El sexto sentido (The Sixth Sense), 1929

Making Sense of El sexto sentido: The Significance of Nemesio Sobrevila's Film in the Present Day

Lecture by Izaskun Indacoechea
Thursday, November 17, 2011 - 4:30pm

Lecture presented by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

Basque architect, artist and filmmaker Nemesio M. Sobrevila shot two silent feature films in the 1920s, started a sound feature with Buñuel and made three documentaries, two while he was living in France as a refugee.

In El sexto sentido (The Sixth Sense, 1929), an urban comedy that mixes traditional elements of Spanish culture like bullfighting, with more modern ones such as Charleston dancing, cabaret music and cinema itself, Sobrevila’s work takes a surprising avant-garde turn. Using clips from the film, Izaskun Indacoechea will argue that it is a key work of the Spanish avant-garde of the late 1920s, despite historians who consider it a commercially-oriented narrative film with an experimental section. Indacoechea positions Sobrevila as a filmmaker who, while making use of the most popular characteristics of the Spanish cinema, simultaneously played with European experimental representational modes. In so doing, he effectively crafted a bridge between Spanish popular cinema and the European avant-garde of the time.

Spanish scholar Izaskun Indacoecheahas worked for several years as a cinema critic and will defend her dissertation, on an aspect of Spanish film history, in December. For the past year, she has been a lecturer in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago.