• Who and What Was José Antonio Nieves Conde Criticizing in the Film El inquilino (1957)?

    Susan Larson (see profile) , Carlos Sambricio
    Interdisciplinary Approaches to Culture and Society, LLC 20th- and 21st-Century Spanish and Iberian, MS Screen Arts and Culture, Prospective Forum: TC Geography and Literature, Urban Cultural Studies
    Motion pictures--Political aspects, Motion pictures--Social aspects, Spain
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Film and politics, Film and society, Contemporary Spain, Urban studies
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    How does one understand a filmmaker like José Antonio Nieves Conde, a Falangist whose films with strong neorealist tendencies were radically altered by the Francoist censors for being too critical of the economic injustices inherent to daily urban life after the Spanish Civil War? Many film critics have asked this question and this essay looks for an answer by considering a seemingly inconsequential screenplay written by Alfredo Marquerie in 1955 for the documentary film Obra Sindical del Hogar commissioned by the Delegación Nacional de Sindicatos, which was responsible for organizing all of the industrial workers in Spain during the Franco regime. The plot of El inquilino is remarkably similar to the narrative outlined in this 1955 screenplay and includes the pious, moralizing statements of the Obra Sindical that were put to such humorous use in the feature film two years later. The purpose of this 1955 documentary was to reinforce the confidence of Spanish workers in the state and its official workers’ unions. Nieves Condes’s feature film, however, ultimately undermined the ideology and project of Franco’s housing policies. What Nieves Conde did not know, however, is that the regime would get the last laugh. Just a few months after the release of El inquilino, Spain’s Minister of Housing, José Luis de Arrese, would almost singlehandedly transfer the capacity to satisfy the urgent demand for public housing to the private sector.
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    2 years ago
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