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Crime and Punishment in Spanish Film

Module Code: HP318
Module Name: Crime and Punishment in Spanish Film
Module Coordinator: Dr Tom Whittaker
Term 1 (2022-2023)
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

While Spanish audiences have long been fascinated with criminality, the nature of the criminal act depicted onscreen has undergone a series of dramatic transformations from the early Franco period to the present day. This course explores how the varied depictions of criminality in Spanish cinema have reflected broader changes in the cultural understanding of transgression, civil disorder and social control in Spain. It examines criminality in its various guises and meanings, from violent crime, petty theft and delinquency, to police torture and domestic abuse, as a means of tracing a recent history of the Spanish penal system and its evolution of criminal justice. In doing so, the course will study a number of important crime thrillers, police procedural films and delinquent films, as well as controversial films whose making itself has been considered deviant by the authorities.

The course is taught through a combination of pre-recorded weekly lectures and face-to-face seminars, where students are expected to have watched the film in advance. The course also considers the interplay between Spanish crime and society through a number of criminological and sociological sources which will be discussed in class.

Please note that some of the films studied on this module contain scenes of graphic violence and/or of a disturbing nature.

Primary sources

Muerte de un ciclista (Juan Antonio Bardem, 1955)

Cría cuervos (Carlos Saura, 1976)

Navajeros (Eloy de la Iglesia, 1980)

La ley del deseo (Pedro Almodóvar, 1987)

Celda 211(Daniel Monzón, 2009)

La isla mínima (Alberto Rodríguez, 2014)

Assessment Method

2 x 2500 word essays