Examining three fiction films (Techo y comida, Ayer no termina nunca, and Magical Girl), this essay illuminates the traces of the economic crisis in recent Spanish cinema, focusing on how it is inscribed on female-gendered bodies and subjectivities. In exploring how female pain accumulates across the boundaries of genre in these disparate films, it asks what kind of gendered subjects these films construct, and what work women's suffering is asked to perform, both for the benefit of the film's plot and the spectator's engagement. It shows how, even in cinema sympathetic to those devastated by crisis, women are cast as disposable raw material, as it were, “primed for suffering.” At the same time, it argues, these films bring to light and embody experiences that are seldom revealed, enacting an ethical gesture of potential solidarity with those devastated by multiple forms of crisis.
Primed for Suffering: Gender, Subjectivity, and Spectatorship in Spanish Crisis Cinema
Sarah Thomas is associate professor of Hispanic studies at Brown University. Her research focuses on the cinema and literature of modern Spain, with a focus on subjectivity, temporality, and space. In addition to her current monograph on the cinema of Carlos Saura, she is working on a future project that explores gender and suffering in Spanish cultural production.
Sarah Thomas; Primed for Suffering: Gender, Subjectivity, and Spectatorship in Spanish Crisis Cinema. boundary 2 1 August 2021; 48 (3): 215–251. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-9155817
Download citation file: