jueves, 18 de septiembre de 2014

The Thriller Genre in Amenabar's Thesis

As Barry Jordan and Ricky Morgan argue in their book Contemporary Spanish Cinema, genres operate as systems of “orientations and conventions which circulate between the film industry, the film text and the spectators assumptions and expectations.” (1998:62) To discuss some topics in Alejandro Amenabar’s Thesis, I will like to add to the previous idea, the influx of Film Studies.

With Thesis, writer-director Amenabar wanted to insert himself into the thriller genre and create a film text within those codifications. All the necessary thriller elements are consciously present in his film: the irruption of a crime mystery, female victims, (an informal) duo of detectives, Angela and Chema, instances of murder and kidnaping, sexual anxieties, marginal urban settings and claustrophobic interiors (97), but also the pace of the mise en scene, the camerawork and the soundtrack appropriates the conventions and meet the spectators’ expectations of the genre.

The originality of Amenabar’s proposal isn’t only that the film takes place mostly in a communication/audiovisual department (a less probable setting before the 1980’s), but that the detection of the crime -a “snuff movie” circuit- the investigation and the eventual resolution are articulate through the cinematic insight that the characters have because of their film education. The analysis of shots, editing and the important clue of the camera used to shoot the snuff movie are instrumental to solve the mystery and to discover the identities of the implicated.

Even the casting choice of having iconic actress, Ana Torrent, in the lead is referential to Spain’s film history in specific to ominous masterpiece: Erice’s El espíritu de la Colmena (1973) and Saura’s Cría Cuervos (1975), in some aspects precursors of the psychological thriller in the country.

.Jordan, Barry, and Ricky Morgan. Contemporary Spanish Cinema (1998)

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