Carmen Borca-Carrillo '20

Carmen Borca-Carrillo

Major: Communications Journalism Film and TV
Bio: Carmen grew up in Westbrook, CT before moving to New York City to pursue her studies. Her mother is Spanish, and frequent visits to Spain piqued her interest in the country’s recent and complex history. She’s studying film, and hopes to translate her studies in production in narrative to the study of this country’s cultural shifts in the 1960s.

Title of Research: Convincing Spanish-ness: The Folklorico on Film
Mentor: Professor Carey Kasten
Abstract: “Spain is different.” The posters for this popular 1960s tourism campaign depict a national identity at odds with itself: some portray women dressed in ruffled flamenco costumes, Andalusian señoritos and solemn matadors, the imposing robes of Holy Week; at the same time, others display sunny beaches, women smiling in bikinis, and the stylized block coloring and mod script reminiscent of American ads of the same era. The slogan functioned as a double entendre, signifying at once the country’s cultural distance from and its desire to be part of “Westernized” Europe. Indeed, the 1960s marked a significant time of change for the country. Halfway through dictator Francisco Franco’s reign, these years encapsulated one of the greatest shifts in popular culture of the mid-20th century: the shift from a conservative, Catholic country to a tourist destination “Westernizing” around traditional folkloric images—images that simultaneously attracted tourists and repelled notions of Western acceptance. During this time of social upheaval, Spanish film developed quickly as a method of creatively portraying the moment’s social ills. Coming out of its use as a propagandistic tool in the 1940s, film was incrementally liberated in such a way to reflect the conflicting images of “Spanish-ness” perpetuated by country and society alike. During this era, film recorded the way Spaniards saw themselves by portraying the projected “typical Spanish” folklorico alongside the truly typical Spanish— a country in a time of national identity and social, political, and economic change.