Confessional Cinema: Religion, Film, and Modernity in Spains Development Years, 19601975

Confessional Cinema: Religion, Film, and Modernity in Spain’s Development Years, 1960–1975

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By Jorge Pérez
Toronto Iberic
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2017
World Rights
280 Pages
ISBN 9781487501082
Published May 2017
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In Confessional Cinema, Jorge Pérez analyzes how cinema engaged the shifting role of religion during the last fifteen years of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship. Pérez interrogates the assumption that after 1957, when the Franco regime recast itself in a secular and modernizing fashion, religion vanished from the cultural field. Instead, Spanish cinema addressed the transformation within Spanish Catholicism following Vatican II and Spain’s modernization processes.

Confessional Cinema offers the first analysis of a neglected body of Spanish films, "nun films," which focus on the active role of religious women in the transformation of Spanish Catholicism. Pérez argues that commercial films, despite being less aesthetically accomplished, delved more than oppositional, art-house films into the fluctuating zeitgeist of the development years regarding the transformations within Spanish Catholicism. Confessional Cinema offers a provocative and original analysis of the significance of religion not from a theological point of view, but rather as a socio-political force and cultural determinant in the Spanish public sphere of this period, known as desarrollismo (development years) from 1960-1975.

Jorge Pérez is a professor of Spanish in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Texas, Austin.

Introduction: Film, Religion, and the Desarrollismo periodChapter 1: Lighting Sainthood in the Time of Technocracy
Chapter 2: Praying for Development in Post-Vatican II Comedies
Chapter 3: Gender and Modernization in Nun Films
Chapter 4: Narratives of Suspicion: Religion in the Nuevo Cine Español

Works Cited

"Jorge Pérez has crafted a readable and well organized overview of Spain’s desarrollismo years. He successfully fills the gap in scholarly writing with his compelling analysis of the evolving importance played by religion in the Spanish project of modernity."

Samuel Amago, Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor of Spanish, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Confessional Cinema is a sophisticated work that elegantly intertwines cultural theory, history, and film criticism. Jorge Pérez’s analyses are invariably superb, tremendously perceptive, and illuminating. Confessional Cinema is bound to be a most influential work and a fundamental referent in Spanish cultural and film studies for years to come."

Jorge Marí, Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, North Carolina State University

"This is an outstanding book, and I look forward to referencing it in future graduate courses."

Matthew Marr, Associate Professor of Spanish, Penn State University