use of the prefix neo either to characterize these films or to qualify their aesthetics. Neorealism is indeed a term liberally used in the discussion of cinema under Francoism and refers to the film praxis of postwar Italy. The debate concerning what the Spanish cinema of the 1950s and 1960s owes to that film style, especially after the weeks of Italian cinema that took place in Madrid in 1951 and 1953, has been endless and, in some cases, pointless.
If I mention both costumbrismo and sainete now as meaningful paradigms of analysis, it is just to recognize the weight they carry to counterbalance the sometimes overwhelming credence given to the aesthetics of expressive deformation in the readings of these films. A case in point would be the compulsion to align these movies with other Spanish aesthetic traditions. 44 The term esperpento is particularly ubiquitous and vexing in discussions of Spanish culture in general and Spanish film in particular.
It is also the moment 34 M o ve m en t a n d Pa ra l y s i s, Di s s i d ence a nd Id enti ty in the story when the old man is named as he desires to be named. ” By then, the existential ambivalence of the vehicle has begun to affect the identity of anyone who drives it too. What this vehicle is, what it should be called, and how it should be interpellated are questions already advanced the moment Don Anselmo’s daughter-in-law refers to his handicapped friends as anormales (abnormal ones), a label that immediately calls attention to the concept of normalcy itself.