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Orphans at play in Cría cuervos (1976) and Estiu 1993 (2017): Reconsidering the playspace

Beaney, Rachel 2021. Orphans at play in Cría cuervos (1976) and Estiu 1993 (2017): Reconsidering the playspace. Forum for Modern Language Studies 56 (4) , pp. 367-388. 10.1093/fmls/cqaa047

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This article seeks to explore the presentation of play in two child-centred Spanish films. Carlos Saura’s Cría cuervos (1976) and Carla Simón’s Estiu 1993 (2017) demonstrate that playful interactions offer cinematic child protagonists a plethora of ways to speak in the narratives. A reconsideration of the child orphan character in Spanish cinema will allow us to move away from limited understandings of the filmic child of much Civil-War themed cinema as a mute witness or cipher of victimhood. This essay will use a tripartite approach, with the transition to democracy as a lens, examining the beginning of the transition in the 1970s as seen in Cría. The consequences of the transition that are apparent in 1990s cinematic childhoods in Estiu will then also be explored. Through a comparative analysis, I demonstrate that the protagonists frequently turn to play to make sense of the dramatic social and political changes that envelop their world. Both Saura and Simón remind audiences that children were indeed present for, and affected by, the historical events of the Franco regime (in Cría cuervos) and the AIDS crisis of 1980s and 1990s Spain (in Estiu 1993).

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0015-8518
Funders: AHRC
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 01:56

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