Formal Disruption, Minutiae and Absence in the Films of Jaime Rosales

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Like Pere Portabella, Jacinto Esteva and Joaquim Jordà, the heterogeneous auteurs associated with the Escola de Barcelona, a new generation of Catalans including Jaime Rosales, Isaki Lacuesta, José Luis Guerín and Mercedes Álvarez have become known for creating films characterised by a very personal experimental sensibility. However, similar to their artistic antecedents these directors do not constitute a cohesive movement and are best defined by their refusal to conform to the uniformity of the cinematic mainstream.
This essay starts by exploring the significance of this emphasis on stylistic emancipation and rejection of homogeneity in the context of Catalonia’s struggle for self-determination, paying particular attention to the fact that both generations have garnered greater international rather than local recognition. Focusing on Rosales’ quietly yet fiercely confronting work, it will then go on to examine how his aesthetic choices set a subtle but all-pervading anti-establishment tone in a period of political transition, crisis and uncertainty in Catalan and Spanish society. I contend that the attention to the minutiae of quotidian life in Rosales’ films combined with absence, particularly of sound and movement, creates an intense viewing experience that challenges the spectator to reflect on the many ways violence marks people’s lives. Furthermore, I argue that, similar to the Escola de Barcelona directors, his unorthodox style is inextricably linked to the apparent invisibility or absence of explicit political and social critique despite the presence of overarching themes like loneliness, terrorism, economic crisis and lack of communication.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCatalan Cinema: Minority Voices and the New Avantgarde
PublisherUniversity of Toronto Press
Number of pages16
Publication statusSubmitted - 2019


  • Catalan Cinema
  • Spanish Cinema


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