In this course we will study contemporary film with reference to Spain. However, they are not all entirely Spanish. Some take place in Spain but were filmed by foreign directors. Others take place outside of Spain. Almost all of the films have strong international elements or borrow from foreign genres. Spanish artistic production, like all culture, is increasingly tuned into international circuits, where filmmakers find material and inspiration for their creations from a wide range of settings.
Therefore, we will not consider Spain as a set of fixed and essential characteristics that determine the cultural manifestations occurring within its borders. We should think of Spain more as a crossroads, a meeting ground of different historical influences, connected to a global network of migrations and communications. While in a course on Franco-era Spain everything seems to be tied to a central set of concerns and struggles, contemporary cultural production is much more varied in themes and aesthetics. It is impossible to find a single current that runs through its different forms.
We will, however, think through a question that seems to run through many of these films: how do we define a self? In a context characterised by fluctuation, how are individuals and groups conceived in relation to their various determinants? (geography, personal and social relations, community, history, ethical and political concerns) In an age of global communications and virtual technologies, what role do fantasy and the imagination play in this process?