Screening sensuality and violence in La novia (2015) de Paula Ortiz

Film director Paula Ortiz in her second film La novia (2015) undertook the task of contemporizing cinematically one of Spain’s most recognized works of 20th century theater, Federico García Lorca’s Bodas de sangre, via a high-quality production that simultaneously relies on previous filmic adaptations and contributes original extratextual elements. As in Carlos Saura’s 1981 cinematic representation of Antonio Gades’ flamenco ballet, La novia relies on music, dramatic movements and gestures, and material objects as signifiers of Lorquian symbolic expression. Through the use of contemporary cinematography and interpretations of traditional Spanish wedding songs, lullabies, and folk music, Lorca’s vision is completely reimagined through the director’s lens. Ortiz freely expands on the play’s sensual and violent character, through the addition of scenes and settings that were never a part of the author’s creation. The production, however, maintains Lorca’s fatalistic and tragic tone by showing us the film’s ending at the beginning and through the use of material signifiers that foretell the outcome. Through the use of polyvalent symbols, most importantly that of ‘blood’, the characters are bound by external forces found in nature, have no control over their passions, and they are doomed to suffer the same misfortunes of their family members (blood line), which will result in violent death. Lorca’s text merely evokes the scenes of violence and sensuality through the use of traditional lyric: a cradle song, a wedding song, and a funeral dirge. La novia reinterprets Lorquian symbols and songs while elaborating on the playwright’s original vision. 


  • Spanish Peninsular Studies