Adapt and Overcome

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The organic nature of an edited book means that no matter how thorough your planning nor how strict your e-mails, it will throw up anomalies, left turns (when you want go right) and alternative universes.

You want blue?  It turns out I can’t do blue.  Here’s a yellow one instead.

6000 apples is all you have room for?  Here’s 12,000.

You know that new bike I promised you?  Here’s a cheese and pickle sandwich.

The good news is that an open and optimistic response sometimes yields unexpected riches.  Contributors are bound to hit brick walls, dead ends, go down twisting alleys and not be able to get back.  It’s the nature of research that it should take you places new. This whole volume is, after all, about remapping.

Plus, 6000 words is not a lot.

So when contributors came back to us with alternative ideas, revised plans and the surprising results of remapping World cinema, well, it was our fault for commissioning such innovative chapters in the first place. One of the most pleasant surprises came from Professor Paul Julian Smith. Paul Julian Smith is a specialist in film and television in Spain and Mexico. He is Distinguished Professor in the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Program in the Graduate Center, City University of New York and was for twenty years the Professor of Spanish in the University of Cambridge, UK. He was a regular contributor to Sight & Sound and is now a columnist for Film Quarterly. His seventeen authored books include Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodóvar (2014) and Amores Perros (2003). They have been translated into Spanish, Chinese, and Turkish. His most recent book is Mexican Screen Fiction: Between Cinema and Television (2014). He was a juror at the Morelia International Film Festival in 2008 and at the San Sebastián International Film Festival in 2013.

He suggested a chapter entitled ‘A Comparative Approach to the Contemporary Audiovisual Fields of Spain and Mexico’ but then submitted one that was ‘A Comparative Approach to the Contemporary Audiovisual Fields of Film and Television in Spain’. Despite being country-specific, his excellent chapter delivered something that The Routledge Companion to World Cinema really needed – a hard look at the relationship between film and television that would prompt comparative analyses with many other cinemas of the World.

Thus, there is a disjunction between the original abstract and the final chapter, which will appear in the published book. But bear in mind that this was the original chapter and that the survey and analysis of Latin American Cinema was picked up by Dolores Tierney, so todo termina bien.

Here’s the original abstract.

A Comparative Approach to the Contemporary Audiovisual Fields of Spain and Mexico

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El Tiempo entre Costuras, TVE España

The similarities and differences between the audiovisual field in Spain and Mexico over the last decade are striking. In both countries local audiences are broadly hostile to local films, even as local TV series dominate prime time; movie production has increased in the last decade while distribution has fallen; and there is a growing divide between rare hits at the local box office (generally comedies) and a corpus of austere art movies (shown almost exclusively at foreign festivals). Conversely, public subsidy for Mexican film has risen as the Spanish equivalent has been cut; and a rise in ticket prices has not prevented attendance in Mexico from rising, even as the same phenomenon is blamed in Spain for audiences deserting theatres. This chapter addresses the interlinked roles of the three phenomena that make up the cultural as understood by Bourdieu: institutions (both public and private), producers (including directors and screenwriters) and texts (both feature films and TV series).

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