Episode 11- Children, Gender and Memory in Two Recent Spanish-Language Films


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This episode focuses on two recent Spanish-language films that comment on the Spanish Civil War, the Franco dictatorship and the transition to democracy: Devil’s Backbone (El espinazo del diablo) by Guillermo del Toro and Bad Education (Mala Educación) by Pedro Almodóvar. Interestingly, both films feature abused children, boarding schools for boys, strongly masculine but corrupted male characters and few female characters. How do these filmmakers’ efforts to comment on Spain’s recent past lead them to so many similar themes? What do these films reveal about not only the trauma of war and dictatorship but also Spain’s collective memories of the past? Jessica Davidson, an associate professor at James Madison University, will consider these questions as she analyzes these two disturbing but also thought-provoking films. While it is not necessary to do so, listeners will benefit from having watched the films in advance, and there are a few spoilers.