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Ocho apellidos vascos and the Comedy of Minor Differences

Buse, Peter, Triana Toribio, Núria (2015) Ocho apellidos vascos and the Comedy of Minor Differences. Romance Quarterly, 62 (4). pp. 229-241. ISSN 0883-1157. E-ISSN 1940-3216. (doi:10.1080/08831157.2015.1068637) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:51184)

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This article examines the content, contexts, and intertexts of the Spanish romantic comedy Ocho apellidos vascos (Dir. Emilio Martínez-Lázaro, 2014). The film was the Spanish box office smash of 2014, and indeed of all time: within one month of its release it had attracted more spectators than any film screened in Spain except for Avatar. Critics spoke of “a social phenomenon,” trying to account for its huge success with national audiences. That success, the critics understood, had something to do with the ethnicities of the film's two lovers—one Andalusian, the other Basque—and the setting of the film, a post-ETA Basque country. Finally, it was said, Spain was able to laugh at the longest-lasting historical trauma that it had endured in the post–civil war era, and by all accounts Basque audiences laughed along with the Spanish. In this article, we consider the ways in which the film makes use of comic conventions to broach problems of difference and conflict. The conflict in question is one that, until recently, has resolutely resisted comic treatment in Spanish film. However, as we demonstrate, Ocho apellidos vascos has not emerged in a vacuum but is, in fact, in dialogue with comic traditions that run from Berlanga to contemporary Basque television and the current trend of “post-humor” in Spanish and Catalan popular culture, particularly as disseminated on the Internet. If Ocho apellidos vascos has reached and satisfied such a wide audience in Spain, it is because it articulates a key message about regionalist and nationalist identifications in a post-ETA landscape. Drawing on psychoanalytical and other theories of humor and comedy, we show how the film is a careful work of compromise, eliding conflicts and dressing up minor differences as major ones.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/08831157.2015.1068637
Uncontrolled keywords: Basque conflict; Borja Cobeaga; nationalism; Romantic comedy; Spanish cinema
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PB Modern Languages
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Jacqueline Martlew
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2015 09:14 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 10:59 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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Triana Toribio, Núria.

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