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Imagen sobre imagen. Mis historias de cine I

The book you hold in your hands contains the written version of an oral lesson. The lesson was given at Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola in San Sebastián, during the 2018-2019 academic year. It responds to a proposal that no film academic could refuse: a chance to choose the films that have set the course of my life, and to explore how certain works have influenced the way I relate to film.

What you have before you, then, is a personal offering. The aim is not to provide a normative canon. Nor is it to partake of this entertaining yet ultimately banal game of identifying the so-called best films in the history of cinema. Rather, it is something altogether more intimate - an attempt to talk about how viewing these works (twelve simple films that serve as a sample of the many hundreds I have seen over almost seven decades, of the many many hours spent in the darkness of a movie theatre) has shaped how I ‘experience film’, how I ‘live in film’, and how I ‘live with film’. The aim is to try and explain how these films have insinuated themselves into my very being, shaping the way these windows have opened out for me onto life, how they have moulded how I think about film. Because I truly believe there is no better way to experience film than by thinking about it.

I have therefore been obliged to cast my gaze back towards that original scene that shows a boy holding his mother’s hand as he walks into one of those cosy neighbourhood movie theatres (oh those neighbourhood movie theatres, those Sunday matinees, those never-ending double or triple features!) that were scattered around city in which I was born. Theatres which, through a kind of alchemy the secret workings of which I could scarcely guess at, could turn weekend and holiday mornings and afternoons into the stuff dreams are made of. To quote the famous Michel Mourlet comment that Jean-Luc Godard put into the mouth of André Bazin at the start of Le mépris, ‘cinema replaces our gaze with a world in harmony with our desire’.

Santos Zunzunegui


Shangrila Textos Aparte and Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola have edited Imagen sobre imagen. Mis historias de cine I. This publication gathers the texts of the lectures given by Santos Zunzuneguik during the first part of the cycle "Historias de cine" organized by EQZE and Tabakalera. It is the first volume of a collection of three that will gather the cycle in its entirety.


Emeritus Professor of Audiovisual Communication and Advertising (University of the Basque Country). Semiologist, film analyst and historian.He has been a visiting professor at different universities of Europe, the USA, and South America.

His main books include: Mirar la imagen (1984); El cine el País Vasco (1985); Pensar la imagen (1989); La mirada cercana. Microanálisis fílmico (1996; new revised and expanded edition 2016), Robert Bresson (2001); Historias de España. De qué hablamos cuando hablamos de cine español (new revised and expanded edition, 2018); Metamorfosis de la mirada. Museo y semiótica (2003); Orson Welles (2005); Las cosas de la vida. Lecciones de semiótica estructural (2005); La mirada plural (2008), winner of the “Francisco Ayala” International Essay Prize. In 2013, he published Lo viejo y lo nuevo (Cátedra) which included five years of his work at Caimán. Cuadernos de Cine, a journal where he is a member of its Editorial Board. In November 2014, he was awarded the prize from the Groupe de Recherche et Investigation de l’Image dans le Monde Hispanique (GRIMH), comprising French Hispanists and image scholars. In 2017, his Bajo el signo de la melancolía. Cine, desencanto y aflicción, an ambitious study on the film dimension of that "cultural illness" called melancholy, was published.

Technical data sheet

Author: Santos Zunzunegui
Editor: Shangrila Textos Aparte, Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola
Number of pages: 316
Year: 2020

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