Cinema and the Spanish Civil War
This program takes up this ideological diversity, but also a diversity of genres, formats and eras, from newsreels to propaganda and documentaries to fiction features, produced in Spain or Hollywood.
The Spanish Civil War, the beginning of which is dated to July 1936, 80 years ago, was a tremendous military test, but also a test of cinema in the lead-up to World War II. Between 1936 and 1939, new cameras were introduced, as well as propaganda strategies developed from multiple points of view, involving those of political parties, and factions, and distinguished international filmmakers such as Joris Ivens and André Malraux, who visited the battlefields.
Subsequently, the Franco regime applied an iron-fisted censorship to prohibit interpretations other than those of the victors and Franco himself sketched out guidelines by authoring the original story for the film Raza (1942). Not until the death of the dictator, in 1975, could Spanish cinema freely exercise its memory through films containing testimonies of anonymous survivors —such as the protagonists of the documentaries Els nens de Rússia (2001) or La doble vida del faquir (2005)— or through films reconstructing stories from the perspective of the vanquished, as in the case of the feature Pà Negre (2010).
This program, organized by Esteve Riambau, Director of the Filmoteca de Catalunya, in cooperation with Shannon Kelley, Head of Public Programs for UCLA Film & Television Archive, takes up this ideological diversity, but also a diversity of genres, formats and eras, from newsreels to propaganda and documentaries to fiction features, produced in Spain or Hollywood. Such a curation could not be realized without the collaboration of film archives, as indeed, other collections in the U.S. and Spain have also been tapped for this program. These institutions preserve the cinematic memory that keeps alive, for a new generation of witnesses, the record of conflicts as important as the Spanish Civil War.