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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Tom Whittaker - The Spanish quinqui film Delinquency, sound, sensa [Manchester University Press - 2020]

The Spanish quinqui film cycle of the 1970s and 1980s stands as one of the more powerful, provocative, and socially telling of all euro cult genres. It focused on delinquent inner-city crime-the perpetrators' drug-taking & general troubled life- but most surprisingly many of the featuring actors were involved in real-life crime themselves. Between the years 1977 & 1987, there were a total of thirty films released in the quinqui genre- which were both a popular and controversial pull in Spanish cinemas of the time. Here we have a two hundred plus page book focusing on the genre. It’s an academic book, but it’s largely a readable and fascinating affair, which ties together film review/ critique, with social facts and figures, discussion of music from the time, and the background of films actors/directors.

I first become aware of the quinqui genre last year, after watching and reviewing Severin Films' two- blu ray disc set Eloy de la Iglesia’s Quinqui Collection- which collected together three films from the genre by Spanish director Eloy de la Iglesia. Also on the disc was a good selection of extras- included was a forty-four-minute documentary  The Streets: The Quinqui Film Phenomenon- and one of the key contributors to this was Tom Whittaker- an associate professor of film and Spanish cultural studies at Warwick University, and he wrote the book to hand.

The Spanish Quinqui Film- Delinquency, Sound, Sensation is an A5 sized hardback book. It runs two hundred and thirty-three pages- with it being a blend of dense, though interesting texts, and a few black & stills/ film-related fare dotted throughout the book. This being an academic book, it is more pricy than similar-sized tomes- though I’d say if like me you have an interest in the genre, this is most certainly of great, great worth- as it’s the only English book on the subject, and it's a compelling/ passionately written tome.

After a twenty-three-page introduction outlining the genre in general, the books’ themes, and what Dr Whittaker wanted to accomplish with the book. We have five chapters- each of these runs between twenty plus, and forty-plus pages. His writing is dense, yet never dry and stuffy- remaining largely passionate and informative throughout. The texts blend together critic/ analysis of selected key films in the genre, their background & those who made/ started in the film- as well as their sometimes troubling, at times tragic lives. We get details about the genre's popularity during the two decades when they were been made, and their impact in general facts and figures, which highlight the serious delinquent crime issues during the ’70s/ 80’s Spain- for example shockingly car crime was been committed by pre-teens, who bricks tied to their feet so as to reach the pedals. We also get a discussion of how music and sound in general of the period tied in & connected with the quinqui. News stories, and  much more.

If your interest in Quinqui was wetted by Severin’s Eloy de la Iglesia’s Quinqui Collection, or if you have a general interest in this most provocative and socially impacted exploitation genre, then The Spanish Quinqui Film- Delinquency, Sound, Sensation really is a must buy!. To purchase it directly from the publisher, drop by here

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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