A Postmodern Exploration of the Screened Dialogue Between Past and Present in “Barcelona (Un Mapa)” And Barcelona As a Dystopia


This proposal highlights the postmodern elements in Barcelona (un mapa). In focus is the screened representation of a sophisticated Barcelona portrayed against the backdrop of a transformative post-Olympic era, and Pons' tendency to steer away from urban gloss. Rather, he highlights the dystopic elements of his native city. The film portrays the darker aspects of urban change in dialogues where ambivalent characters reject the Catalan capital rather than praise it and take pride in their urban existence. Also analysed is the representation of Barcelona as a place that can be mapped and spatially explored and the use of the photo effect to connect the pre-democratic past with the global present. Based on Cunillé’s screenplay Barcelona, mapa d’ombres, the film becomes Barcelona, Map of Shadows in English. The title reflects shadows from the past that linger in a visual narrative mainly steeped in the present. 1990s postmodernity is reflected in pastiche elements and a collage-like structure, where a cinematic montage challenges chronological time patterns. The storyline criss-crosses between past and present through flashbacks from times gone by and an opening scene featuring black and white footage from the moment Franco forces entered Barcelona in 1939. The viewer is then swiftly transported into a colour-tinged present. This non-linear narrative structure underscores the film’s postmodernity, as does the episodic plot containing lengthy dialogues that cover a range of topics. Rather than on external action, Pons explores complex character relationships and the relationship between these characters and their increasingly postmodern habitat.

Author Information
Anna Karin Jytte Holmqvist, Monash University, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: CITY2017
Stream: Media, Film and Communication Studies

This paper is part of the CITY2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon