Woman and Home: Gender and the Theorisation of Basque (National) Cinema


Davies A (2009) Woman and Home: Gender and the Theorisation of Basque (National) Cinema. Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, 10 (3), pp. 359-372.

First paragraph: Some of the contemporary theorisation of Basque cinema, in particular that of Basque theorists Joseba Gabilondo and Jaume Martı´-Olivella, is based on concepts of exile and the uncanny or unheimlich, and thus in turn implicitly on the concept of home. In the desire to claim the existence of a Basque national cinema (itself problematic given the question of the notion of national cinemas within film studies), this focus on questions of home or the lack of it as a way in which to theorise Basque cinema has neglected the fact that home can be a densely gendered concept. In particular, home may mean very specific things for women, and these meanings need to be taken into account when considering home and its opposites as bases on which to theorise Basque cinema. Through the analysis of two films -- Urte ilunak (Arantxa Lazcano) and Yoyes (Helena Taberna) -- this paper will argue that the question of home in these films is addressed in varying ways, suggesting the importance of gender in debates about Basque cinema but also that neither nation nor gender can be used reductively as a theoretical framework. Rather, gender becomes one route into the exploration of the fissures within conceptualisations of a Basque cinema in terms of a home and homeland that serves to marginalise: thus it needs urgent consideration when theorising a Basque national cinema. The focus on female protagonists in these films acts to remind us that we need to incorporate the multiple and complex forms of exclusion and marginalisation that occur within the Basque culture and its diaspora.

Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies: Volume 10, Issue 3

Publication date30/09/2009
PublisherTaylor and Francis