FQ Columnist Paul Julian Smith reports from Mexico on Netflix's redo of the traditional telenovela with its new series, La casa de las flores (House of Flowers). Smith argues that the series is not as innovative or trangressive as it claims to be and in fact, was preceded in many aspects by the cult Mexican independent series Mirada de mujer (A Woman's Look) in the late 1990s. Both series feature a grumpy patriarch, a dissatisfied mother and wife who embarks on an affair (with a much younger man, in the case of Mirada de mujer), and three confused grown children, and both explore taboo topics such as AIDS, abortion, and interracial romance. Smith questions whether the U.S. newcomer, with its glossy production values, will prove to be as enduring as its homegrown predecessor.
Screenings: Netflix's The House of Flowers and the New Telenovela
Paul Julian Smith, a Fellow of the British Academy, is Distinguished Professor in the Program in Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is the author of over twenty books including Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodóvar (Verso, 1994), Dramatized Societies: Quality Television in Spain and Mexico (Liverpool University Press, 2016), Queer Mexico: Cinema and Television since 2000 (Wayne State University Press, 2017), and the new Television Drama in Spain and Latin America: Genre and Format Translation (University of London/Institute of Modern Language Research, 2018). He has served on the juries of the San Sebastián International Film Festival in Spain and the Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico. Follow him on Twitter @pauljuliansmith.
Paul Julian Smith; Screenings: Netflix's The House of Flowers and the New Telenovela. Film Quarterly 1 March 2019; 72 (3): 59–61. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2019.72.3.59
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