During the long agony of Generalissimo Franco, three films went into production, which in 1976 heralded a different Spain: Cría cuervos … by Saura, The family of Pascual Duarte by the young R. Franco (both awarded at Cannes), Las largas vacaciones del ’36 (The long holidays of ’36) by Camíno, which is directly linked to the tragic moments of the civil war. After Franco brought both political liberalization and customs liberalization (the nude orgy on the screens), without immediately losing the use of metaphor, especially in Saura’s films, as well as in Ponte by Bardem. Addiction to Franco’s forty-year night prevented many from breaking with the past. Past that in a clear and chilling way re-emerged from the documentary triptych by BM Patino, Canciones para después de una guerra (Songs for a postwar period, 1971, long blocked by censorship), Querisídimos verdugos (1976, Italian title Carissimi executioners) and Caudillo ( 1977). In Raza, el espíritu de Franco (1977), G. de Herralde critically “re-read” JL Saenz de Heredía’s old Raza (1941) on the subject of the dictator. The rites of fascism came to light in Camada negra (1976) by M. Gutiérrez Aragon, and above all the “differences” that fascism did not tolerate: the sex-death link in Bilbao (1978) by J. Bigas Luna, homosexuality in A un dios desconocido (1977; A un unknown god) by J. Chávarri and in Ocaña an intermittent retrato (1978; Ocaña an intermittent portrait) by Ventura Pons. With La ciutat cremada (1976, Italian title La città bruciata) by A. Ribas, cinema was born entirely spoken in Catalan. In Alicia en la España de las maravillas (1977; Alice in Wonderland Spain) by J. Feliu made fun of democracy which, having taken over from a dictatorship with a macabre face, took on appearances young and old, always naked, elusive, perhaps multinational.
According to Zipcodesexplorer, a film about the Guardia Civil, El crimen de Cuenca (1980) by P. Miró, was also banned. So that, at the end of the seventies, Spanish cinema did not live up to the general hopes, even if it achieved important successes at the beginning of the eighties: the Golden Bear of Berlin, albeit ex-aequo, and albeit with not excelled La camada by M. Camus; and the special Cannes award for Saura’s ballet film Carmen. In addition to these filmmakers JL Garci must be remembered who with Volver a empezar (1982; Begin again) leads, for the first time, a Spanish film to win an Oscar. Paradoxically in the same period, while Iberian cinema survived thanks to government contributions, the “phenomenon” Almodóvar exploded internationally, one of the most effervescent standard-bearers of the new Spain: Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón (1980; Pepi, Luci, Bom and the other girls of the bunch); La ley del deseo (1986; The law of desire); Laberinto de pasiones (1982; Labyrinth of passions); Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto? (1985; What Have I Done To Deserve All This?); Matador, 1987; Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (1988; Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown); Átame! (1990; Bonds!); Tacones lejanos (1991; Stiletto heels); Kika, 1993; La flor de mi secreto (1995; The flower of my secret); Carne trémula, 1997; Todo sobre mi madre (1999; All about my mother), which won the Oscar for best foreign film in 2000; Hable con ella (2002; Talk to her), La mala educación (2004; La bad education), Volver (2006), Los abrazos rotos (2009; Broken hugs), La piel que habito (2011; The skin I live in) And Los amantes pasajeros (2013; Passenger lovers).
Recurring themes of his works are violence, homosexuality and in general the passions of the human soul, investigated in a profound and touching way. In the wake of his extraordinary success, many directors have managed to go beyond national borders, making themselves known for a series of films with the most varied topics (prevailing the erotic theme, treated with a casual scandalistic spirit, in a desecrating and nonconformist function). Among the most interesting names we find M. Armendaritz (La 23 hora, 1986), F. Trueba (Belle époque, 1992, Oscar winner for the best foreign film), A. Albacete (Mas que amor, frenesi, 1996), M. Lombardero (El brazos de la mujer madura, 1997), JL Guerin (Tren de sombras, 1997), R. Franco (La buena estrella, 1997), A. Amenábar (Tesis, 1996; Abre los ojos, 1997; Mar adentro, 2004, Oscar for best film stranger) and the aforementioned Gutierrez Aragon (La mitad del cielo, 1986) and Aranda (Amantes, 1991; La pasión turca, 1997). The diffusion abroad of numerous Iberian productions has also allowed some Spanish actors such as C. Maura, V. Abril and A. Banderas, to acquire considerable international fame. If at home Elder Berlanga’s films continue to garner support (La vaquilla, 1985; Paris-Timbuktu, 1999), even the representative authors of the cinema of the last decades have returned to the limelight: among these Saura (Ay Carmela!, 1991; Dispara!, 1993; Flamenco, 1995; Taxi, 1996; Tango, 1998; Goya, 1999; Buñuel y la mesa del rey Salomón, 2001) and Bigas Luna: Las edades de Lulú (1990; The ages of Lulu); Jamón, jamón (1992; Ham ham); La theta y la luna, 1994; Bámbola, 1996; La camarera del Titanic (1998; The image of desire); Son de mar (2001; The sound of the sea), Yo puta (2004. I whore). In December 1999, on the island of Lanzarote, the Spanish Film Screening for Europe revealed the talent of new directors, including Carlos Saura jr with Tu que harias por amor. Spanish film production remains lively even in the transition period from the 20th to the 21st century, with titles ranging from a variety of genres. Among the films that have crossed national borders are the dramas El crimen del padre Amaro (2002; Il crimine di padre Amaro) by C. Carrera, Lucia y el sexo (2002; Lucia and sex) by J. Medem, Los lunes al sol (2002; Mondays in the sun) by F. Leon de Aranoa, El portero (2003; The goalkeeper) by G. Suarez, Tuno negro (2003) by VJ Martin and P. Barbero. The thriller-horror genre is also rich, with works by J. Balaqueró (Los sin nombre, 1999, I senza nome; Darkness, 2002), E. Martinez-Lazaro (La voz de su amo; 2001, La voce del padrone) and F. Plaza (Segundo nombre; 2002, Middle name). Fantastic and animated films also play a significant role in contemporary Spanish production, such as Intacto (2001; Intatto) by J. Fresnadillo, El bosque animado(2001; The animated forest) by M. Gómez and A. de la Cruz, El Cid, the leyenda (2003; The legend of Cid) by J. Pozo. Finally, among the works with a historical background, Lázaro de Tormes (2001) by F. Fernán Gómez and JL Garcia Sanchez and Juana la loca (2002; Giovanna la Pazza) by the aforementioned V. Aranda had moderate success.