Imagined Communities and Gypsy Stereotypes: The Spanish Film "Alma Gitana" by Chus Gutierrez

By Milagros López-Peláez Casellas.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 13, 2014 $US5.00

Since the main narrative strategy in the Spanish film “Alma Gitana” (Chus Gutiérrez, 1995) is the gypsy component and the meeting of minority and hegemonic elements, this film could be read as a multiculturalist attempt at establishing tolerance to difference. However, and contrary to some criticism about the film, this paper argues that gypsy stereotypes are not contested but reinforced in the film. The gypsy identity it depicts is essentialist on the basis of a series of collective characteristics. The flamenco music and dance act as the building tool for a fixed identity and even though, as Stuart Hall asserts, this gives us "a good night’s rest", it also denies the possibility of change or the inclusion of the gypsy in mainstream Spanish culture. Instead the film depicts the gypsies’ identity as fixed and immutable and so serves, in particular, to keep the stereotype of the submissive gypsy woman unaltered.

Keywords: Spanish Gypsies, Stereotypes, Identity, Flamenco, Gypsy Women, Masculine Gaze

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 11, Issue 2, March 2014, pp.27-35. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 13, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 413.121KB)).

Dr. Milagros López-Peláez Casellas

Senior Lecturer, Department of English and Languages, Coventry University, Coventry, Warwickshire, UK

Mila is a Senior Lecturer at Coventry University (UK), and before that she lectured at the University of Leeds (UK). Mila obtained her PhD and MA in Chicano/Latin American Studies with a Minor in Humanities and Film Studies at Arizona State University (USA). She has also taught at Arizona State University (USA) and at Mesa Community College (USA). In 2012 she published her single-authored monograph, What about the girls?: estrategias narrativas de resistencia en la primera literatura chicana, and has articles and book chapters published in national and international peer-reviewed journals.