ISSUE 3 - 2019 (2)

Wenceslao Fernández Florez: The Writer Filmmaker

José Luis Castro de Paz (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) y Héctor Paz Otero (Universidade de Vigo)




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Coruñés writer Wenceslao Fernández Flórez (1895-1964) is, undoubtedly, a key figure in the history of Spanish cinema. Admirer of the silent period era, he became a remarkable figure in the configuration of the popular-national cinema of the second Republic through El malvado Carabel (1935), a film in which Edgar Neville offers a model for a critical, social, popular, both Hollywood-like and castizo cinema, with solid roots in both the sainete and the novelistic traditions. The adaptions of his works after the civil war (El hombre que se quiso matar, 1942; Huella de luz, 1943; Intriga, 1942), combining costumbrismo, melancholia, humour and reflexivity, are of utmost importance. In addition, there is the (more or less) direct influence of this author in the remarkable filmographies of Luis García Berlanga and Fernando Fernán-Gómez (who returns to El malvado Carabel in 1955). This is a decisive aesthetic and cultural process that will conclude with new visits to the Valle-Inclán alleyway in the early 1960s. In these, the oeuvre of Fernández Flórez functions as intermediate link, as a “slightly curved mirror”, a placid deformation that will only explode in its full concavity in films such as Plácido (1961) or El mundo sigue (1963).