7th Festival Márgenes: free to view online, 2nd-23rd December 2017

I’ve written about each edition of Festival Márgenes since 2014, usually in the form of an overview but sometimes going into a bit of detail about films I’ve particularly liked (click on the year for the relevant post: 2014, 2015, 2016). The festival focuses on films without distribution, made on the margins (or outside) of existing film industries in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) and Ibero-America (Spanish and Portuguese-speaking Latin American countries). Standouts from previous editions include África 815 (Pilar Monsell, 2014), El gran vuelo (Carolina Astudillo, 2014), La sombra (Javier Olivera, 2015), No Cow on the Ice (Eloy Domínguez Serén, 2015), and Pasaia bitartean (Irati Gorostidi, 2016).

The films included in the 2017 edition (links take you to the relevant streaming page – you need to register with the site to get started):

The Luis Ospina retrospective includes 20 films (shorts and features), also free to view. No indication is given about subtitles, but generally those films not in Spanish have (Castillian) Spanish subtitles and often a lot of the Spanish-language films have English subtitles – but as I’ve said in relation to previous editions, they’re all free to view, so it won’t cost you anything to just click on one and see if subtitles appear.

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I’m intending to watch the films by Gabriel Azorín, María Cañas, and Luis Macías as a starting point. But my experience of Festival Márgenes is that they always have a really strong line-up – I usually only manage to watch a handful of films from a given edition but I’ve never watched a dud – so although some of the films might not be your kind of thing, you should be able to find something interesting that you would not otherwise get the chance to see.

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Watched in November…and things to see in December

One of those months. I watched Chavela (Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi, 2017) – a documentary about the life and travails of singer Chavela Vargas (who often features on the soundtracks of Almodóvar’s films) – on Filmin.

I want to direct your attention to two online film festivals taking place during December: ArteKino and Márgenes. ArteKino is a Europe-wide initiative (it runs in 45 countries) to support contemporary European arthouse (their term) films by offering a wider audience the chance to view them (film distribution being what it is these days). 10 films – all with subtitles available in French, German, Spanish, and English – are free to view between 1st-17th December. You can see the full line-up here. The selection includes Scarred Hearts (Radu Jude, 2016), one of the few films I’ve seen this year that I can wholeheartedly recommend – catch that one here.

I’ve written about Festival Márgenes for the past few years (last year’s post is here) and will likely write another overview post at some point later in the month. The 7th Festival Márgenes will also make films free to view – in this case, films from the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) and Ibero-America (Spanish and Portuguese-speaking Latin American countries), with an emphasis on documentaries and experimental formats. I think the online stage is either due to start tomorrow or on the 10th (it usually runs in the last three weeks of the year) but their website is currently down for maintenance The online stage runs 2nd-23rd December – the official selection can be found on this page(which is loading for me, but I’ve had that window open in my browser for the past week to remind myself about it – so I’m not sure that it will load for other people just now). There is also an online retrospective of the films of Luis Ospina. I don’t know whether all of the films listed will be available online in all geographic locations (there are sometimes restrictions around certain titles) and I have no idea about the subtitle situation. I only ever manage to watch a couple of films in this festival each year, but always find something interesting and worth seeking out – this year I will be aiming to watch (based on what I’ve read about them previously) Expo Lío ’92 (María Cañas, 2017), Los mutantes (Gabriel Azorín, 2016), and 25 Cines/Seg (Luis Macías, 2017). If I have time, I will write an overview in a similar form to previous years – but if not, I still wanted to highlight the festival to anyone who appreciates experimental film-making.

Anatomy of a Scene: Los lunes al sol / Mondays in the Sun (Fernando León de Aranoa, 2002)

Yes, I said that I’d finished reprinting older pieces…turned out I hadn’t (although I think that this will be the last one). I circled around Los lunes al sol on multiple occasions on the old blog – mainly in relation to a half-seen connection between Bardem’s performances in this and Biutiful, which I was never able to fully articulate. Whatever I thought I’d seen disappeared on subsequent viewing and my dislike of the latter film stopped me from making an effort to return to the topic when I hit the buffers. But it caused me to revisit Los lunes al sol, which I had last watched while completing my PhD (it is one of the key films in my thesis). As I wrote a month or so before I published the analysis below:

You develop a funny attachment to films that feature in your thesis. Not all of them (there are a few that you’d have to pay me to watch again), but I think certainly the ones that find themselves woven into the fabric of your central argument; you are infinitely aware of their defects and flaws (you’ve pored over their minutiae for months, taking them apart and holding them up to the light), but you bristle slightly if someone else points them out. But once you’ve submitted, the idea of revisiting one of those films (for enjoyment!) doesn’t appeal; it’s difficult to view those films from any other perspective than the one through which you wrote about them in such detail. But this is where the funny attachment comes in for me because there are some that I nonetheless regard with what can only be described as affection, of which Los lunes al sol is one. There is something about the film that moves me no matter how many times I watch it, or how I’ve dissected it in the past: it is a film about solidarity, loyalty, about people being stronger together, and about how friendship can keep you afloat in the worst of times. Much of this centres on Bardem’s character, Santa, the pillar of a group of friends laid low by unemployment. If I were told that I could only watch one Bardem performance again, this is the one I would choose; in part because it is a perfect encapsulation of what ‘Javier Bardem’ and his star image mean within Spanish cinema, but also because I personally think that he has yet to better this performance.

Rereading the scene analysis recently, I was reminded of something that had stood out in a group of films I watched last year – when I had my mini Francesco Rosi season, one of the elements of his filmmaking that really caught my attention was how his framing of a scene (where the camera is positioned, how/where it moves, where/how the actors are positioned/move within the frame) visually represented the power dynamics within a group of characters and how that dynamic changed within the course of a given scene. This manner of imparting information – giving insight visually, in a way that can be read unconsciously by the viewer – seems (to me) relatively rare in contemporary cinema, which is all too often sloppily shot and edited, seemingly without a deliberate, thought-out rationale behind the choices made. Contemporary directors who do think about these elements include David Fincher, Steven Soderbergh, and Enrique Urbizu (I would like to write about the latter’s thrillers through his framing at some point) – all filmmakers who see (and represent) moving images in layers. Part of the richness of Los lunes al sol is that Fernando León de Aranoa had evidently given a great deal of thought to the group dynamics of this set of men and manages to fold those dynamics into his visual construction of a scene, as exemplified by the scene discussed below. I have only made a couple of edits to the text (originally published in October 2013) – instances where my original wording lacked clarity or was in some way confusing, and in one case to correct my Spanish.

Sequence: the argument in the bar, 01:15:51 – 01:22:32.

Los lunes al sol / Mondays in the Sun (Fernando León de Aranoa, 2002) was Javier Bardem’s return to Spanish cinema after a three-year absence from Spanish-language films, during which time he had made Before Night Falls (Julian Schnabel, 2000) and achieved his first Oscar nomination. Three years after mass redundancies caused by the closure of Spanish shipyards, the narrative follows three former steelworkers and their differing responses to unemployment: Santa (Bardem), José (Luis Tosar), and Lino (José Ángel Egido). While the film’s reception in the critical arena was generally positive (especially when Bardem is the focus), it has also received a more mixed response elsewhere: essentially, those who judge the film as formalists (the position taken by many film critics) see the film more positively than those cultural commentators (such as Quintana (2005) and Fecé and Pujol (2003)) who think that the film does not go far enough in its social commentary and who seem to judge the film by different criteria (i.e. their prescriptive ideas of what ‘Spanish cinema’ should be).

Aside from looking at how his role/performance coalesce with his star image (I think that exploring the issues of class and politics bring up some interesting issues in this context), there are a number of angles one could take in approaching Bardem’s performance in Los lunes al sol: for example, the madrileño performing a (deliberately vague – León de Aranoa didn’t want to specify location and filming took place in both Vigo and Gijón) northern accent as Santa. The film is notable for being the first (other than Before Night Falls) in which he performs an accent markedly different to his own (see E. Fernández-Santos (2002: 41)). But although I can hear that the accent he performs is not his own, I would have difficulty articulating exactly what it is he does vocally. So, for the purposes of this piece, I’m going to look at Bardem’s skill at ‘registering psychological and dramatic fullness through non-verbal representation’ (Perriam 2003: 102), effectively representing a character’s interiority externally through glances, posture, movement, and his sheer physical presence, and how that becomes an intrinsic part of his performance as Santa.

In my opinion, there are three scenes in the film that best illustrate Bardem’s performance and the essence of who his character is: the courtroom scene; the bedtime story; and the argument in the bar. I’m going to look at the last of those because it’s the longest of the three (and at 7 minutes, it’s also the longest scene in the film) and distills many of the film’s key themes whilst also giving the clearest sense of how these characters relate to one another (and what their shared history is). I’ve switched back and forth between English and Spanish in terms of how I’ve recorded specific lines – that reflects how I wrote my notes.

The position of the camera(s) in this scene is quite unusual insofar as it doesn’t respect the usual 180 degree line, mainly because of how the characters are arranged in the bar. In previous bar scenes, the camera has taken a variety of positions: near Amador’s seat at the end; behind the bar, not from Rico’s direct POV, but certainly from either his or Nata’s vantage point; and, when Lino was sitting there with Nata, from one of the tables by the door. But those sequences generally follow a shot/reverse-shot editing pattern; the camera remains static and we have a fixed sense of where people are in relation to one another (that most of the men are often standing at the bar usually allows them to be framed together). In this sequence, we still have this sense of where they are in relation to each other, but the camera angle cuts between several different positions (notably not from Amador’s angle, which foreshadows the significance of his seat being empty) and we never see more than a couple of the characters in frame together at a time (providing a visual illustration of how the sequence as a whole reveals the fractures within the group). Bardem / Santa is the axis for the camera: we don’t get his direct POV but his presence at the centre is integral to how we read the spatial relations (if he isn’t in shot, the eyelines of other characters or his voice pinpoint his location). Interestingly, it recalls the courtroom scene because the characters there are also seated in the round and the camera takes several positions, none of which strictly aligns itself with a character’s viewpoint.

The scene starts with a black screen and the sound segues from the diagetic music in the previous sequence (where the music appears to come from the stereo in the solicitor’s car) to Reina’s voice in the bar. However the first image we see is not Reina (Enrique Villén) but rather the impact of his words on Santa. We see Santa in profile / slightly from behind (the angle does not match anyone’s POV), sitting at the bar so that Bardem occupies the left hand side of the screen – when Santa reaches for his drink (drawing attention to José (Luis Tosar) sitting around the curve of the bar), he fills both the horizontal and vertical length of the frame (he is the only character in the scene who consistently occupies so much of the frame).

Reina, to Santa’s right
Rico, in front of Santa but level with Reina (seen in the foreground)
Lino and Sergei, behind Santa

To begin with, the sequence cuts back and forth between the far end of the bar where Reina is standing leaning sideways against the bar so that he is facing Santa, and Santa remaining seated and looking ahead (not at his interlocutor). It then starts intercutting Rico (Joaquín Climent) on one side of the bar (in front of Santa) and Lino (José Ángel Egido) and Sergei (Serge Riaboukine) sitting at a table (behind Santa) – there are now four angles in the mix, and the only person who appears in frame with Santa is José (who will be seen nodding in agreement with Santa during the argument – framing them together underlines their unity).

While Reina talks, we continue to get Santa’s silent, yet eloquent, reactions: Bardem’s posture, sitting, leaning forward with his elbows and forearms on the bar suggests that although Santa is pointedly not looking at Reina, he is in fact concentrating on what the man is saying. We can only see his face in profile, but the roll of his eyes and the way he tilts his head conveys both disagreement and a certain level of irritation (which is disguised by feigned amusement – Santa smiles, but it doesn’t reach his eyes) – we get the impression that this is not the first time Reina has espoused such views (and we have already seen tensions between the two men in an earlier bar scene, where Santa pours away a drink Reina has bought for him).

The alpha male stands up

Santa’s first vocal interjection is signalled by his standing up, which is necessary because he is seeking to involve Lino in Reina’s criticism, and Lino is sitting behind Santa; in order to look at Lino, Santa either needs to swivel the chair around or stand and turn. The camera subtly moves with Bardem as he stands (it does the same with Reina as he moves later in the sequence but it feels even less pronounced then), keeping him slightly left of centre but with the bar top no longer in frame. Bardem arches his back, one of his methods of emphasising Santa’s weight, drawing attention to his paunch but also by natural corollary (his shoulders are also back) puffing out his chest – the alpha male in the room has just stood up. Juan Marsé describes Santa as ‘un parado que sobrevive entre la rebeldía interna y la desilusión, como un gorila entre las rajas del deprimente zoológico’ [‘An unemployed man who survives between internal rebellion and disillusion, like a gorilla between the bars of a depressing zoo’] (2004: 35), and there is something animalistic about the potential threat he manifests through his sheer bulk. He doesn’t fully face Reina at this point, looking at him sideways on with his head now tilted in a manner that could be taken as a challenge, but Bardem keeps his voice at normal volume with a neutral tone – that Santa is a threat to Reina in any way is only conveyed via his body language.

José, in potential isolation

When Reina uses Rico as a positive example of what the men could have done after they lost their jobs, José starts to be intercut into the sequence on his own although he never moves from his seated position at the bar and continues to be shown in shot with Santa as well. I think his being shown alone is partly to show another fracture within the group but also to suggest his potential isolation. It is significant, given that he usually sits along the length of the bar where Santa and Reina currently are, that he is instead sitting alongside Amador’s (Celso Bugallo) empty seat; Amador serves as a warning as to where José might end up if Ana (Nieve de Medina – not present) leaves him. José’s scepticism as to the likelihood of everyone managing to do as well as Rico leads to Reina’s assertion “Not if you work hard”, which harks back to the bedtime story scene and by extension leads to an audience expectation as to Santa’s reaction. On cue, on that line, the camera cuts to Santa.

Bardem fills the left hand side of the frame, standing, leaning backwards, head tilted in a way that – in combination with his gaze – suggests that Santa is assessing Reina. When Reina mentions Amador, Bardem expels air through his nose in a snort that is somewhere between derision and disgust, and he looks away from Reina and down at the ground. Cut to Reina. Then cut back to Santa as he starts to speak. Bardem is now in medium close-up (head and shoulders) in three-quarter profile. His tone is no longer neutral and he is tilting his head down, so that he is looking up, giving emphasis to both his words and his eyes. As Santa starts to warm to his theme, Bardem shifts his weight between feet and changes his stance so that he is temporarily facing Reina straight on, in the centre of the frame. He stays centre frame when he turns his body back to the bar and keeps his head turned towards Reina / the camera as he speaks. However, as Santa begins to get angry, Bardem’s stance changes again and he leans with one elbow on the bar so that he turns away from Reina, with his back / the back of his head to the camera. Santa is trying to hide his emotions but it seems a brave decision by Bardem to hide his face; we feel the anger in the tightness of the angle of his neck and the stiffness of his shoulders rather than from a facial expression. When Santa turns back, he has both arms on the bar and is leaning diagonally into the frame, occupying most of the screen (again, emphasising Bardem’s size but arguably also the character’s centrality to the construction of the sequence – everyone else acts in reaction to him).

Cut to a reaction shot of Lino, which I think serves to emphasise Santa’s emotion at this point and how it has the potential to unsettle the other men. Throughout the film, Santa reveals himself to be astutely aware of the personal dangers faced by his friends and their currently precarious sense of self-identity (engendered by their lack of employment – as León de Aranoa puts it, ‘el trabajo es su capital, su única posesión, su bien más preciado; si se lo quitan, les quitan todo’ [‘Work is their capital, their only possession, their most valued asset; if it is taken away, everything is taken’] (Ponga, et al 2002: 158)), but he presents himself as the bluff pillar of the group; his showing emotion reveals that he is not unscathed by their common experience, and that seems to unnerve Lino. It’s noticeable during this part of the sequence that in each of the reaction shots, the other men are either looking down or away from Santa – lost in their own thoughts, but also finding it difficult to look at him given what he is talking about and how he is talking about it. Cut back to Santa – now upright and standing again – who starts to point and tap the bar for emphasis.

Up until now, Bardem’s gestures had been quite contained and had more to do with posture, but as Santa’s emotions come to the surface they become more expansive and his hands and arms more frequently come into frame. Still shot sideways on at the bar, when he now turns to Reina with his head tilted forward, eyes up, you get the sense of both Santa’s need to push and Bardem’s restraint. Cut back to Reina as he asks what the strikers achieved, and then back to Santa as Reina answers his own question with “Nothing”. Santa is facing the bar, head bowed, he turns as he says “Estabamos juntos” [“We were united”] with force and Bardem shifts his weight forward as if Santa is going to start moving in Reina’s direction. Reina looks away.

Cut to a shot of Rico, this time with Nata (Aida Folch) visible behind him (the first time we realise that she is present – the scene so far has been blocked in such a way as to hide her presence, despite her being in view of all of the men). But as Santa starts to talk about what went wrong with the strike, Bardem turns his back to the camera again (hiding emotion again, but this time a mixture of anger and sadness – indicated via tone of voice as well as his avoidance of eye contact).

Santa’s attitude towards Rico (Bardem tilts his head back, listening, his chin up but not in a challenge), as the bar owner justifies his actions during the strike, lacks the hostility he shows Reina, and he concedes the point about men who had families to take care of, again leaning forward and tapping the bar for emphasis. In response to Rico’s “There wasn’t anything else”, he gives an eloquent shrug, smiles with a nod, and says “Cojonudo” [“Brilliant”] twice (the second time half muttered), turning so that he is centre frame. He looks left so that his body is facing forward but his head is in three quarter profile, and then he turns back to the bar, his head bowed; it gives the impression that Santa knows this argument is going nowhere (it has effectively already been lost – what they’re arguing about happened three years earlier) but he can’t walk away from it and is therefore tethered to these people and a need for someone to acknowledge that what happened wasn’t right (hence his moving about on the same spot).

At this point Nata starts to be intercut into the individual reactions (now the sixth angle within the set-up – and the closest to being Santa’s POV), the first lone shot of her coinciding with a heavy sigh from Santa. That her individual reactions begin at a point when Santa’s words form the audio – rather than Rico’s (her father) – and that they physically occupy the same space within the frame (as shown above), speaks to the connection between the two of them (she is the only character capable of leaving him lost for words), but arguably also re-enforces Santa’s association with children; he is repeatedly shown interacting with them – the children of the two women we see him flirting with and the boy he babysits – and he is the only male character who does so. At this point, as Bardem shifts his weight again, Santa seems more weary and sad, although his pointing towards Amador’s empty chair (seen almost from Santa’s own POV) has an emphatic flourish, and he then starts to pick up speed again. [The manner in which Amador preys on Santa’s mind is revealed a couple of scenes later, when rather than leaving to meet a woman – as José presumes – Santa instead goes to check on the older man at home (and discovers his body)]

An emphatic flourish for the absent Amador
Smaller in defeat

When he talks about ‘the agreement’ that divided the strikers he taps the bar with more force and his tone becomes more aggressive. Bardem now hunches his back forward, which makes him appear smaller (a physical representation of a sense of defeat), once more leaning into the frame towards Rico to emphasise what he’s saying (and also talking much faster). “We weren’t united anymore. They’d divided us.”  He turns away again and looks down at the ground rather than directly at any of them; his tone of voice and stance here (looking down, more contained) speaks of disappointment, some residual anger, but mainly sadness, and it reveals more clearly that the group is still divided because of what happened three years earlier. At the end of his explanations as to how they each ended up in the positions they are now in, he looks directly at Reina, head back and chin up, defiant and issuing a clear challenge. The look in Bardem’s eyes when (in response) Reina argues that the shipyard wasn’t competitive enough and that he’d go to a different bar if the drinks were cheaper elsewhere is one of disgust and his upper lip slightly curls. He now properly raises his voice and bangs on the bar with his hand, speaking rapidly.

“Let me tell you something…”

As Santa outlines his explanation as to why they wanted to close the shipyard (the site is by the sea and worth a fortune to property developers), Bardem looks away, turns back with a look of resignation and looks down while shrugging his shoulders and talking rapidly with an almost exasperated humour in his tone of voice. He then looks away (Santa possibly embarrassed at how much he is revealing of himself) again as he says, with one arm extended (calling attention), “Let me tell you something…I wouldn’t leave here even if they were giving the drinks away [elsewhere]”. He looks directly at Reina and then at Rico, “I’ve been here for three years and I intend to keep coming…even if you did sign the agreement” – a line that reveals his own sense of loyalty to these men but also the stock that he places in it as a quality (he is directly contrasting himself with Reina, who looks away). He sighs heavily and then turns to face Reina, standing centre frame, smiling as he fiddles with a napkin – “I could get a job serving drinks tomorrow. But if everyone gets laid off, there’ll be no customers”, his head tilted at an acute angle to the right (his gaze looking down and to the right), which places emphasis on what he’s saying but there’s also something slightly playful about it, “That pisses me off” (repeated, the second time as a mutter, as he looks directly at Reina).

He then turns back sideways on to the camera, head inclined forward. His voice is no longer raised but is still emotional – not a neutral tone – his voice catching on the line “You signed away your kids’ jobs […] We lost.” Close up of Nata on that line, then cut to José, who sighs and asks for another drink (subtly connecting José’s drinking to the defeat / losing of self).

The end to that part of the discussion is signalled by the camera panning (rather than cutting) to Nata as Rico crosses over to José. Cut back to Reina who decides to have another go.

Cut back to Santa, back to leaning against the bar in such a way that he fills most of the frame. Bardem stands upright with a sigh as Reina continues to push, Santa’s voice now tipping into both irritation and personal hostility. When the subject of Reina’s current job comes up, both men take a step toward each other and violence seems a real possibility; the tension is heightened by the editing, which first intercuts Nata casting a worried look in Santa’s direction, then Rico and José looking, then Lino and Sergei watching apprehensively, within the shot/reverse-shot of Santa and Reina’s exchange. This particular sequence of shots also reinforces Santa/Bardem as the axis of the scene and clearly delineates the spatial relations between everyone present (at no point during the sequence are all of the characters in shot). Bardem juts his chin out on the line “Un cabrón con pistola” [An arsehole with a gun] and pulls himself up to his full stature. The line about Reina’s wife (“She wanted me closer to her”) is said matter of fact but with a full glare maintained in their eye contact – Santa doesn’t repeat it (or retract it) when challenged and a heavy silence is allowed to hang.

Reina leaves. Santa sits back down, leaning forward on the bar, head down. Mutters “Gillipollas” [Dickhead]. Santa overstepping the line actually breaks the tension in the room (he is effectively back to ‘normal’) and – once Reina has gone – the other men visibly relax and their sense of humour reappears.

Back to the position he was in at the start

This scene occurs more than halfway through the film but – despite the tensions in the group being apparent earlier on (notably at the football match and the afore-mentioned scene where Santa pours away a drink paid for by Reina) – this is the first time we’re given a proper background as to exactly what happened at the shipyard; it becomes apparent that just as work has previously united them, it is also what currently divides them, whether in terms of their having found reemployment or simply in the different ways in which they’ve coped with its absence. León de Aranoa makes the point on the DVD commentary (which also features Bardem) that Reina isn’t a bad man, but the fact that he has found work separates him from his former colleagues. This is visually suggested in the framing: if you look above, you will see that Reina is always on the right of frame whereas the rest of them are on the left. The only exception is the family shot of Rico and Nata together – and Rico is often centre-frame part way between the two opposing sides – but the rest of the time even when in a group and they spill across most of screen, your attention is drawn to the left-hand side via either an actor’s movement of the depth of focus. The editing of the sequence also reinforces Santa’s status as the pillar of the group, a central point who is relied upon for his steadfast sturdiness. He reveals himself to have a far subtler (though firmly-held) take on the situation than Reina at the same time as he shows that he is unable to change who he is for the sake of an easier life (the sequence that directly precedes this one has already shown him to be a man who has to stick to his principles, albeit in a somewhat childish way in that specific instance). He is down but not out.

In terms of Bardem himself, the dichotomy between his powerful physique and the sensitivity he conveys with his eyes (on full display in this sequence) is something that was established at the start of his career (in the films he made with Bigas Luna), but his performance in Los lunes al sol serves as one of the best examples of his ability to convey complex psychological insight through subtle gestures and modes of behaviour. As I have said elsewhere, if you told me that I could only ‘keep’ one Bardem performance, this is the one I would choose.

 

References:

Fecé, J.L. and C. Pujol (2003) – ‘La crisis imaginada de un cine sin público’, in Once miradas sobre la crisis y el cine español, edited by L. Alonso García, Madrid: Ocho y medio, pp.147-166.

Fernández-Santos, E. (2002) – ‘”Mi mayor preocupación es el respeto al personaje”‘, El País, 24th September, p.41.

Marsé, J. (2004) – ‘Javier Bardem, un actor que inspira’, El PaísRevista, 7th August, pp.34-35.

Perriam, C. (2003) – Stars and Masculinities in Spanish Cinema: From Banderas to Bardem, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ponga, Martín, and Torreiro (2002) – Hipótesis de realidad: el cine de Fernando León de Aranoa, Melilla: Consejería de Cultura de la C.A. de Melilla y UNED.

Quintana, Á. (2005) – ‘Modelos realistas en un tiempo de emergencia de lo político’, Archivos de la Filmoteca, no.49, February, pp.10-31.

Watched in October

History and politics mainly, with a dash of Busby Berkeley and Álex de la Iglesia thrown in for good measure (Herederos de la bestia is a talking heads / oral history documentary about the making – and the impact/legacy within Spanish cinema – of the latter’s much-loved second feature, El día de la bestia / The Day of the Beast (1995)).

 

Watched in September

Plus Piazza Vittorio (Abel Ferrara, 2017) (which doesn’t seem to have a poster), via Festival Scope’s Venice Sala Web – having pointed out the selection in last month’s post, I then only managed to watch one film there myself. I also missed all of Mubi’s Argentine cinema season, apart from La mujer de los perrosDog Lady (Laura Citarella & Verónica Llinás, 2015). I’ve not really been in a film-watching mood.

I am intending to watch Ken Burns & Lynn Novick’s documentary series, The Vietnam War, which is available on the BBC iPlayer during October if you’re in the UK (the first episode is here) – David Thomson reviewed the series in the London Review of Books (note: the version being shown in the UK is the 10-hour international cut, rather than the 18-hour version being shown in the US).

Vampir Cuadecuc (Pere Portabella, 1971)

‘Experimental making-of’ is usually the basic description of the film Pere Portabella constructed behind the scenes of Jess Franco’s Count Dracula (1970) – next week sees its UK debut on (region free) DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of Second Run. I reviewed the film in 2015 when it was screening at the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival as part of their ‘Fact or Fiction’ theme. As I pointed out, Portabella’s repurposing of what Franco was doing creates an interesting dissection of several levels of mythologising:

[…] the mechanics of filmmaking are as much an element of fascination for him as the mythology of Stoker’s Count. The two aspects come together in a sequence where Christopher Lee (who would collaborate with Portabella on another film – Umbracle – the same year) removes the prosthetics and accoutrements (contact lenses, hair, fangs) that transform him into an onscreen monster – a metamorphosis in reverse and a demythologising or deconstruction of both a film star and one of his most famous roles (something that Franco was cashing in on).

You can read the full review here.

Portabella has had a long and varied career and is still (occasionally) making films. His most recent was documentary Informe General II: El nuevo rapto de Europa (2016), which is a sequel of sorts to his 1976 epic Informe general sobre algunas cuestiones de interés para una proyección pública – I’ve seen the latter but not the former (yet), and the two are available together in a boxset that has optional English subtitles. [UPDATE 11/10/2017: Mubi are showing those two films for the next 30 days – here]. I watched Vampir Cuadecuc from a career-spanning boxset of Portabella’s work (it covers 1967 – 2009, containing all of his films apart from Informe General II), which is produced by Intermedio (I bought my boxset directly from them) and likewise has optional English subtitles on all of the films. I particularly recommend his short films (Poetes Catalans (1970) is my favourite – I wrote about it on the old blog in a 2014 ‘best of the year’ post).

Watched in August

All watched on VOD (various platforms) as my DVD player died at the start of the month.

Camilo Restrepo’s essay film about violence in Colombia – La impresión de una guerra / Impression of a War (2015) – is available to watch on Mubi UK for another week.

Jonás Trueba’s La reconquista / The Reconquest (2016) is unexpectedly on Netflix UK (I had a one-month free trial this month – which I won’t be extending into a subscription because I didn’t watch very much, although there are quite a lot of recent Spanish titles on there…and a number of Jason Statham films), as is the very good documentary I Called Him Morgan (Kasper Collin, 2017).

Festival Scope has just started its Venice Sala Web again (effectively a range of films from the current Venice Film Festival as VOD) – I haven’t watched anything yet but have taken advantage of their 5 tickets for 10€ offer (films are otherwise 4€ each). The viewing dates for the films are staggered throughout the festival’s run and it’s worth seeing them sooner rather than later as sometimes titles can disappear (speaking from previous experience).

Speaking Truth About Power: Documentary, Censorship, and Rocío (Fernando Ruiz Vergara, 1980)

This is the last of the older pieces that I’m intending to reprint on this new(er) blog, but it differs from the others: this wasn’t originally published on the old blog but at Mediático, an academic media and film studies blog focused on Iberian and Latin American media cultures. At the time, I described the film as a rabbit hole that I fell down – I haven’t experienced many instances (before or since) where a film gets so completely stuck in my head, or where my deconstruction of a film (working out how it works) feels genuinely exciting. In the post I wrote on the old blog by way of introduction to the subject (linking to the article), I said:

I’m someone who thinks through writing (anyone who has spoken to me immediately after a film viewing will know that I’m rarely coherent in my thoughts at that stage), but it’s not often that I write due to a sense of compulsion – Rocío is, however, one of those instances. I wrote because the film was stuck in my head, because I couldn’t find anything written about it in English (beyond a New York Times story about the trial), because in the emphasis placed on the censorship of the film people seem to have avoided writing about it as a film (which is a shame because it is an incredibly rich, and visually distinctive, piece of filmmaking), and because it tapped into the sheer enjoyment I get from properly delving into an unfamiliar film and working out how it ‘functions’. I decided to focus on the two aspects that pulled me down the rabbit hole – the story of the injustice suffered by Fernando Ruiz Vergara and Rocío, and the visual components of the film itself.

Of all the writing I’ve done since finishing my PhD and stepping out of academia, this is the piece that I am happiest with  – my thanks to Catherine Grant at Mediático for saying that I was free to republish it on my own site.

 

I’m currently researching contemporary Spanish documentary as part of my interest in ‘el otro cine español’, but I’ve become sidetracked by a documentary from a completely different era. My interest started with a book review of El caso Rocío: La historia de una película secuestrada por la transición [The Rocío Case: The story of a film hijacked by the Transition] in Caimán Cuadernos de Cine (May 2014): intrigued by the title and the fact that the book came with two DVDs (one the uncensored version of Rocío (Fernando Ruiz Vergara, 1980), the other a documentary (El caso Rocío (José Luis Tirado, 2013)) about the making of the film and the legal repercussions), I ordered it. Then I watched Rocío, and promptly fell down a rabbit hole.

The most straightforward way to approach the matter is probably to start from the outside and work my way in – to outline the cause of Rocío‘s notoriety before discussing the film itself. Rocío is about the annual pilgrimage to the Virgin of Rocío in the region of Huelva (Andalusia) but, in focussing on the history of the specific locale of Almonte (a hive of activity in relation to the pilgrimage), Fernando Ruiz Vergara also uncovered and recorded oral testimony of repressions suffered in the aftermath of the military coup in 1936. It was this latter aspect – specifically the naming of names, as the facts (ninety-nine men and one woman were killed in Almonte in the months following the coup) were not disputed – that was the cause of the film’s hijacking by the Spanish judiciary. The descendants of the man ‘named’ (in an act of self-censorship the filmmakers had actually cut the sound at the moment his name was said and presented an image of him that was partially obscured) as the ringleader of the repressions (José María Reales Carrasco, former mayor of Almonte) presented a criminal complaint to the courts in Seville in 1981. They accused director Fernando Ruiz Vergara, screenwriter Ana Vila, and the onscreen witness Pedro Clavijo of injuring the reputation of their father (who was deceased), deriding the Catholic religion, and publicly insulting the ceremonies held in honour of the Virgin of Rocío. The judge ordered the removal of all copies of the film from the public domain at the time of the complaint, and by the time the case reached the court the following year the complainants were seeking prison sentences for all three defendants on the charge of slander, in addition to a fine for the ‘injuries’.[1]

The slander charge would be dropped. In the documentary El caso Rocío, Francisco Baena Bocanegra (the lawyer who represented Ruiz Vergara and Vila) says that if the slander charge had stayed then the defendants would have won because they could meet the requirements of proof, and this was precisely why that charge was dropped but the more difficult to defend ‘injury’ stayed (take a moment to think about the Kafkaesque nature of that set of circumstances). By this stage the frightened 73-year old Clavijo denied making his onscreen statements (a clearly desperate measure, since it obviously was him onscreen) – in response, and of their own volition, seventeen of the older residents of Almonte travelled to Seville to back up their neighbour’s statements for the court but the judge did not allow their evidence to be admitted. After this development Fernando Ruiz Vergara insisted on taking full responsibility for film, which meant that the charges against Vila and Clavijo were dropped: the director was sentenced to two months and a day and ordered to pay a fine of 50,000 pesetas (today, 300€ plus inflation) and compensation of 10,000,000 pesetas (today, 60,000€ plus inflation), ‘in civic responsibility’, for the injury done to José María Reales Carrasco. As part of the sentence the film was also prohibited from being distributed or shown within Spain unless the two sections that referred to Reales Carrasco were removed. Ruiz Vergara refused to let the distributor cut the film, but in 1984 when the sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Tribunal, the cuts were made – the director fought to have intertitle cards inserted to indicate when a sequence had been censored. The film was shown in Spain in that form after 1984 (José Luis Tirado has uploaded that version to Youtube with English subtitles – UPDATE Aug 2017: it has been taken down), but the version that appeared on Spanish television in the 1990s lacked the intertitle cards or any acknowledgement of the censorship. Meanwhile Fernando Ruiz Vergara moved to Portugal in self-exile and would not direct another film (Tirado interviewed him shortly before his death in 2011).

What makes the case even more jaw-dropping is that it took place post-Franco, after 1977 and the end of official censorship, and towards the end of Spain’s transition to democracy: the decisions by the court span both the Transition and democracy. The judge, Luis Vivas Marzal, would later say in relation to Rocío that:

‘es indispensable inhumar y olvidar si se quiere que los sobrevivientes y las generaciones posteriores a la contienda, convivan pacífica, armónica y conciliadamente, no siendo atinado avivar los rescoldos de esa lucha para despertar rencores, odios y resentimientos adormecidos por el paso del tiempo’ [it is essential to bury and forget if one wants survivors and subsequent generations to the dispute, to coexist peacefully, harmoniously and conciliatorily, it not being wise to stoke the embers of that struggle to revive resentment, hatred and resentment numbed by the passage of time (my translation)] (Espinosa Maestre 2013: 38).

This was the prevailing attitude, commonly referred to as ‘the pact of silence’, of the Spanish Establishment during the Transition – let sleeping dogs lie. The problem is that is while the victors of the Civil War had almost forty years in which to commemorate their dead, the losers were condemned to silence during the dictatorship, unable to publicly mourn their dead and indeed often not knowing exactly where their dead were buried – they were now being told to move on and not reopen old wounds. As historian Pura Sánchez says in Tirado’s film, what the Rocío case highlights is that while the pact of silence is presented as a consensus, it was actually an imposed consensus because the sides involved were not equal.

There is one notorious instance of a drama (representing historical events) falling foul of censorship during the Transition: Pilar Miró, despite being a civilian, was hauled before a military tribunal because of what her film El crimen de Cuenca (1981) depicted of the Civil Guard. But documentary films, specifically those that addressed things the Establishment wanted off limits (which is why the slander charge was dropped in the Rocío case – because the evidence presented by the defence would have very publicly opened a can of worms), bore the brunt of ‘unofficial’ censorship or officious obstructiveness (which could take the form of withholding or blocking funding, or threatened legal sanctions): the more famous examples are El proceso de Burgos (Imanol Uribe, 1979) and Después de… (Cecilia Bartolomé and Juan José Bartolomé, 1981). Alejandro Alvarado argues that the obstacles placed in front of such films – whether during production, distribution, or exhibition – further marginalised the documentary in Spain and was partly responsible for the near disappearance of the form for more than two decades after the early 1980s (2013: 67). But even within this context, Rocío seems to be a case apart because of how long the censorship has endured. In 2005 an attempt was made to screen the original version of the film as part of a conference on ‘historical memory’, but the Reales family resurfaced and amazingly (given the momentum behind the historical memory ‘movement’ since the millennium) managed to stop the screening (the intertitled version was shown instead). In 2014, it was still illegal to exhibit Rocío uncut in Spain. The uncut DVD that comes with the book has a label stating ‘edición limitada como documento para El caso Rocío‘ [limited edition as a document for The Rocío Case]: the classification of the documentary as a document rather than a film would appear to be how they have got around the legal issue in this instance.

El caso Rocío (subtitled trailer) questions whether Fernando Ruiz Vergara was truly aware of what he was getting himself into by including the contentious sections. But given that he and Ana Vila were threatened during the filming (and the subsequent self-censorship), he must have known that trouble lay ahead. For his part, he says in Tirado’s film that once he had seen their faces there was no possibility of leaving out that part of the town’s history (he also points to the need that people had to talk about what had happened). While the various historians interviewed by Tirado emphasise Rocío‘s importance as a social document, both as a celebration of Andalusian identity, and as a nascent example of what would become the movement to reclaim historical memory in Spain, two of the other participants – Isidoro Moreno, an anthropologist who was one of the talking heads in Rocío, and Vitor Estevâo, who was DoP and one of the camera operators – argue that Ruiz Vergara could have concentrated solely on the religious pilgrimage and still have made more or less the same film (that is how Moreno phrases it, but Estevâo is almost dismissive, saying that the director could have just made a ‘pretty’ film and saved himself a lot of trouble). Could he have left out the names of those involved in what took place in Almonte in 1936? Possibly, although I think Ruiz Vergara would have seen that as a betrayal of the trust placed in him by Pedro Clavijo, and it would have had a ripple effect through the rest of the film. The emphasis placed on the sequences relating to the incidents in 1936 (and the resulting censorship) in what has been written about Rocío makes it sound as if those elements were almost ‘tacked on’ to a documentary about religious pilgrimage. But they are tightly woven into the fabric of the film because Ruiz Vergara (who was also the editor) traces the history and roots of the religious tradition and how they are interlaced with (and mirror) the social hierarchies of the area – the families wielding economic and political power in the area are also at the centre of the hermandades de la Virgin del Rocío (‘brotherhoods’ – the local bodies who organise certain aspects of the celebrations for their members), and José María Reales Carrasco was one of the founders of the main hermandad in Almonte. The director constructs a mosaic in which all the pieces matter if you want to see the full picture.

The film starts with a potted history of Christianity in Spain, the arrival of the Berbers in 711 AD and resulting Islamisation of parts of the Iberian peninsula, followed by the Church’s eventual triumph and its mission to integrate itself into rural communities. In parallel, the cult of the Virgin began, the relative scarcity of women (who were more susceptible to the diseases of the time) conferring upon them a status that was reflected in the worshipping the Virgin. After this opening ten minutes, Fernando Ruiz Vergara and writer Ana Vila continuously weave back and forth between the region in the then-present (the footage of the romería (pilgrimage) was filmed in 1977 with additional material collected during the editing process the following year), the way in which the tradition had been shaped to suit both the Church and the more powerful local families,[2] and how politics and religion (i.e. the Second Republic as a secular State) connect to the repressions in the area in the aftermath of 1936.

However the next sequence is the first hint of the striking visual composition that will mark the footage of the veneration of the Virgin of Rocío, a.k.a. La Paloma Blanca (the White Dove). It starts with Jose Hernandez Diaz (then-Professor of Art at Seville University) explaining the evolution of the Virgin statues: the original statues were mutilated by the worshippers so as to better dress them in ostentatious finery, and eventually they were mounted onto a frame so as to make them the height of an actual woman. We then watch two nuns divest a Virgin statue of its finery and take it apart so as to reveal the ravaged body underneath.[3] In what is an intensely theatrical presentation, in a darkened room so as to highlight the white and gold of the statue and the white of the nuns’ habits, Ruiz Vergara keeps the camera close, sometimes with extreme close-ups of hands intimately unfastening and removing layers of clothing and appendages (first hands, then arms), but also regularly pulling back to show the statue in various stages of déshabillé and disintegration. The sequence stands as a metaphor for how Rocío functions as a whole: our attention will be drawn to specific elements of this religious tradition and their significance within this geographic area (exploring the social, economic, and political contexts at play), with the filmmaker and his team capturing close detail but also continually pulling back to show how these specifics interconnect and fit into the bigger picture (and in the process arguably revealing a fairly ugly framework in operation beneath the celebratory and often hauntingly-beautiful surface).

Filming in 16mm on a combination of five cameras, Fernando Ruiz Vergara and his team embedded themselves in the pilgrimage of 1977 – living and sleeping alongside the pilgrims – because the director (who was from Seville and had attended previously) knew that if they left for any amount of time, they would miss the emotion of the event and key occurrences. Camera operators could film whatever caught their attention but were also instructed to look out for certain things by Ruiz Vergara (for example, the small children forcibly being made to crowd-surf in order to touch the Virgin). The camera positioning and movement noticeably change as the romería progresses; this relates to who has ‘control’ at a given moment, the filming being more immersive when ‘the crowd’ (as opposed to those higher up the social hierarchy) takes over. During the initial procession, which is conducted on horseback and in horse and carts, the cameras stay further back, at one remove and observing from the outside. The voiceover (at this point, Isidoro Moreno) tells us that this opening stage is a reaffirmation of the pre-industrial values of an agrarian and aristocraticized society: participation in the procession is a demonstration of economic standing via the ownership of horses (but also being able to afford the necessary provisions and transport). When the procession arrive at their destination, the pedestrian crowd become evident, but at this point they are there as an audience to the equestrian class display rather than active participants.

When night falls and the revelry of the broader class base begins, the camera begins to move in closer, occasionally being jostled by the dancers, with the image often coloured by the flares and lights in the crowd. People are aware of being filmed and look openly into the camera – one man spots the camera and puts his arm around the woman next to him, only for her to realise that they are being filmed and shrug his arm off her shoulder, looking askance at him. At the open air Mass the following morning, the camera withdraws to a distance again – surreptitiously capturing people yawning and otherwise looking the worse for wear after their nocturnal activities – but once the more formal ceremony is over the camera again moves amongst the masses, in ever closer proximity. Ruiz Vergara continues to overlay the footage with voiceovers explaining how historical, political, and social contexts have shaped the romería, and it is between the footage of the Mass and the next stage that the censored sections appear. The sequence explains that the hermandades started in the 17th century, but a significant concentration of them were founded after 1931 and the start of the (secular) Second Republic. Ruiz Vergara connects this with the increased ‘promotion’ of the Virgin of Rocío in the period and parallel tensions stemming from the requirement to remove religious symbols from official institutions, in line with a secular State – the killing of the ninety-nine men and one woman (people who supported the Republic) in 1936 is presented (with support from Pedro Clavijo’s testimony) as a settling of scores. After that sombre sequence the film presents some of its most stunning (and stunningly-strange) imagery. During the next part of the romería, the participants (by this point almost exclusively male) are in pursuit of a frenetic state of possession – or a kind of religious fervour – that begins at daybreak with the ‘seizing of the saint’.

With the camera handheld and in a low position, this initially plays out like the start of a riot with men pushing to clamber over barriers and the mass of people breaking out of containment to climb onto (and fall from) platforms within the Church. The cameras are so close to the action that they put us in amongst it and the confusion intensifies – are the men working together or against each other? what are they actually doing? (there is no voiceover during this footage). A series of overhead shots then show the densely-packed (male) bodies swarming around the Virgin, the framework of her pedestal swaying as the crowd staggers forward almost fighting each other to get closer to the statue, screams audible on the soundtrack. The heat is palpable and the sudden cut to outside, the sky finally visible, is like a gulp of fresh air in this heady atmosphere.

Ruiz Vergara then alternates between shots from in amongst the crowd, jostled, and looking up at either the Virgin or people and children riding on the shoulders of others, or a vantage point slightly above the crowd (as if the camera operator were being carried, which Estevâo says often happened because the crowd lifted them up to give the camera a better view) surveying the participants, some of whom appear almost punch drunk, overcome by emotion or the heat – flushed faces with shining eyes stare into the camera. The camera slowly pulls out to a wide shot revealing the size of the gathering, with the Virgin the serene eye of the human storm (we have already seen this shot – it is briefly inserted into the sequence where the nuns undress the statue). As the swirling mass carry her back into the Church, there are close-ups of the faces of those crushed around the bottom of the pedestal and of hands grasping the poles at the four corners, all emphasising the physical experience of participation and generating a sensation of airless claustrophobia in the viewer. An aggressive human chain forms (as much elbowing each other out of the way as joining together) to half pull, half bounce, the statue back into the intended position. The heat, sweat, and dust are tangible in the hazily steamed-up images captured by the cameras, once again immersing the viewer into the crowd’s experience; the camera style and editing of the sequence is shaped by, and aestheticises, the breathless giddiness of the crowd.

Every seven years, a second procession is held in August (the annual event is held in the Spring) in which the Virgin (this time dressed as a shepherdess) is carried from the sanctuary in Almonte to the hills some fifteen kilometres away. Although just as crowded, this is less frenzied; the camerawork is steadier, and takes a more observational position in comparison to the seizing of the saint. The episode takes on characteristics of a semi-mystical event – for example, via the non-diagetic music on the soundtrack (quite distinct from other sequences), and the way the statue is filmed from inside the Church as it exits, causing it to be backlit and momentarily look like a mirage in the shimmering heat – with greater emphasis given to the pagan over the formally-religious. Once night falls and the procession travels through dusty darkness, the cameras move in closer again (and in contrast to the earlier night sequence, seemingly provide the only light source apart from fire) to capture human chains eerily emerging out of the darkness, families walking side-by-side, and a cape-clad (and fully-covered) Virgin looming over the participants once more. In an echo of what happens in the Church when the Virgin returns, the crowd lift and heave her up onto a platform in the darkness (the camera by now again observing from a distance), in preparation for her to be unveiled as the first rays of sun of the new day illuminate her face. As an undulating mass of dust-streaked bodies then commence moving the Virgin for the return journey, I was put in mind of a behind-the-scenes image from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, a sea of arms all reaching up to the female form. The last sequence of the film (accompanied by Salvador Távora singing ‘Herramientas’ [Tools], a paean to labour and labourers) is a montage of mainly previously-unseen footage, emphasising the workers, the land, and community participation in the romería – notably omitting images of priests or formal religious markers – and ends on a freeze frame of a cluster of hands gripping together. These final images (in combination with the shepherdess procession), stress community unity from the perspective of the working classes, and a shared regional identity, but also effectively give the festival back to the people (as opposed to its historical co-opting by the religious authorities).

In El caso Rocío, Salvador Távora suggests that Rocío‘s impact stems not simply from showing the full historical, social, and political context of the event, but that it does so through beauty. It is a shame that so little attention has been paid to the film as a film – I’ve tried to readdress that here – but Fernando Ruiz Vergara constructed such a richly interconnecting text that it is quite difficult to separate the various elements in its composition. The fallout from Rocío finished the director’s career, but he matter-of-factly says in José Luis Tirado’s film: “lo unico que pretendo es contar cosas que no se conocen, que además son importantes en todo caso por la propia historia de cualquier historia […] Y si las cosas que pasaron están aquí – pasaron – ahí está” [All I want is to tell things that aren’t known, and that are important at any rate in the history of any story […] And if the things that happened are here – they happened – well, there it is].[4] I would argue that Rocío‘s importance as a documentary goes beyond its status as a social document of the time (both in terms of what it depicts onscreen and in the subsequent treatment of the film), and a precursor of the historical memory movement, to the actual standard it set in terms of documentary as a cinematic form – it is both visually striking and a brave and incisive examination of power and its abuses in a microcosm for the wider situation in contemporaneous Spain.

 

Notes –
[1] The factual information regarding the trial is taken from El caso Rocío (book and film) and Alvarado (2010). (Go back)
[2] Both had economic interests in common stemming from land ownership, while the hermandades (usually headed by those same families) are profitable lay organisations with obvious religious connections. Ruiz Vergara researched parish records for the financial information, including details of profits, relating to the romería of 1975. (Go back)
[3] The role of women is very restricted in relation to the romería – the dressing of the Virgin is one of the few roles of importance that they are shown enacting in Rocío. See Sánchez (2013) for further details. (Go back)
[4] It seems unlikely that a film about the subject would be treated the same way today (although, that said, it is still illegal to exhibit the full version of Rocío), but freedom of expression is apparently still vulnerable to curtailment by the powerful in Spain: Banco Santander suppressed Víctor Moreno’s documentary Edificio España (about the renovation of that iconic building, owned by the bank) for fifteen months until the director went to the press and the resulting outcry led to the injunction being lifted in early 2014 (video interview with Moreno). (Go back)

 

References –
Alvarado, A. (2010) – ‘Maldita Rocío: la película más prohibida, la que algunos quisieran ignorar‘, Blogs&Docs, accessed 19th August 2014.
Alvarado, A. (2013) – ‘Un lobo con piel de cordero: La censura en el cine documental después de Franco’, in del Río Sánchez et al., pp.67-78.
del Río Sánchez, A., F. Espinosa Maestre, and J.L. Tirado (ed.s) (2013) – El caso Rocío: La historia de una película secuestrada por la transición, Seville: Aconcagua Libros. (ISBN: 9788496178847).
Espinosa Maestre, F. (2013) – ‘Algunas claves ocultas de Rocío: Los sucesos del 32 en Almonte y la “cuestión agraria”‘, in del Río Sánchez et al., pp.19-46.
Sánchez, P. (2013) – ‘Así en la tierra como en el cielo: Reflexiones sobre las mujeres en los ritos festivos, a propósito de Rocío‘, in del Río Sánchez et al., pp.89-98.