Identity and Nationality in Nueve cartas a Berta (Nine Letters to Berta, Patino 1965)

Sally Faulkner

in A Cinema of Contradiction

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780748621606
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651078 | DOI:
Identity and Nationality in Nueve cartas a Berta (Nine Letters to Berta, Patino 1965)

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Basilio Martín Patino's Nueve cartas a Berta (Nine Letters to Berta, 1965) is widely acknowledged as one of the key works of the Nuevo Cine Español (NCE), and explores the contradictions of the NCE through the question of nationality. There is a clever match between the conflict over nationality experienced by the protagonist in the film's plot and the awkward alignment of a traditional Spanish provincial setting with contemporary European film aesthetics in the film's form. These tensions furthermore encode the anxiety over ‘the national’ experienced by NCE directors both inside and outside Spain. The contradiction explicitly addressed in Nueve cartas a Berta concerns the problem of Spanishness. Conflicts over ‘the national’ inform Patino's choices of film form. Patino also explores contradiction in Nueve cartas a Berta by enriching the imagetrack through metaphors that often reverse conventional associations.

Keywords: Basilio Martín Patino; Nueve cartas; Nuevo Cine Español; metaphors; nationality; Spain; Spanishness; conflicts; contradictions

Chapter.  8586 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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