Bored to Distraction

Cinema of Excess in End-of-the-Century Mexico and Spain

By Claudia Schaefer

Subjects: Spanish Studies
Series: SUNY series in Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture
Paperback : 9780791458884, 211 pages, October 2003
Hardcover : 9780791458877, 211 pages, October 2003

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations


1. At the Millennium: Boredom Theory and Middle-Class Desires

2. Jaime Humberto Hermosillo's La tarea: Not Your Average Afterschool Special

3. How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Danzón and the Myth of Getting Away from It All

4. Amores perros: Throwing Politics to the Dogs

5. Still Just a Dress Rehearsal?: From Archibaldo de la Cruz to Penélope Cruz

6. The Demonic Side of Modernity: Waiting for Satan at the Movies

7. A Few Last Words: Waiting in the Anteroom of the Twenty-First Century


Works Cited


Examines how recent Mexican and Spanish films act as untroubling distractions from everyday routines.


Popular culture in the 1990s, especially cinema, can be considered a showcase for the accumulated hopes and fears of the twentieth century. From the promise of material goods to the profusion of despair, from devastating tragedy to exaggerated rapture, a dizzying array of images assaults the eye. Drawing on recent films from Mexico and Spain, Bored to Distraction navigates this visual terrain, from melodrama to horror, looking for what, if anything, might be excessive enough to rouse us from our comfortable everyday routines.

Claudia Schaefer is Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature at the University of Rochester and the author of Danger Zones: Homosexuality, National Identity, and Mexican Culture and Textured Lives: Women, Art, and Representation in Modern Mexico.