Monsters, Violence, Gender Roles, and Family in Spanish Film Essay

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Monsters and Violence and Gender Roles and Concept of Family in Spanish Film

Francisco Franco Bahamonde's rightist regime has left a severe mark on Spanish history and tradition, influencing many film directors to get actively involved in presenting society with conditions in the territory during the period. Victor Erice's the Spirit of the Beehive and Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth both deal with events in Franco's Spain and with the Spanish Civil War in particular - as seen from the fiction-concentrated perspectives of two little girls. Even with the fact that these two motion pictures were made during different eras, one can still sense that they are generated by anti-authoritarian feelings in regard to Spain in the 1936-1975 period.

Whereas society typically considers that monsters are creatures with grotesque physical features and that are only interested in harming people, Erice and del Toro put across their own points-of-view concerning the matter. Unlike most people, the lead character in the Spirit of the Beehive, Ana (most probably as a result of being able to see things from an objective perspective because of her young age) questions the evil nature of Frankenstein's monster and actually expresses sympathy toward the creature. She actually influences viewers in adopting a less biased understanding of monsters in favor of trying to gain a better appreciation of the factors responsible for causing the respective creatures to behave accordingly.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Essay on Monsters, Violence, Gender Roles, & Family in Spanish Film Assignment

It had been particularly difficult for a film director contemporary to Franco to produce materials that contradicted the leader's convictions and Erice likely experienced great distress while making the motion picture (Spanish_Cinema_Under_Franco_version2). Even with that, his choice of making a movie that would use a great deal of metaphors to send the message he wanted to send instead of actual anti-fascist elements made it possible for him to provide viewers with an unique experience that they are expected to interpret in accordance to the director's perspective. Erice obviously wants people to recognize that one does not necessarily have to respect traditions in order to be admitted as a monster. From the director's point-of-view, a monster is in point of fact the product of individuals who blindly promote values related to their self-centeredness and with no regard to the consequences that their actions have on society as a whole. The central character of the Spirit of the Beehive further contributes to making people understand that only an innocent mind can see beyond appearances and express an interest for the soul that is behind uniform and facial features.

Taking the Spanish Civil War as a point of departure for the film's script, Erice uses the violence in Frankenstein and the one seen as the republican soldier is shot with the purpose of highlighting the rapidity with which matters can change from being tranquil and rather beautiful to being dreadful. Erice's film expresses progress from some of the earlier motion pictures produced during Franco's reign, as the Spanish leader was apparently obsessed with censoring anything that he considered was not in accordance to the concepts promoted by his leadership. Also, he seemed particularly interested in promoting films that put the Spanish revolutionaries in a good light.

In contrast to Pan's Labyrinth (that was produced in an era when society had experienced serious progress from how it was during the early 1970s), the Spirit of the Beehive is notable because it presented innovative elements in a time when people were oppressed and when censorship was in it glory. The main character in Pan's Labyrinth, Ofelia, desires to gain control over her life and over what happens with the individuals that she interacts with. In spite of the fact that some might think that the film is actually intended to be viewed by children, reality is completely different, given that the violence and the gore in the movie is enough to frighten even some of the most experienced movie goers. The violence present in this motion picture does not influence audiences in developing a feeling of excitement and admiration, as it actually produces emotions related to terror and shock in regard to the antagonistic character in the film -- Vidal. Similarly to how the "monster" in Erice's motion picture is recognized for the fact that it is only a victim in the overall scheme of events, the faun in Pan's Labyrinth is a somewhat simple creature that respects ethic values and who is reluctant to support immoralities. Del Toro beautifully manages to present a fairy tale based on the violence and suffering from the Spanish Civil War. However, the film is certainly not something a child should watch, considering that it puts across explicit violence, children who are obsessed with magic and with disobeying the rules that their tutors impose. Ofelia takes on a position of authority, breaking free from conventionality and embracing her own personality in trying to recover her place as Princess Moanna.

With the faun in Pan's Labyrinth being anything but an individual whom adults would consider trustworthy, it seems particularly strange that Ofelia does not hesitate to follow his instructions and that she considers him reliable. As she becomes more and more convinced in regard to her true personality, Ofelia develops a feeling of power, gradually becoming less willing to subject to the faun or to her step father. Whereas the protagonist is relatively powerless in the exterior world, she takes on a more authoritarian character in her imagined world where her true nature is recognized and where those around her respect her for what she is.

Question 2:

Fernando Trueba's film Belle Epoque and Pedro Almodovar's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown are both very different from the traditional concept of family, considering that they bring forth elements that are at least controversial. The two directors have intended their motion pictures to present audiences with alternatives to soap opera-like families that are rather conventional and that experience normal events (even when they express stressing situations).

Choosing a commonly discussed topic involving a farmer's daughter to serve as a basis for his movie, Trueba uses the concept and elaborates on it making it more vivid and much more complex. The farmer in this situation has four daughters and each of them is anything but normal, given that Fernando, the protagonist, finds that it is virtually impossible for him to form a connection with any of the girls that he initially develops affection for. Fernando rapidly discovers that he is not just a simple traveler whom the locals welcome in their household and that there is much more to the situation than it initially appears.

The lead character's importance is slowly but surely diminished as the girls express their lack of interest in him. As the storyline progresses, one is likely to get the feeling that Fernando is little more than a toy in the hands of Clara, Violeta and Rocio and that he is no longer the courageous adventurer he appeared to be in the beginning of the motion picture.

Trueba is most probably determined to present the vulnerability of some of the most cherished institutions that exists. The moment when Fernando is shown being at the mercy of two soldiers who end up dying several seconds later emphasizes the fragility of warfare and the irony standing behind every major disagreement.

With the girls' mother herself being a free-spirited individual determined to act in accordance with her self-interest, it becomes obvious why the family is so different from a conventional one and why each of the girls has a particularity that one is not likely to find in normal people.

Even though the girls have wonderful personalities, they are often reprimanded as a result of their gender. Roccio's situation concerning her potential marriage with Juanito is particularly interesting because she is reluctant to get married because of the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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