Religion and Spanish Film

Luis Buñuel, the Franco Era, and Contemporary Directors
Elizabeth Scarlett
How Spanish directors have handled religious themes, with their highly-charged political implications, from the historical avant-garde to 2010


Treatments of religion found in Spanish cinema range from the pious to the anticlerical and atheistic, and every position in between. In a nation with a strong Catholic tradition, resistance to and rebellion against religious norms go back almost as far as the notion of “Sacred Spain.” Religion and Spanish Film provides a sustained study of the religious film genre in Spain practiced by mainstream Francoist film makers, the evolving iconoclasm, parody, and reinvention of the Catholic by internationally renowned Surrealist Luis Buñuel, and the ongoing battle of the secular versus the religious manifested in critically and popularly acclaimed directors Pedro Almodóvar, Julio Medem, Alejandro Amenábar, and many others. The conflicted Catholicism that emerges from examining religious themes in Spanish film history shows no sign of ending, as unresolved issues from the Civil War and Franco dictatorship, as well as the unsettled relationship between Church and State, continue into the present.

Elizabeth Scarlett is Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literature at the University of Buffalo, SUNY.

Praise / Awards

  • "A brilliant study."
    --Divine Film Comedies (Routledge Studies in Religion and Film series)
  • "Religion and Spanish Film seems destined to become a key work for scholars specializing in this subject. In addition, its readable prose and cogent argumentation are accessible to non-specialists."
  • "Elizabeth Scarlett provides in Religion and Spanish Film a much needed contribution to the field of Hispanism. Her book is absolutely recommended as an essential reading that not only assembles a miscellaneous list of movies and filmmakers from different periods and genres into a coherent and dynamic corpus, but also strengthens the interdisciplinary ties between Film and Religious Studies, opening up new perspectives on twentieth- and twenty-first-century Spanish culture."
    -- Revista de Estudios Hispánicos
  • "Characterized by an impeccable writing style, Religion and Spanish Film is a distinctive contribution to Spanish film, cultural studies, and religious and film studies more broadly."
    --Anales de la Literatura Española Contemporánea

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Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 210pp.
  • 9 illustrations.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2014
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-07245-3

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  • $74.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2014
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05245-5

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  • $29.95 U.S.

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  • film, cinema, Spain, religion, Hispanic studies, Catholicism, Luis Buñuel, Carlos Saura, Pedro Almodóvar, Franco dictatorship, Surrealism, Spanish film directors, European art cinema, religious themes in film, Rafael Gil, Josefina Molina, Luis García Berlanga, Spanish cultural studies, film history, film studies, media studies, film genre, film censorship, hagiography, horror film, biographical film, auteur theory, film analysis, motion picture industry, world cinema