Students studying in the Hamilton College Academic Year in Spain (HCAYS) had the opportunity to engage in discussion with Spanish political scientist and former Vice President Pablo Iglesias Turrión in November.
Iglesias began his political career as a member of the European Parliament in 2015 before representing Madrid for five years as a member of the Spanish Congress of Deputies. He served as vice president of the Spanish government and as minister of social rights (2020-21) under President Pedro Sanchez. Iglesias is also well known for his role in founding Podemos, a leading left-wing political party. Currently, he is a professor at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.
Iglesias’ discussion with the HCAYS students and faculty focused on the role of film in the representation of the Spanish Civil War. Having written about the topic in his book Maquiavelo frente a la gran pantalla (2013), Iglesias is well versed in both the cinematic representation and the sociopolitical ramifications of the conflict.
Iglesias began by contextualizing the conflict through the social trauma that still presides in Spanish culture today. He explained how the lack of a concrete political consensus during the period of Spanish democratization created an environment in which the war and the subsequent political transition is not openly discussed in Spanish society.
Through a focus on three films, La Vaquilla , Tierra y Libertad, and Soldados de Salomina, Iglesias explained how these examples attempt to depoliticize the topic from an unbiased perspective. He also touched upon other themes such as the price of liberty, the differences between political film in Spain and the United States, and the immense importance of film on cultural formation and historical memory.
Iglesias then opened up the discussion to questions, where topics ranged from his opinion on the failures and successes of the political transition to the students’ own preferences in Spanish cinema and television.