ABSTRACT

Among the numerous fi lms that have the Spanish Civil War as their theme, a large number feature child protagonists and can be read as coming-of-age narratives. Fred Zinnemann’s Behold a Pale Horse (1964), Fernando Arrabal’s Viva la muerte/Long Live Death (1970), Víctor Erice’s El espíritu de la colmena/ The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), Jaime Chávarri’s Las bicicletas son para el verano/Bicycles Are for the Summer (1984), José Luis Cuerda’s La lengua de las mariposas/The Butterfl y’s Tongue (1999), Imanol Uribe’s El viaje de Carol/ Carol’s Journey (2002), and Guillermo del Toro’s El espinazo del diablo/The Devil’s Backbone (2002) and El laberinto del fauno/Pan’s Labyrinth (2007) all fi t into this group and are examined below.1 Taking up the theme of the Spanish Civil War, they seek to portray the events of the war through the eyes of children and, to paraphrase the tag-line of La lengua de las mariposas, choose to tell tales “about growing up in a country growing apart.” In this chapter I examine how these fi lms demonstrate the process through which their child protagonists are socialized into normative gender roles and, correlatively, how they construct particular narratives of childhood that are then mapped onto particular narratives of the war.