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Reviewed by:
  • Gynocine: Teoría de género, filmología y praxis cinematográfica by Barbara Zecchi
  • Megan Sheldon
Zecchi, Barbara, coord. Gynocine: Teoría de género, filmología y praxis cinematográfica. Zaragoza and Amherst: U of Zaragoza P; U of Massachusetts P, 2013. 328pp.

This volume is a necessary contribution to the field of Spanish film studies in that it provides extensive critical attention to women film directors in Spain. It includes a selection of essays that range from personal accounts within the Spanish film industry from director Inés París and Goya winning screen writer Alicia Luna to sophisticated analyses of Spanish female directors who are reshaping cinematic genres. The introduction, by coordinator Barbara Zecchi, outlines a framework for the volume, specifically what she terms “gynocine.” Gynocine is a term coined by Zecchi in response to the limitations surrounding terms such as “cine feminista,” “cine femenino”, and “cine de mujeres” within the Spanish film industry. The term draws on American literary critic Elaine Showalter’s concept of “gynocriticism” (“Towards a Feminist Poetics,” 1979), a critical posture aimed at constructing an independent space for female writers in the literary sphere. Gynocine distinguishes itself from cine feminista and cine femenino in that rather than focusing on the particular intellectual aims of a film or its director, it places an emphasis on the ability of the viewer to read existing gender dynamics in a film regardless of its intended ideological meaning. A second aspect that distinguishes gynocine is that it does not necessarily have to be directed by a woman, setting it apart from the category cine de mujeres. Additionally, Zecchi argues that while not all films directed or produced by women may be feminist, they do pertain to the category of gynocine since—regardless of their individual principles—no woman that works in the Spanish film industry is exempt from the discriminatory practices on the basis of sex and gender that characterize the industry. [End Page 415]

The collection of essays in the volume showcases the key role of gynocine in Spain from the late 1970s to the present and is divided by the coordinator into four parts. The first part of the volume, “Debates,” groups four essays that approach various pertinent issues within the scope of gynocine. Thoroughly researched, Carmen Peña Ardid focuses on the overlooked contributions of Vindicación feminista to film criticism and documents the connection the pioneering magazine identified between the film industry and the fight for women’s rights during the transition in Spain. Peña Ardid refers not only to film reviews included in the magazine, but also to revealing interviews with female directors such as Josefina Molina and Cecilia Bartolomé. Susan Martin-Márquez analyzes the use of subversive visual techniques—such as the gaze and haptic visuality—in Isabel Coixet’s short film “Mira y verás” (1984) and Mi vida sin mí (2003) that defy casting an objectifying gaze onto the female protagonists and serve to challenge traditional cinematic means of visual pleasure. Silvia Guillamón-Carrasco explores new modes of authorship in Spanish film and examines Icíar Bollaín’s Hola, ¿estás sola? (1995) as an example of alternative filmic techniques for representing space and time. Finally, Reyes Lázaro studies Icíar Bollaín and Paul Laverty’s También la lluvia (2010) to illustrate the complex and controversial character of “cine social global.” The second section of essays, “Praxis,” consists of three essays that comment on the visibility and equality of women in the Spanish film industry. Núria Triana Toribio acutely analyzes the implications of the Ley de Igualdad de Género passed in 2007 that have only just recently been manifested within the sphere of cinema and audiovisual studies in Spain. Chronicling newspaper reports, Triana Toribio examines the significance of the Ministro de Cultura’s decision to suspend awarding the Premio Nacional de Cine in 2011 due to a lack of gender equality within the deciding committee. The essays by Inés París and Alicia Luna additionally offer key contextual information unique to this volume, providing first-hand accounts of their experience within the Spanish film industry and giving...


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pp. 415-417
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