Women in Iberian Filmic Cultures (Book)

A Feminist Approach to the Cinemas of Portugal and Spain

Focusing on Portuguese and Spanish cinema, this collection brings together research about women and their status in relation to Iberian filmic culture.

Category: Film Studies


Though cinema arrived in Spain and Portugal at the end of the nineteenth century, national and industrial problems as well as the dictatorships of Salazar and Caetano (in Portugal) and Franco (in Spain) meant Iberian cinemas were isolated from European cultural trends. The strict censorship in both countries limited the themes and artistic practices adopted. A specific cinematographic language, in many cases full of metaphors and symbolism, sought alternatives to the imposed official discourse and preconceived definitions of supposed national identities. By contrast, from the 1970s onwards, Spain and Portugal experienced a great change in their societies: the arrival of democracy widened not just the panorama of film production and criticism, but also opened the film industry to women participation in areas historically assigned to men.


Focusing on Portuguese and Spanish cinema, this collection brings together research about women and their status in relation to Iberian filmic culture. The volume contributes to ongoing debates about the position of women in the cinemas of Portugal and Spain from interdisciplinary and feminist perspectives as well as new accounts of film history. It also aims to promote comparisons between Iberian cinemas and visual culture, a topic that is almost unexplored in academia, despite the similar histories of the two countries, particularly throughout the twentieth century.

Elena Cordero Hoyo is a PhD student of the Centre for Comparative Studies at the University of Lisbon and an editor of Secuencias, an online film history journal. Begoña Soto-Vázquez is professor of media history and cinema theory at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Spain and was the founder and director of the Film Archive of Andalucía.

Introduction: Women in Iberian cinemas, a singular tour in Spain and Portugal

Elena Cordero-Hoyo and Begoña Soto-Vázquez


Part 1: The presence of women in Iberian cinemas

  1. Fiction as a Place of Power: The Presence of Female Directors Throughout the History of Portuguese Cinema.

Ana Catarina Pereira

  1. The Invisible Women of Spanish Cinema.

Annette Scholz

  1. Três dias sem Deus by Bárbara Virgínia, a Different Way of Representation.

Ricardo Vieira Lisboa


Part 2: Killing the muse: Women as creator

  1. Gender Violence and Historical Memory in Margarida Cardoso and Isabel Coixet.

Estela Vieira

  1.  ‘People Don’t Understand [the] World’: The Limits of Transnational Authorship in the Cinema of Isabel Coixet.

Katarzyna Paszkiewicz

  1. Murmuring Colonial Ghosts in Margarida Cardoso’s Filmography.

Adriana Martins


Part 3: Beyond the author: Recognizing other cinematographic professions

  1. Weaving a Cinematographic Culture and Writing about Film or How to Reconstruct the Subject of Women in Spanish Silent Cinema.

Begoña Soto-Vázquez

  1. A Woman Censor during the Portuguese Dictatorship (1968–74).

Ana Bela Morais

  1. Costume Designers in Portugal: A Trade Between Art and Technique Relegated to the Status of ‘a Woman’s Thing’.

Caterina Cucinotta


Part 4: Historical memory and the gendered archive

  1. Paradigms – Women Filmmakers in 1970s Revolutionary Portugal – Delgado, Nordlund, Cordeiro and Serra.

Érica Faleiro Rodrigues

  1. The Mother Awaits: Woman and Landscape in Galician Non-Fiction Cinema.

Mª Soliña Barreiro González

  1. Exploring the Portuguese Memory through Appropriation Film: A toca do lobo (Mourão, 2015).

Elena Cordero-Hoyo


Notes on contributors

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