Rural Homeplaces and the Roots of Affect in El olivo (2016) and Amama (2015)

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Spanish filmmakers have produced no shortage of screen fiction attuned to the struggles, intrigues, heartbreak, farces, and even the horrors of homeownership or, more modestly, home-occupancy—and loss—in Spain’s urban milieu of the economic crisis and its aftermath. But how have directors engaged with contemporary rural homeplaces? Is there a putative rural sensibility in recent Spanish cinema, especially with respect to the lensing of house and home? Through an analysis of Icíar Bollaín’s El olivo (2016) and Asier Altuna’s Amama (2015), this essay addresses these matters from an affirmative perspective, showing how these films’ inflections vis-à-vis contemporary agrarian homeplaces reveal a noteworthy turn toward place-based affect: a sensibility much less conspicuous in those fictional productions of the economic crisis and its aftermath which couple urban and residential real-estate motifs. Notwithstanding contrasts in their stylistic, cultural, and linguistic profiles, El olivo and Amama both sensitively broach the problematics of rural rootedness in recent Spain (while drawing, too, on similar arboreal motifs). Along the way, they confront broader notions of what home itself means, as well as how it feels across generationally contrastive subject positions, ideas explored in humanist geography by theorists including Yi-Fu Tuan, Edward Relph, Gaston Bachelard, and Pierre Bourdieu.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-83
Number of pages18
JournalHispanic Research Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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