Cinematography among the most important in Europe, the Spanish one remained almost completely unknown for many years (Francoism in fact raised an insurmountable barrier for about forty years), but it was distinguished, in the second half of the 20th century, by entity of production and wealth of themes and authors.
The cinema of the origins
Cinema also arrived in the Iberian Peninsula thanks to the Lumière brothers: in May 1896, the first screenings were recorded in Madrid, made by the French operator Alexandre Promio, who shortly afterwards shot scenes of local life, bullfights and above all military parades. In the history of Spanish cinema, Eduardo Jimeno is considered the director who made the first national film: Salida de la misa de doce del Pilar de Zaragoza (1897). The Spain was then a backward country, close to defeat in the Spanish-American war (1898, with the loss of the colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines), governed by a conservative and Catholic monarchy; in this context the topics that polarized the first cinematographic experiences were three eminently ‘Spanish’ themes: the bullfight, the military and the exit from mass. While these were the dominant topics in Madrid, in Barcelona, a more industrialized city with a wealthier middle class, another type of cinema was born and already in 1897 Fructuoso Gelabert was making the first Spanish fiction film: Riña en un café. and in 1910 the new form of entertainment spread to various parts of the country; but it was in Barcelona that a nascent industry was consolidated. Segundo de Chomón made the first films of clear fantastic inspiration in 1902 (along the lines of Georges Méliès) and in 1905 El hotel eléctrico, one of the masterpieces of early cinema. Shortly after he moved to Paris, where he made almost 150 fictional films, before returning to Spain in 1910. In 1906 the most important Spanish production company, Hispano Films, was founded in Barcelona. in which Ricardo de Baños held a prominent position, introducing historical and art films to Spain Between 1910 and the beginning of the First World War, cinema thus became one of the most important forms of popular entertainment, especially with the advent of American cinema which conquered the public. For Spain 2007, please check extrareference.com.
Silent cinema and the advent of sound
A real silent cinema arose in Spain starting from 1920 and coincided with the decline of the film industry in Barcelona and the birth of that of Madrid. It was the time of the dictatorship of M. Primo de Rivera (1923-1930): in Spain there were more than a thousand cinemas, with three factories in Barcelona and another three in Madrid working at full capacity. Some directors made their best titles in those years: José Buchs, specializing in popular films and derivatives of the zarzuela (a sort of operetta of Spanish national tradition); Benito Perojo, the most cosmopolitan of Spanish directors of the time, author of valuable works such as El negro que tenía el alma blanca (1927) or Florián Rey, perhaps the most solid of the directors who made their debut in those years, with an original style that was defined between La revoltosa (1925) and his most important work, La aldea maldita (1930). A local star system began to be created: the stars were Imperio Argentina and Conchita Piquer, who would then consolidate their success also in sound cinema with the triumph of one of the Spanish genres par excellence, the folklore film or españolada. Parallel to the formation of a commercial cinema, an avant-garde current also developed, in line with the literature and theater of the 1920s. The Residencia de Estudiantes, legendary meeting place of Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel and F. García Lorca, was one of the cradles of this cinema that was born around the magazine “La gaceta literaria” and the numerous cineclubs España (in Madrid) and Mirador (in Barcelona), with the support of the progressive intellectuals of the moment: R. Alberti, R. Gómez de la Serna, B. Jarnés or L. Cernuda. Nemesio M. Sobrevila with El sexto sentido (1929), Ernesto Giménez Caballero with Esencia de verbena (1930), but in particular Buñuel and Dalí who were then working on Un chien andalou (1929), are the most significant examples of a type of cinema that, in latent form, has crossed the entire history of Spanish cinema. Sound cinema arrived almost simultaneously with the proclamation of the Republic. On April 14, 1931 King Alfonso XIII abdicated: thus began a new era, full of hope and freedom, which however the cinema was slow to reflect. American films also came with the sound, but initially (1929-1932) Spanish-language films shot in France were especially popular, in the factories of Joinville, or in Hollywood itself. The first Spanish sound film was El misterio de la Puerta del sol (1930) by Francisco Elías; however we can speak of a film industry of sound only from 1932, with the inauguration in Barcelona of the Estudios Orphea, followed, the following year, by the opening in Madrid of the CEA (Cinematografía Española Americana) factories. There were only six films produced in 1932; by 1936, the year in which the civil war began, production had grown to twenty-eight. the following year, with the opening of the CEA (Cinematografía Española Americana) factories in Madrid. There were only six films produced in 1932; by 1936, the year in which the civil war began, production had grown to twenty-eight. the following year, with the opening of the CEA (Cinematografía Española Americana) factories in Madrid. There were only six films produced in 1932; by 1936, the year in which the civil war began, production had grown to twenty-eight.