The advent of fascism in Spain during the second half of the 30s became an emblem of a historical lockdown, a kind of revival of the deadly battles between Catholics and Protestants during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). This week, we sought to understand the advent of fascism as the result of a series of intense, deeply conflicted internal battles that characterized the Second Republic and its last stage, the Civil War (1936-1939). This advent became also an emblem of a historical lockdown that would last 40 years. Despite the violence, loss, and death, music and religiosity played a role in this moment of reconfiguration of historical memory, as sources of life and also death, and as mediators of the conflicted and contradictory citizenship and nationhood Spain had become.
On Tuesday we discussed the basics of the “Spanish Civil War,” and the role that these three years played in the unfolding of fascism and historical memory; we saw how Anarchy, Marxism / Communism, Republicanism, and Nationalism all weighed in the production of films in this decade, and more particularly through the Civil War period. We watched in class a clip of Benito Perojo’s Suspiros de España / Whispers of-from Spain (1938), and in our reading we focused on the strategic negotiation of the visual aspect (camera angles and shots, costuming, composition, the dimension of verisimilitude granted by documentary footage composed with historical images of written registers, formation of mobs, poverty, and the role of song as a voice-over. We contrasted Perojo’s hopeful, highly aestheticized view of these Civil War events with Estrellita Castro as great buffer to alleviate loss and death, with Director Basilio Martín Patino’s Canciones para después de una guerra / Songs for the Time After A War (1976). Patino died in mid-August of 2017, and his great film produced merely a year after the death of the dictator replayed the times of the Civil War with clinical precision, to present a clearer shot than Perojo’s.
In your post this week, consider the four areas that Pavlovic names for film production in the late 30s (Anarchy, Marxism / Communism, Republicanism, and Nationalism ), and compare-contrast Perojo’s Whispers with Patino’s Songs. NOTE: I am not asking you to summarize our reading from Thursday’s class, but to find your own reading of these songs and whispers, to build an argument about war and music in the time of advent of fascism in Spain.
Try to post your reflection by Sunday afternoon. Hope to see some of you Sunday at 4.