Negotiating National Identity in Recent Irish-Iberian Co-productions
Trinity College Dublin
(at time of presentation)
Jennie Rothwell is a PhD candidate in the Department of Hispanic Studies, Trinity College Dublin where she is researching English-language cinema by Spanish women directors. Publications include an article in the Journal of Catalan Studies and a chapter on Isabel Coixet in (Re)viewing Creative, Critical and Commercial Practices in Contemporary Spanish Cinema (Intellect, forthcoming 2014). Jennie also works as a literary translator. Jennie’s research interests include film authorship, adaptation, stardom, performance and translation.
Veteran Spanish filmmaker José Luis Borau argued that co-productions are an invented category, noting that a film’s finances can come from different national sources, while the artistic elements cannot. In contrast, this paper will try to reveal the textual and industrial positives that result from co-production, and explore any that are particular to the Irish/Iberian relationship in two recent releases. The Food Guide to Love (Dominic Harari and Teresa de Pelegrí, 2012) is set in a recession-free contemporary Dublin, while Menú degustació/Tasting Menu (Roger Gual, 2013) takes place in a famous Catalonian restaurant, with food, eating and pleasure as central to both plots and to each film’s expression of the national.
On a textual level, national or regional identity will be discussed in relation to food, locations and the nationalities identified in each film. I will examine the casting of established stars familiar to both audiences such as Stephen Rea and Fionnuala Flanagan (Menú degustació), and performers known on their home turf like Leonor Watling or Simon Delaney (The Food Guide to Love), and assess how this presence impacts on the perception of national identity within each production. This paper will explore whether these co-productions were a marriage of convenience or if they can offer any new interpretations of Irish, Iberian or European identities.