Barefoot in the Kitchen (Con la Pata Quebrada) 2014
Distributed by Pragda, 302 Bedford Ave., #136, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Directed by Diego Galán
DVD , color, 88 min.
Acting, European History, Feminism, Films, Interpersonal Relations, Popular Culture, Women’s History
Date Entered: 11/05/2015Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA
If cinema is a reflection of a culture’s ideals, customs, and stories, then the ways that women are portrayed in film are also fairly accurate mirrors of those views. By way of example, early in this fast-paced documentary, a stylish man ponders the purpose of women in Spanish society. He concludes that marriage is their lot and destiny and only as objects, barefoot in the kitchen, tied to a stove, do women have a use. In reviewing more than 80 years of Spanish cinema, author, director and film critic Galán argues that this perspective, though biased, sexist and misogynist, also closely replicates how Spanish society has viewed women during the past century.
Narrated with light humor by actor Carlos Hipólito, the film features clips from nearly 200 Spanish-language films, spanning the period from 1931-2010. Whether a bad girl object of desire, a devoted wife and mother, or a virginal spinster/nun, this portrayal has largely been two-dimensional. Although the filmmaker implies that this view is gradually changing to reflect a changing Spain, evidence to the contrary is not presented. Similarly, how Spanish cinema and society have treated women is not placed in comparison, contrast or context to other countries. The result reduces a serious topic to superficialities. Because many audiences may know little about Spanish history or cinema, the film is recommended for film and women’s studies undergraduates with the proviso that the intent is to entertain rather than inform, argue, or advocate.