Childhood and urban space in 1950s Spanish popular film
Foshee, David S.
The child is an enduring figure in Spanish film, especially in the popular comedies and dramas of the 1950s and 1960s cine con niño genre. While scholars have in recent years begun to consider the role of the child throughout Spanish film history, there is no comprehensive analysis of the child protagonist in the urban cine con niño films of this time period. This dissertation seeks to address this gap through an urban cultural studies approach and close readings of seven films set in Madrid and Barcelona in the 1950s including Cerca de la ciudad (Lucia, 1952), Segundo López: Aventurero urbano (Mariscal, 1953), Hay un camino a la derecha (Rovira Beleta, 1953), Sin la sonrisa de Dios (Salvador, 1955), Mi tío Jacinto (Vajda, 1956), Los chicos (Ferreri, 1959) and Los golfos (Saura, 1959). The modernization process impacts the individual, the family and community across social classes through the figure of the child who serves as a flâneur-like guide through the different spaces that make up the cinematic city. The narrative structures of these lighthearted, popular comedies at first glance suggest that they reinforce Francoist nationalism and social values. However, the representation of childhood, urban mobility and a “life on the street” neorealist point of view combined to function as a powerful form of social criticism. The films analyzed in this dissertation and the spaces in which the child protagonist engages in social resistance serve as a foundation for the more overt political and aesthetic dissidence present in the New Spanish Cinema a decade later.Embargo status: Restricted until 01/2027. To request the author grant access, click on the PDF link to the left.