copyright 2008, Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media
Jump Cut
, No. 50, spring 2008

Migrants and lovers:
interculturation in
Flowers from Another World

by Paul A. Schroeder Rodríguez

Flores de otro mundo (Flowers from Another World, dir. Icíar Bollaín, Spain, 1999) tells the story of Santa Eulalia, a small Castilian town that is losing many of its jobs and young people to corporate agriculture and the lure of big cities. The older men of the town, desperate to find mates, organize a three-day celebration for prospective single women from all across Spain. The women arrive in a single bus. About half of them are light-skinned Spanish women, while the other half is made up of younger, darker-skinned women from the Dominican Republic.

During a weekend of dancing, eating and drinking, two couples emerge from this get-together: one between Alfonso (Chete Lera), a plant nursery owner, and Marirrosi (Eleana Irureta), an economically independent Basque nurse from Bilbao (Fig. 1); and another one between Damián (Luis Tosar), a farmer who tends to his land but also sells his labor-power to other landowners, and Patricia (Lissete Mejía), a Dominican mulatto domestic worker with two small children of her own (Fig. 2). A third couple emerges later in the film, between Carmelo (José Sancho), the local building contractor, and Milady (Marilyn Torres), a young, college-educated, and sexually liberated black Cuban woman whom he brings back from one of his trips to the island, not as wife, but as his fiancée (Fig. 3). In the end, only Damián and Patricia work things out through a marriage of convenience that reaffirms patriarchal structures of power, while Marirrosi returns to Bilbao and Milady hitchhikes her way out of rural Spain. In a sort of epilogue, the process begins all over again, when another busload of women arrives into town to be subjected to yet another round of legal and emotional transactions.

Flowers from Another World alternates between the celebration of women's economic and sexual liberation through the respective characters of Marirrosi and Milady, and the reaffirmation of patriarchal values through Patricia's incorporation into a nuclear, extended and ultimately, national family. The film sustains the ensuing tension between liberation and dependence through a combination of melodrama and realism, and in the end, resolves that tension in favor of Patricia’s narrative and the values of patriarchy.

As a family melodrama, the film's narrative structure works towards the restoration of the status quo, in particular through the use of circular time. Indeed, restoration is narratively underscored and foreshadowed by linking the progress of the couples' individual narratives to the seasons of the year: first summer, when the bus arrives; then fall, as the couples settle into an uncertain routine of ups and downs where downs get progressively more pronounced as winter approaches; winter, when all three relationships enter a period of cold tension and/or rupture; spring, a single sequence celebrating Patricia’s incorporation to the closed patriarchal order through her daughter’s baptism; and summer again, when the second bus arrives and the process begins all over again. The melodramatic impulse to restoration, which such circular time frames as natural and inevitable, can be linked, as Peter Brooks has shown, to collective anxieties towards the unknown:

"Melodrama starts from and expresses the anxiety brought by a frightening new world in which the traditional patterns of moral order no longer provide the necessary social glue. It plays out the force of that anxiety […] and dissipates it with the eventual victory of virtue. "(Brooks 1995, 20)

In Flowers, the frightening new world that causes such anxiety for Santa Eulalia is not limited to the fact that Patricia, Marirrosi and Milady bring with them very different experiences, worldviews, and expectations from what is common for men and women in that town, but also to the fact that Patricia and Milady are neither Spanish nor White, and therefore doubly Other. From this perspective, how Santa Eulalia (and by extension, Spain) deals with the anxiety generated by the presence of these double Others may be said to be the film's central narrative concern. In terms of cinematic style, on the other hand, the film’s use of realism (achieved through techniques such as continuity editing, natural lighting, and non-stylized acting and gestures) complements the melodramatic impulse to restoration by creating the illusion that what happens is not one of many possible realities, but reality itself. The two main effects of this combination of realism and a circular narrative structure is that audiences are not encouraged to imagine alternative outcomes, and that the outcomes that are presented seem as natural and inevitable as the passage of the seasons.

The complimentary relation between melodrama and realism, so central to this film, was at the heart of a prolonged debate throughout the 1980s over whether realist melodramas were subversive of, or complicit with, patriarchy. In a piece that summarizes many of the positions in this debate, E. Ann Kaplan identified three categories of “melodramatic/realist mainstream texts”:

Flowers from Another World lies somewhere between the first two of these categories. Insofar as Patricia never resists or questions patriarchal structures, Flowers belongs to the first category of films identified by Kaplan, those that are complicit with patriarchy. On the other hand, the fact that Milady and Marirrosi resist and ultimately reject that order suggests that Flowers also belongs to the second category identified by Kaplan, where women’s inferior positioning within patriarchy is exposed but not consciously criticized, and where the patriarchally constructed feminine is still valorized as the desirable standard (Kaplan 1986, 51-52).

The next two sections of this essay are organized around these two divergent readings. In the section “Transatlantic Dreams,” I explore how the film is complicit with patriarchy. First, I situate the film’s fictional narrative of migration within the concrete history of recent migrations from Latin America to Spain, and then I focus on how Patricia’s integration into Spanish culture reproduces the patriarchal and colonial categories of gender and race linked to that history. This section is followed by another, “Peninsular Nightmares,” where I focus on how the film exposes struggles within the status quo through the way it depicts embodied repression against women, and especially women of color, even as it valorizes them for embodying the patriarchally constructed feminine. (Kaplan 1986, 52) Finally, in the conclusions, I will situate the film’s mis-representation of women of color within a history of such mis-representations in the Hispanic tradition, and within the context of other Spanish films on migration.

Transatlantic dreams

From a strictly synchronic perspective, the presence of Caribbean women of color in Flowers from Another World is tied, like the out-migration from Santa Eulalia, to the logic of corporate globalization, one of whose salient features is the mass movement of peoples. During the last fifteen years, for example, the number of migrants from poorer countries to richer ones more than tripled – from an estimated 30 million in 1990 to more than 75 million in 1997 and to over 115 million by 2005.[1][open notes in new window] These migrations are directly linked to labor routes created by the logic of capital-intensive economies that now depend on a large supply of a cheap, mostly undocumented labor force to sustain their agricultural, manufacturing and service sectors.

At the same time, however, these migrations are inextricably linked to the legacy of unequal commercial and cultural ties that past European and Euro-American colonizations have left in their wake. In most cases, that is, mass migrations will remit us to specific national-imperial colonizations in the distant and not-so-distant past. Because of this legacy, the representation of Caribbean women of color in the film remits the viewer to the history of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and the slave trade that sustained it, as much as to a history that is still being written today: that of Spanish neocolonization of Latin America.

In the 1990s, to be more exact, foreign direct investment by Spanish transnationals in Latin America jumped from 35 billion pesetas in 1990, to over 150 billion pesetas by 1998. Most of this capital came not directly from Spain, but by way of mutual funds in the United States. The reason for this peculiar flow of capital is that a critical mass of managers of mutual funds in the United States decided in the early 1990s that Spanish transnationals, because of their cultural links with Latin America, were more effective exploiters of Latin American resources and markets than U.S. transnationals. Hence the phenomenon, throughout the 1990s, of entities such as Banco Santander Central Hispano, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya and even Telefónica de España gobbling up their newly privatized counterparts in Latin America, often through highly publicized deals characterized by corruption and bribery.

One direct consequence of this influx of "Spanish" capital to Latin America has been the displacement of workers in Latin America and the corresponding increase in the number of migrants from Latin American countries to Spain, from roughly 60,000 in 1990, to about 150,000 in 1999, and to over 225,000 in 2006.[2] In short, Spanish capital has chosen Latin America as a privileged site of investment because of the cultural and economic ties already in place as a result of three centuries of previous colonization. At the same time, Latin Americans are increasingly migrating to Spain because their cultural and economic ties to Spain make them an ideal labor pool from which Spain can draw, and in fact does draw, in its ongoing transformation into a capital-intensive, service-oriented economy that now depends on the ready availability of cheap labor.[3]

Many viewers will note the irony that in the birthplace of modern racism, where the notion of pureza de sangre (purity of blood) was institutionalized five centuries ago, that in that very country, where birthrates and marriages are plummeting, the mixed blood marriage between Damián and Patricia represents the future of the nation, insofar as it makes possible the town's reproduction and continuity. In this regard, the film functions as a palliative to the growing xenophobia and racism that has recently plagued Spain, as the country becomes an immigrant receiving nation for the first time since the Conquest of the Americas.

One particular character in the film, Damián's mother, shows how much can be gained by giving up on acculturating the Other. When Damián and Patricia get married, Damián brings her to live to the same house he had been living in with his mother. The domestic scenes get progressively worse as the mother clings to her monoculturalism and tries to mold Patricia into a culturally Spanish wife. First it's Patricia's food that's not up to the mother's acculturating standards. Then the mother announces that Milady, the young woman from Cuba, is no longer welcome in the house. And when Patricia's relatives visit from Madrid, the mother interrupts their get-together, claiming that Patricia didn't let her know of the visit in advance, when in fact Patricia had told her more than once.

In keeping with the melodramatic formula that there be “violent and overt changes of emotional attitudes” (Bordwell 1985, 71), the conflict between Patricia and her mother-in-law is suddenly resolved as the two are tending the grave of the mother's dead husband. Patricia, noticing how much the mother misses her deceased husband, asks her tenderly if she loved him. The mother answers that he was a good man and always treated her well. Patricia then says, "Like Damián," and here the mother finally realizes that they have much more in common than just Damián. The resulting shift in consciousness, whereby the mother sees Patricia as an extension of her Self – that is, as a struggling woman, and as a woman who loves Damián as she once loved her own husband – ends up saving the family's structure. Throughout these and other conflicts, the film’s redundant communication of Patricia’s emotions serves to “wring every emotional drop” (Bordwell 1985, 71) out of the character and our identification with her situation. The result is that we, as spectators, become much more heavily invested in her outcome than in the outcomes of Marirrosi, Milady, or their partners, whose emotions, motivations and situations are never explored to such depths, and whose situations, as we will see, are regularly made light of by the use of comic or excessively melodramatic narrative turns.

Peninsular nightmares

Patricia's bumpy road to integration ends with all sides gaining something. Patricia finds a stable home for her two kids, a husband who loves her and whom she loves, and acceptance into the larger community. Damián, on the other hand, finds a hard-working wife who helps both outside and inside the house, and who brings pleasure and even joy to an otherwise monotonous existence. Finally, the mother gains two grandchildren who love her, plus a respectful daughter-in-law who will very likely be the one who looks after her when she gets older and less able to fend for herself. This reading of the film privileges the point of view of the receptive community, while simultaneously showing a tolerant and open Spain that gains from the process of interculturation, or the dynamics of exchange between two or more cultures (in this case between immigrant and receiving communities). However, the film’s celebration of tolerance and openness, allegorically linked to the geopolitical dream of a transatlantic union between Spain and its former colonies under the aegis of a benevolent Spain, becomes highly qualified, and in fact reveals itself as a series of peninsular nightmares, when we pause to consider the point of view of the immigrants, and more specifically, when we pause to consider the question of how gender, race, and sexuality contribute to a fuller understanding of the dynamics between the female protagonists, their partners, and the town at large.

A gendered reading of the film, for example, reveals first and foremost the fact that the three female protagonists – Marirrosi, Milady and Patricia – are commodities in the eyes of their male suitors. From the very beginning of the film this is made clear: it is the men who invite the women to come to town to conduct what may be considered a commercial transaction, the men who parade them as if they were cows at a country fair, and more importantly, the men who have the power to dispose of them if they don't like the product. The case of Milady is most pronounced in this respect. Carmelo parades her like a sexual object as if she were a trophy from a hunt overseas, and when Milady displays her independence by spending a night dancing in Valencia, he lashes back by beating her in full public view.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Marirrosi, who is economically independent. Yet, even Marirrosi cannot break Alfonso's insistence that it is she who must sacrifice herself by moving in with him. The narrative has Marirrosi at least weigh the option of moving in with Alfonso (again, lack of information here works against the viewer’s greater identification with Marirrosi’s situation), but Alfonso never seriously considers the equally difficult option of moving with her to Bilbao.

Finally, Patricia’s situation vis-à-vis her partner occupies a center position and therefore what may be seen as the virtuous mean between the vices represented by the other two couples. However, even in her relationship with Damián, Patricia is an object that can be disposed of and dispensed with, as in fact Damián does when, upon learning of her marriage in the Dominican Republic, he feels his position as patriarch called into question.

If we consider how race and sexuality enter into the film's narrative, the picture becomes even more complex. That is, if we consider the body as cultural signifier, we can develop a sense of the racial and sexual hierarchies at play in the film. None of the characters, for example, questions the fair-skinned Marirrosi's motives in going out with Alfonso. It is taken for granted that they are in love and trying to make things work out for themselves. This is certainly not the case with either Patricia or Milady, as evidenced by the following comments made by Aurora, the town's bar owner, immediately following Milady's arrival into town:

"Mother of God! That's all we needed!... Let's see how long this one lasts here.... [They're] all looking for the same thing, money and residency papers, and as soon as they have those, they're gone. I have nothing against those people. I'm just saying, to each his own, and everyone in his own home."

Aurora's racism, xenophobia and class prejudices rule out the possibility of a productive female-based solidarity, the sort of solidarity that Damián's mother developed with Patricia after many trials and errors, and the sort of solidarity that progressive feminists struggle to build across racial and class lines. Her character’s attitude is typical of a conservative mindset that has fueled much of the resurgence of Spanish nationalism over the last decade. This resurgence has taken many forms, ranging from the seemingly harmless comments made by the character Aurora, to Spain's harsher immigration and deportation laws, to, in the worst of cases, the lynching of immigrants and the destruction of their homes, as occurred in the Spanish town of El Ejido in February 2000.[4]

Aurora’s attitude, however, is nuanced by the film’s handling of the ideology of miscegenation. If we read bodies as cultural signifiers, that is, we realize that the fact that Patricia is mulatta, as opposed to black, signals a higher likelihood of her integration. Integration is a loaded yet ambiguous term used widely in Spain today. Ideologically, it fits somewhere between the kind of monoculturalism linked to policies of acculturation, Melville Herskovits’ term used to prescribe the assimilation of minority cultures into the U.S. mainstream (Herskovits, 1938), and the kind of multiculturalism linked to policies of coexistence, Américo Castro’s term used to describe conflictive yet nonviolent group relations between discrete populations of Muslims, Christians and Jews in Medieval Spain (Castro 1983). More concretely, to speak of integration in the context of contemporary Spain is to speak of the immigrant subject’s occupying an existing space within the structure of the host culture, without transforming the structure of the host culture, but without abandoning the immigrant’s original culture either.

For example, one of the main reasons why Patricia is poised to succeed at integration is because of her Catholicism. When her daughter has her first communion, her Spanish family, her Dominican family and the whole town come together in a communal act of initiation made possible by a shared patriarchal structure born of the evangelization that accompanied the Conquest and subsequent colonization of the Americas. It is this legacy of forced conversion that gives Patricia entry to the mainstream community and “saves” her children from an otherwise uncertain future. In short, because Patricia is a good Catholic mother, she gains the right to stay there as an active member of the community, and the community also gains in its ability to reproduce itself culturally, if not racially. Finally, Patricia's integration into the larger community is aided by the fact that as a good Catholic mother, her sexuality is seen as properly domesticated. All these narrative developments come together visually in the baptism sequence, for example through the frontal close up of a smiling yet static Patricia, hair pulled back, inside the church, and again afterwards, through a freeze-frame of a family-album photograph that connotes domestic bliss for Patricia as much as the triumph of the patriarchal family structure.

In contrast, Milady's sexuality is depicted as uncontrolled and therefore dangerous. In effect, the film reproduces the stereotypical view of race intersecting with sexuality, whereby the darker a person's skin, the greater that person's sexual prowess. At one extreme is Milady's sexuality, which is presented directly and graphically, as when she gets on top of Carmelo and literally makes love to him without even taking his or her clothes off. Patricia's sexuality, which corresponds to the middle ground between "black" and "white" sexualities, is shown directly but under the covers of the matrimonial bed. And finally, at the other end of the race/sexuality spectrum, Marirrosi's sexuality is always suggested, as when she and Alfonso fall on the floor and out of the camera's view to make love.

This last lovemaking sequence is important in another way, in that it includes — in dialogue form and inside Alfonso’s nursery — the film’s guiding metaphor of female immigrants as exotic and delicate, and therefore in need of protection:

Alfonso: Look.
Marirrosi: What are they?
Alfonso: Orchids.
Marirrosi:  How lovely!
Alfonso: We’ll see, it’s the first time I’ve planted them.
Marirrosi: Where are they from?
Alfonso: They’re African.
Marirrosi: You think they’ll grow here?
Alfonso: With care, everything grows.

The reference to Milady and Patricia is crystal clear: like the orchids in Alfonso’s nursery, Milady and Patricia are exotic flowers in an inhospitable environment, and the only way for them to survive, let alone grow and flourish, is for the patriarch on whom they depend to keep them housed and tended. A reading of this exchange against the grain could point out that just as the greenhouse is made of glass and therefore easily breakable, so too, metaphorically speaking, is the patriarchy that is to protect Milady and Patricia by domesticating them. However, even this reading would lead us to conclude that without such patriarchy and the domestic sphere within which it encloses women, Milady and Patricia could never grow and flourish in Spain. Moreover, and this is perhaps more important than the merits or limits of the double metaphor orchids:immigrants :: greenhouse:patriarchy, what this exchange reveals is that from the perspective of the only Spanish-Spanish couple in the narrative, the couple that represents the country’s mainstream culture, all dark-skinned subjects can be lumped into one reductive category, that of the exotic Other, and therefore that of an object — of desire, yes, but from there also, and all too easily, of violence.

In effect, beyond reproducing the stereotypical view of race intersecting with sexuality, the film also reproduces a stereotypical view of race intersecting with violence. When Alfonso and Marirrosi end their relationship, for example, there is no violence. On the other hand, when Damián orders Patricia to take her children and leave, not only does he yell at her, but he also yells at their daughter Janai and even pushes her off the tractor. Finally, Milady suffers the most violence, as is clear from the scene where Carmelo beats her up. That Carmelo is never punished for this act of violence indicates that all of Santa Eulalia, including by now Patricia, is complicit with the patriarchal structures of class, gender, race and sexuality — which combine to justify collective silence and inaction in the face of a crime witnessed, directly or indirectly, by all. Moreover, by treating Milady in broadly comic terms, the film first allows for her transgressiveness, but then it encourages audiences not to take the punishments imposed in response to those transgressions, or the uncertainty of her final situation, too seriously.

Milady’s objectification serves the narrative purpose of developing Carmelo’s character. His physical abuse, his locking her up, and his prohibition against her continuing to work at the local bar, all stem from the perception that his own masculinity, once confirmed and strengthened by her sexuality, is now being threatened by the fact that he cannot control her. This motivates Carmelo, a man who never before mentioned children, to suddenly suggest to Milady that they have some children of their own. At this suggestion, Milday's face and body language lets the viewer know that neither force nor persuasion will make her accept Carmelo’s continuing attempts to domesticate her into his patriarchal world. The next morning she hitches a ride out of town with Carmelo's assistant, who mistakenly assumes that she is leaving Carmelo for him. Milady realizes that she's fallen into the same kind of trap (the assistant's German shepherd signals that he too may turn violent), and she promptly escapes again.

All these twists and turns are part and parcel of melodrama, as is the presentation of these twists and turns within a narrative structure of parallel plotting. Given these two conventions of melodrama, the fact that the viewer does not know what happens to Milady’s character is a signal not to think about it and instead direct one’s attention to another line of action. (Bordwell 1985, 71) In this case, we are first directed to think of Marirrosi, whose relationship with Alfonso ends quite melodramatically at the town’s bus station, and then to pause on Patricia, who is shown celebrating her daughter’s first communion with a slightly visible belly. In other words, the successive de-centering of Milady’s and Marirrosi’s narratives works towards the centering and privileging of Patricia’s narrative trajectory, the only trajectory, the film makes clear, that is both productive and reproductive.


Flowers from Another World belongs to a growing number of independent films worldwide that dramatize South-to-North migrations.[5] In Spain, which that has only recently become an immigrant-receiving nation for the first time in over five centuries, somewhere in the order of thirty such independent films have been produced since 1990. Foremost among these fictions are

More recently, documentarists have taken the lead in highlighting the immigrant experience in Spain, with works such as

Documentaries aside, what unites these films is that they represent the process of interculturation as a problem that is solved through the immigrant's narrative death, deportation, or assimilation into mainstream Spanish culture. In Flowers from Another World, the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful of this group of narrative fictions, interculturation is presented as a complex dynamic that is transforming both the receiving and the immigrant communities as they become increasingly dependent on each other. Yet like the other films in the group, it is ambivalent in its characterization of immigrant others, and it ends up reproducing an ideology of exclusion.

In the fictional world created by the film, only the ideology of the patriarchal family can trump race, as when the affirmation of the family overcomes racial prejudice in Patricia’s favor. This is the narrative’s strength and its Achilles heel, for while it is true that Santa Eulalia accepts Patricia, a racial Other, as one of its own, it does so only after it is patently clear that she will reproduce its conservative patriarchal structure. From the perspective of narrative form, we could paraphrase this by saying that, while it is within character, in a family melodrama, for a mother like Patricia to sacrifice herself for the future of her children, and we as spectators of that melodrama find it next to impossible to fault her character on this point, the discourse of sacrifice and subsequent reward is here inexorably linked to a patriarchal and colonialist ideology, rather than to an ideology of sexual liberation and economic equality represented, respectively, by Milady and Marirrosi.

Icíar Bollaín, the director, and co-sciptwriter with Julio Llamazares, of Flowers from Another World, has impeccable credentials as a progressive artist and director. She began her filmic career as an actor in El sur (The South, dir. Víctor Erice, 1983), and in 1995 managed to both act in Land and Freedom (dir. Ken Loach, 1995), and direct her first feature, the critically acclaimed Hola, ¿estás sola? (Hello, Are You Alone?). This was followed four years later by Flowers from Another World, winner of the Critic's Award for best feature at Cannes in 1999, and Best Film at the 1999 International Film Festival in Bogotá, Colombia; by work as co-scriptwriter in Poniente, and more recently, by a return to directing in Te doy mis ojos (Take My Eyes, 2003), about a woman’s struggle to break free from domestic violence. A powerful indictment of machismo and nationalism at the time when domestic violence made headlines almost daily in Spain, the film earned seven Goyas, Spain’s version of the Oscars, for best film, director, actor, actress, supporting actress, original script, and sound. Given this background, my critique of the film may seem harsh and even off the mark, especially considering that internal to the narrative, there are many critiques to conservative ideology.

Yet ultimately, even taking these internal critiques into account, and in spite of the director’s credentials, the film fails to transcend the ideological limits of a kind of patriarchy that is inseparable from a nationalism built on 500 years of exclusion and exploitation. In this sense, Flowers from Another World very clearly reveals the inseparability of current interculturation within the metropolis from past and ongoing colonialism. The film, for example, reproduces racial and sexual categories of Spain’s colonial past, even though Spain lost its last colonies in the Americas over a hundred years ago. Some of these categories include the figure of the mulatta (Patricia) as successful mediator between an African Other and a Self defined as European, the figure of the runaway slave (Milady) as independent and uncompromising, and the figure of the deadbeat Black man (Patricia's husband) as a burden and impediment to economic development. We could also take a more allegorical approach to the characters, by following Fernández Retamar’s reading of Latin America in his 1971 essay “Calibán: Notes Toward a Discussion of Culture in Our America.” That is, we could read Milady as a gendered and racialized embodiment of the rebellious Caliban, Patricia as a gendered and racialized embodiment of the subservient Ariel, and Damián and Carmelo as willing Prosperos of their respective "isles."

These categories and metaphors are, like the patriarchy they reflect, ultimately prescriptive, and therefore limiting. As identities, moreover, they smack of essentialism, a central feature of patriarchal cognitive structures and of mainstream cinema. If, on the other hand, we emphasize the temporal and spatial contexts within which these identities emerge, it becomes very clear that these and other identities are not immutable but rather position-dependent, and that they change in response to historically specific circumstances. In Flowers from Another World, the emphasis is clearly not on transformation but on the reproduction of the status quo through the conventions and patterns of a patriarchal drama that privileges the integration of Patricia into Spain’s patriarchal culture over the exclusion of both Milady and Marirrosi from that enclosed narrative space. Central to this conventionalism is the creation of male — and to a lesser extent, female — characters whose essentialist epistemology privileges confrontational over relational strategies, thus sabotaging repeated attempts on the part of the female characters to radically transform their interpersonal and intercultural relations. In this sense, Patricia, Milady and even Marirrosi represent, quite literally, flowers from an Other world in a patriarchal, capitalist and colonialist Self-ordering that stunts the development and sustenance of relational Selves.


I am grateful to the editors of Jump Cut for their constructive comments on several drafts of this essay, and to the University Research Council at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, for a generous grant to travel to Spain to research the representation of migrants in film.

1. Some of these films that have garnered international acclaim include

2. The figure of 30 million is taken from Purcell, J.N. (1991); the figure of 75 million in 1997 comes from Stalker, P. (2001); and the figure of 115 million comes from a 2005 Report by the Global Commission on International Migration (GCIM), titled Migration in an interconnected world: New directions for action, http://www.gcim.org/en/finalreport.html (Accessed August 24, 2007).

3. The investment figures come from the 1999 International Direct Investment Statistics Yearbook, published by the OECD. The migrant figures come from Spain's Instituto Nacional de Estadística, at www.ine.es/daco/daco42/migracion/exrexpn.htm (12 February 2001) and http://www.ine.es/daco/daco42/migracion/evr2006.pdf (4 September 2007).

4. Historically, Spain has been an exporter of cheap labor power, most recently to northern Europe. However, after the end of the Franco era that began to change rapidly, and today Spain is a net importer of cheap human labor power.

5. Bill Myers (2000) described the incident as follows:

"The four-day rampage, in which rioters attacked North African immigrants with baseball bats and steel bars and staged pitched battles with the police, caused injuries to at least 52 people and led to 23 arrests. It also left Moroccan shops and bars vandalized and homes and cars burned in an area where immigrants provide much of the labor for the region's fruit and vegetable production."

Works cited

Bollaín, Icíar. Perf. El sur. Dir. Víctor Erice. Prod. Elías Querejeta. 1983.

–. Dir. Hola, ¿estás sola? Prod. Santiago García de Leániz and Fernando Colombo. 1995.

–. Perf. Land and Freedom. Dir. Ken Loach. Prod. Rebecca O’Brien. 1995.

–. Dir. Flores de otro mundo. Prod. Iguana-Alta. 1999.

–. Dir. Te doy mis ojos. Prod. Iguana-Alta. 2003.

Bordwell, David. Narration in the Fiction Film. Madison: U Wisconsin P, 1985.

Brooks, Peter. The Melodramatic Imagination. 1976. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale UP, 1995.

Castro, Américo. España en su historia: cristianos, moros y judíos. 1948. Crítica: Barcelona, 1983.

Herskovits, Melville J. Acculturation: The Study of Culture Contacts. New York:  J.J. Augustins, 1938.

Kaplan, E. Ann, “E. Ann Kaplan Replies,” Cinema Journal. 25.4 (Summer 1986): 49-53.

Purcell, J.N. "Opening Address by the Director General of the International  Organization for Migration." International Migration. 29.2 (1991): 160.

Fernández Retamar, Fernando. Todo Calibán. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Ediciones Callejón, 2003.

Myers, Bill. “’Moors out of here’: A stabbing ignites an anti-immigrant backlash." U.S. News & World Report. 21 Feb. 2000: 37.

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