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The 2011 Pérez Galdós Lecture:

Galdós and Spanish Cinema


Dr Sally Faulkner

(University of Exeter, UK)


It is well known that a Galdós novel, his 1892 Tristana, was the source text for one of the films Buñuel made in Spain – of which there were just two full features. This lecture takes as its starting point Buñuel’s debt to Galdós in his 1970 adaptation of Tristana, and from there, looks backwards and forwards across Spain’s glorious long century of filmmaking to ask what role the novelist from the Canaries – whose last works, the ‘dialogue-novels’, may themselves be considered early film scripts – has played in this national cinema? With reference to a number of clips and stills, we will explore both the films that may be considered classic adaptations – like the wonderfully mischievous yet little-known Torment (Olea 1974) – and films that do not declare themselves to be adaptations as such, yet display the influence of the wit and wickedness of Galdós’s prose – like Buñuel’s acclaimed and notorious 1961 Viridiana. The lecture will also pay attention to the legacy of Galdós’s work for Spanish television – a field of academic study still in its infancy – with examples from Camus’s award-winning adaptation of Fortunata y Jacinta (broadcast 1979-80). Even if Galdós’s influence on the national cinema was compromised at times by hostile political contexts, the role of the novelist in Spanish screen culture is readily comparable to that of Dickens in the British context.

Pdf. version of the 2011 lecture

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Dr Sally Faulkner

Dr Faulkner is Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at the University of Sheffield. She is one of the UK's leading researchers on Spanish cinema (particularly film under Franco and film and literature). Her first book, Literary Adaptations in Spanish Cinema and Television included chapters on the adapations of Galdós's novels, including Buñuel's Tristana and Nazarín and Mario Camus' Fortunata y Jacinta. Since then she has focussed on Spanish film under FRanco and in August 2010 she was awarded an AHRC Fellowship for her project 'A New History of Spanish Cinema: Middlebrow Films and Mainstream Audiences'. We are delighted to welcome her to Sheffield to deliver the 2011 Galdós lecture.

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