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White Gypsies: Race and Stardom in Spanish Musicalsby Eva Woods Peiro
Synopses & Reviews
Little has been written about the Spanish film musical, a genre usually associated with the early Franco dictatorship and dismissed by critics as reactionary, escapist fare. A timely and valuable corrective, White Gypsies shows how the Spanish folkloric musical films of the 1940s and ’50s are inextricably tied to anxious concerns about race—especially, but not only, Gypsiness.
Focusing on the processes of identity formation in twentieth-century Spain—with multifaceted readings of the cinematic construction of class, gender, and sexuality—Eva Woods Peiró explores how these popular films allowed audiences to negotiate and imaginatively, at times problematically, resolve complex social contradictions. The intricate interweaving of race and modernity is particularly evident in her scrutiny of a striking popular phenomenon: how the musicals progressively whitened their stars, even as their story lines became increasingly Andalusianized and Gypsified.
White Gypsies reveals how these imaginary individuals constituted a veritable cultural barometer of how racial thinking was projected and understood across a broad swath of popular Spanish cinema.
Book News Annotation:
Woods Peiro (Hispanic studies, Vassar College) analyzes Spanish musical films of the 1940s-50s (folklóricas) as expressions of racial tensions surrounding the Roma, popularly known as Gypsies, and other groups of color in Spain. The author offers a microhistory of these musical comedies, focusing on race in the silent films of the 1920s, the 'Gypsy problem' in Spain, the law and spatial assimilation, and the folklórica and the Fuhrer. A final chapter notes the new audience for these films among queer subculture in Spain. Annotation Â©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Reveals how Spanish film musicals, long dismissed as unworthy of critical scrutiny, illuminate Spain’s relationship to modernity
About the Author
Eva Woods Peiró is associate professor of Hispanic studies and director of the Media Studies Program at Vassar College.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Modernity, Race, and Visibility
1. Time, Racial Otherness, and Digressions in Silent Films of the 1920s
2. Female Spectacle in the Display Case of the Roaring Twenties
3. Racing for Modernity: From Black Jazz to White Gypsy Folklore
4. The Gypsy “Problem”: Law and Spatial Assimilation
5. The Spanish Solution: The Folklórica and the Führer
6. Recycling Folklóricas: A Queer Spain
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Arts and Entertainment » Art » Film and Video