“The future is hidden behind the men who do.” ~Anatole France
Within Spain, Catalonia, particularly Barcelona, has often welcomed the forerunners of major social and cultural movements. Unsurprisingly, Barcelona was also the nation’s first gateway to the art and industry of film, a role the city enjoyed until sound cinema and the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) moved the center of Spanish filmmaking to Madrid. Under Franco (1939-1975), the film industry was never nationalized but remained under the close supervision of government authorities. Political criticism, when it appeared in films, was dramatically veiled.
Clandestí: Forbidden Catalan Cinema Under Franco focuses on a generation of independent filmmakers whose innate unwillingness to conform forced them to produce, distribute, and exhibit radical films in Catalonia, with the furtive hope of sending them into the rest of Franco’s Spain. Shooting under the pretense of amateur filmmaking, they hid within crowds of protesters, producing works that were often highly creative and experimental. They used short ends—bits of unexposed footage left over from shoots—made available to them by sympathetic professionals and distributed their films in recreation centers, private homes, cinema clubs, universities, social and cultural associations, and even parochial schools.
Being clandestine required these artists to develop aliases, which has led to some difficulties for historical investigation and film preservation. Many of these films have no credits, in order to protect the identities of its participants. While this body of work represents a margin of Spanish film history, it nevertheless contains some of the most crucial, first-hand documents of the end of the dictatorship, revealing problems of housing and social services, immigration, the fate of political prisoners, and restrictions on expression and free speech. These filmmakers, members of a generation that didn’t fight the Civil War, also chronicled the ongoing psychological, social, economic, and cultural effects of the conflict. Forced to choose between exile and intellectual annihilation, they instead expressed themselves, putting their art in the service of a political movement that altered the course of Spanish history.
To view clips and get additional information on the films, please visit Pragda's website.
Calendar for the daily screening schedule and to purchase tickets online.
Clandestí: Forbidden Catalan Cinema Under Franco is organized by The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Pragda, curated by Marta Sánchez and Manuel Barrios. With the support of the Institut Ramon Llull. Collaboration for the exhibition comes from Filmoteca de Catalunya, the Embassy of Spain, Washington, DC and Consulate of Spain, New York. Special thanks to Josep Guirao, Món diplomatic/ Unesco Andorra, Alicia Conesa and Montserrat Bailac, Research department of TV3 - Televisió de Catalunya and the filmmakers Llorenç Soler, Martí Rom and Maria Lisa. Film prints courtesy of Filmoteca de Catalunya, TV3 - Televisió de Catalunya, Institut del Cinema Català ICC and the filmmakers.
This exhibition is part of Catalan Days: Arts, Food and Literature from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, a citywide cultural program devoted to Catalan culture and artists. For more information, visitpragda.com