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From Late Francoist Regime to Spanish Transition: Woman, Sexuality and National Project Through Filmic Comedies

Ana Cristina Bugallo, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Through a group of films from the late 60s and 70s which have been totally obliterated in the canonical studies about Spanish film due to their low technical quality and apparent triviality, this study focuses on their cultural impact, overwhelming production and extending consume. This group of films, belonging to a genre called “sexy-celtiberic” comedies, suggests and presents a series of social, psychological and sexual behaviors very important in the dynamics of the configuration of a national ideology. The evolution of the treatment of the female body and her sexuality in this filmic genre provides a very challenging field of study within a social, economic, political and cultural context. The use of the female body in this cultural media serves to shape, in a controlled way, the national identity of a society under a dictatorial regime based on a traditionalist moral ideology that is being undermined by a cultural “other.” The sexual and national economy can not work in a simple opposition to the new and foreign, but, as we can see in these comedies, a play of acceptance and repulse comes into action. The female body is one of the pillars on which this national transformation into democracy is supported and where the text of this new national configuration is inscribed. The national discourse is inscribed in the female body, a foreign one in the comedies of the late 60s and a national one in the 70s, to pertain a heterosexual economy whose aims are matrimony and reproduction. However, the Spanish female body needs to contain certain sexual actions, very far away from the moral duty imposed on her, to save the national welfare (that is to say, the male Spaniard) from the foreign influences. Women become a non-historic and pure signifier that can be moved along a chain of signifying and can be furnished with different meanings within a national discourse. Her use and role are going to be present in the long and difficult road to Spanish democracy.

Subject Area

Modern literature|Film studies|Womens studies|Romance literature|Literature

Recommended Citation

Bugallo, Ana Cristina, "From Late Francoist Regime to Spanish Transition: Woman, Sexuality and National Project Through Filmic Comedies" (2002). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3039342.