(Im)mobility at the movies: El paro, property and prosthesis in Álex de la iglesia’s la chispa de la vida (2011)

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At a pivotal moment in Álex de la Iglesia’s La chispa de la vida (2011), the film’s protagonist suffers a bizarre and immobilizing accident, the spectacular likes of which recall a list of similarly macabre gags staged by the filmmaker throughout his oeuvre. Blundering falls from on high stand out as among the most frequently revisited misfortunes within this rich regime of mishaps, a fate which the director has imposed upon the bodies of characters both primary and secondary. A cursory inventory of scenes reflecting this motif might include, for starters, Professor Cavan’s fall in front of Madrid’s iconic Capitol Building Schweppes sign in El día de la bestia (1995), the gun-toting boarding-house owner Rosario’s brutal fall down a stairwell in the same film, the conniving neighbour Ramona’s backward fall—with a suitcase of phoney cash in hand—from a rooftop to a courtyard several storeys below in La comunidad (2000), or this same film’s horrifically droll depiction of the character Domínguez watching the lower half of his own severed body plummet down a lift shaft (while still conscious, his upper half follows soon thereafter). 1 More recently, too, El bar (2017) offers a climax involving a pair of antiheroes’ (Mario Casas and Jaime Ordóñez) mortal fall down a manhole to the sludge-ridden floor of a Madrid sewer tunnel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-65
Number of pages19
JournalBulletin of Spanish Visual Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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