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Missed encounters: reading, catalanitat, the Barcelona School
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 09:10 authored by Rosalind Galt
The 1960s Barcelona School constitutes a significant European avant-garde film movement, but has been largely ignored by film history. Rather than making a familiar argument for rediscovery, this essay contends that the history of overlooking is itself significant, and that by re-reading what is lost and omitted, we find a traumatized response to dictatorship, modernization and the suppression of Catalan identity. Focusing on Vicente Aranda's Fata Morgana, the article examines how the film refuses both social-realist and nationalist accounts of Catalan identity, instead conjuring surreal narrative spaces structured by horror, entrapment and emptiness. The essay argues that to read effectively, we must attend to this formal elaboration of an evacuated national space. Fata Morgana presents Catalonia in terms of a missed encounter, the disjunctive relationship of space and time that for Lacan defines the experience of the real. In doing so, it stages the traumatic experience of Catalan oppression under Franco, whereby identity is barred from vision or experience. In a mise-en-abyme structure, this textual figure of impossible identity is echoed in the movement's slippery articulations of nation, which result in it being repeatedly `missed by film history.
PublisherOxford University Press
Department affiliated with
- Media and Film Publications
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