Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Comedy, Cinema Audiences and Alternative Public Spheres: Screwball and Disparate in Postwar Spain
Authors: Jorza, Diana Roxana
Advisors: Loureiro, Angel G.
Contributors: Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures Department
Keywords: 20th century
Popular culture
Spanish cinema
Spanish intellectual history
Subjects: Romance literature
Film studies
Mass communication
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The current thesis centers on a largely unknown cinematic corpus, made up of screwball and disparate film comedies, many of which have often been discarded as "reactionary" or "escapist" in a monolithically assessed postwar Spanish cinema. Normally coupled with the exaltation of politically committed movies that were analyzed through auteurist lenses, this traditional leftist indictment of a would-be "evasionist" humor seems to be based on an unavowed belief in the existence of a morally and politically "decorous" genre to treat certain topics within a specific sociocultural context, which ensures the verisimilitude and corresponding cultural canonization of that particular discursive type. As this thesis attempts to show, this vision appears to disregard not only the aesthetic complexity and politicizing potential of a ludic, ideologically uncommitted humor, but also the margins of freedom that still existed in a harsh authoritarian society like Spain in the first two decades after the Civil War. Extensive research thus shows that dictatorships like the Francoist regime not only foster disciplinary values but also unwillingly trigger an oblique politicized reading of cultural artifacts by resistant, skeptical audiences. Harboring an undeniable critical attitude, postwar Spanish spectators seem to have also transformed their distrustful film interpretations in various forms of resistance, both silent and shared, which significantly reshaped their subjectivities. The comedic lack of decorum must be linked, nevertheless, not only to the destabilizing comic effects on single individuals, but also on the problematic counter-educational impact of humor on society at large, a concern that is inextricably bound with issues of normative citizenship and disciplinary power. Focusing on screwball and disparate, which flourished between 1939 and 1965, this thesis attempts to ascertain their collective formative influence in the contemporaneous public sphere, as part of a larger process of articulation of alternative subjectivities and communities in the context of everyday life. In consonance with recent historicized revisionist approaches to cinema, the interdisciplinary, transnational genre analysis of this dissertation also seeks to reconstruct the historically specific aesthetic choices and meanings of the postwar Spanish comedy, which are interpreted in a complex interplay with competing genres and contemporaneous forms of popular humor. The current analysis thus tries to reposition these films not only in respect to the political, economic, and social evolution of the postwar context but also to their peculiar conditions of production and reception.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Jorza_princeton_0181D_10532.pdf2.23 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.