Document Type

Honors Paper


Luis Gonzalez

Publication Date



The online version of this honors paper has had copyright-protected images removed. A complete version may be viewed at the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections & Archives, Connecticut College.


In 2007, the Spanish congress approved the Law of Historical Memory, recognizing a collective desire to exorcize the ghosts and monsters from its abject and repressed traumatic past. Spanish contemporary identities are still heavily impacted by the traumatic Civil War (1939) and the nearly forty-year long dictatorship (1939-1975) that marked most of its twentieth century’s history. This research focuses on a close reading of three films located within the aesthetic tradition of the Grotesque and the Gothic, and situated within the aftermath of the Civil War: El Espíritu de la Colmena (The Spirit of the Beehive) (1973) by Victor Erice, El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) (2006) by Guillermo del Toro, and Balada Triste de Trompeta (The Last Circus) (2011) by Álex de la Iglesia. Spanish cinema has always played an important role in different socio-political debates, both informing its specific historic contexts as well as constructing narratives of the past through its historical representation. I historically contextualize and theoretically examine the role of these films’ aesthetical approaches in the construction of Spain’s post-dictatorial identities, and the ways in which they open spaces for monolithic and ideologically problematic narratives of the Spanish past to be questioned and reexamined.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.