Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)


Global Honors

First Advisor

Loly Alcaide Ramirez


This thesis explores the representation of gender violence within post-Franco Spanish film, and how it is indicative of changing attitudes of Spanish society toward the issue since the death of dictator, Francisco Franco. This paper provides a succinct history of gender violence and gender roles within Spanish culture, which were heavily influenced by the Catholic Church and Franco’s dictatorship, which lasted from 1939-1975. During his regime, women were confined to the domestic sphere and often mistreated by their husbands, without any laws or shelters to protect them. Franco maintained a strict censorship on films, in which gender violence was not portrayed in films. Since the death of Franco, there has been a vast amount of social change as Spain has transitioned out of its dictatorship. Within this transition, cinema has played an important role in adapting and implementing new gender role ideologies. Free from the strict Francoist censorship laws, Spanish film directors are now using cinematic art to denounce domestic violence by bringing more awareness to the situation and by empowering women to leave their abusive partners. Through character and mise-en-scène analyses paired with feminist theories by Andrea O’Reilly, Adrienne Rich and Laura Mulvey, this paper explores the empowerment of domestically abused women in three post-Franco films- Benito Zambrano’s Solas, Javier Balaguer’s Sólo mia, and Iciar Bollaín’s Te doy mis ojos- and argue that Spanish cinema’s shift away from patriarchal traditions in the post-Franco era is indicative of the nation’s increasing awareness and condemnation of domestic violence within Spain.