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Profundidad de campo. Mis historias de cine III

The third volume of a series entitled Mis historias de cine (My Stories of Cinema), in which I try to explain the cinematic works that, in one way or another, have been important in shaping my particular way of relating to cinema. At this point in my career I think it’s fitting to clarify my way of understanding the art of cinematography.

Since the regular reader, if one exists, would have already perceived that for me cinema is constituted by the films that make it up. After all, the real point of intersection between the so-called seventh art and the spectator occurs through them. Which does not mean to say that each film does not in its own way present a series of issues that, while filmic (or, for quicker understanding, aesthetic), are also cinematic (social, in a broad sense). Hence the strategy for approaching the selected films: every cinematic work that merits analysis (and there aren’t as many as certain critics would constantly have us believe) is a unique object that should be studied in its radical individuality. Keeping in mind that this individuality formally shows all kinds of general issues (social, economic, political, cultural and stylistic) which it inscribes and shapes in its own way.

I cannot think of a more rational way to control this multiplicity of levels than to apply a policy of ever-narrowing, interconnected concentric circles to be able to manage it. Or, to express it in a better way, to highlight the aspects that are important for understanding the film in its real dimension. I am certain that this is related to what I call relevant context, insofar as it is indicated directly by the film under study, via a set of instructions inscribed in the stylistic materiality of the work. The reader will find an array of exercises on this idea in every one of the texts in the volume that they are, perhaps, now starting to explore. To the extent that, in the world of artistic works, everything always begins with the end.

Santos Zunzunegui


Third volume of the collection "Historias de Cine" by Santos Zunzunegui that gathers the texts of the lectures given by the professor during the sessions of the film cycle of the same name organized by EQZE and Tabakalera.


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
Edition: Shangrila Textos Aparte, Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola
Pages: 408
ISBN: 978-84-125928-1-8
Year: 2023

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