Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Lust and Disgust: The Rhetoric of Abjection in the Spanish Immigration Films Bwana, Flores de otro mundo and Princesas

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2015), 92, (7), 825–840.

Abstract

In Spanish films about immigration, the notion of abjection, manifested as filth, contamination and similar types of debasement, has often been associated with the immigrant Other striving for integration. As interpreted by Julia Kristeva, the abject is an ambiguous figure, one that resists facile categorization and defies fixed notions of identity. The purpose of this investigation is to explore how the immigrant Other, through visual and verbal rhetoric of abjection, is posited as a figure of both attraction and repulsion in Bwana (1996), Flores de otro mundo (1999), and Princesas (2005). In these films, the myth of Spanish homogeneity is challenged by representations of physical and cultural ‘contamination’, which signal the supposed encroachment of immigrant behaviour, dress and appearance on Spanish national identity, and force a re-evaluation and reconfiguration of what constitutes ‘Spanishness’.

En las películas españolas sobre la inmigración, se ha asociado la noción del ‘abyecto’, manifestado como la inmundicia, la contaminación y otros tipos de degradación, con el inmigrante, el ‘otro’ que está tratando de integrarse. Según la interpretación de Julia Kristeva, el abyecto es una figura ambigua, una que resiste la categorización fácil y desafía las normas fijas de identidad. El propósito de esta investigación es explorar cómo el inmigrante, a través de la retórica visual y verbal del abyecto, se plantea como una figura de atracción y rechazo en Bwana (1996), Flores de otro mundo (1999), y Princesas (2005). En estas películas, las representaciones de la contaminación física y cultural, las cuales supuestamente señalan la imposición del comportamiento, el vestuario, y la apariencia de los inmigrantes en la identidad nacional española, desafían el mito de la homogenidad española y obligan a una reevaluación y reconfiguración de ‘lo español’.

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PALARDY, DIANA