Can the Contemporary Crime Thriller be Spanish?


Davies A (2005) Can the Contemporary Crime Thriller be Spanish?. Studies in European Cinema, 2 (3), pp. 173-183.

The article discusses the crime thriller in the context of a possible national cinema. The thriller encapsulates a tension between national cinema as art house and as commercial cinema, implicitly deriving from US models, to the extent that there is some difficulty in placing the thriller within the national cinema remit. The Spanish thriller functions as a form of cinematic and cultural border territory in which conflicts between Spanish and US culture can be negotiated; but it also brings into focus the Spanish nation through a questioning of the law that represents it. The article then discusses the case of Caja 507/Deposit Box 507 as an example of how the nation can reappear as a flickering presence within the thriller. In this film we gain a sense of crime as international but with an impact on local issues and subsequently resolved locally. The intricate relationship between the law and crime that is simultaneously mutually exclusive and inextricably fused reflects the nature of the Spanish thriller, which simultaneously encompasses the infiltration of American genres while reasserting (precariously) a Spanish nation state. Spain, like the law of the land, is always in question but always there to be questioned.

Enrique Urbizu; Spanish cinema; national cinema; thrillers

Studies in European Cinema: Volume 2, Issue 3

Publication date31/12/2005