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The x is Female. Film, Gender, and Censorship in Franco’s Spain


XII MAGIS International Film Studies Spring School

Gorizia, April 5-11, 2014

The “moral and political objections” of the Spanish National Board of Censorship regarding The lost city (La ciudad perdida / Terroristi a Madrid, Margarita Alexandre and Rafael Torrecilla, 1954)*

In 1954 Margarita Alexandre co-directed with Rafael Torrecilla The lost city (La ciudad perdida / Terroristi a Madrid), a Spanish-Italian co-production telling the story of an exile from the Spanish Civil War (Fausto Tozzi) who returned to Madrid, his hometown, in order to carry out an attack. The action failed, and, while trying to escape, the dissident kidnapped and felt in love with a wealthy woman (Cosetta Greco) who, in turn, tried to help him to avoid the police. The Spanish Film Board objected ‘moral and political’ issues to the script and compelled the directors to re-write it, a sine qua non condition to authorize the shooting of the film. Even though moral and political considerations were frequent in censorship reports, one of the main problems in this case consisted in the intertwining of both aspects throughout the film.

This paper aims to analyze the specificities of the ‘moral and political objections’ alleged by the censorship within the context of the Francoist dictatorship and, more precisely, regarding the politics of the past fostered by the regime during the 1950’s. Providing historical and textual analysis of the censorship files, the original script, and the resulting film, the author seeks to explore the way in which, in this particular case, the interrelation between politics and desire was at the core of the censorship objections. By exploring the field of “the forbidden” in The Lost City, both regarding politically and sexually marked subjects, the author aims at demonstrating that the consistence of the Francoist ideal of the nation relied upon the sanction, not only of political dissidence, but also, of personal expressions of desire.

* This work is part of the I+D+i research project “Hacia una reconsideración de la cultura posbélica: análisis de los Modos de Representación en el cine español (1939-1962) a partir de la impronta de Wenceslao Fernández Flórez” (CSO2012-34648), Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, Government of Spain. It was part of the panel The x is Female. Film, Gender, and Censorship in Franco’s Spain, presented by Elena Oroz (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona), Sonia García López (Carlos III University of Madrid), and Laura Gómez Vaquero (Camilo José Cela University of Madrid). Ver el programa completo de XII MAGIS International Film Studies Spring School en Film Forum.



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