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The Spanish Prisoner

Yannis Tzioumakis

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Despite more than a passing nod to such crowdpleasing classics as Hitchcock's North by Northwest, playwright-turned-independent filmmaker David Mamet's The Spanish Prisoner is a particularly idiosyncratic film that betrays its origin outside the Hollywood mainstream. Featuring a convoluted narrative, an excessive, often anti- classical, visual style, and belonging to the generic category of the 'con game film' which often challenges the spectator's cognitive skills, The Spanish Prisoner is a film that bridges genre filmmaking with personal visual style, independent film production with niche distribution, and mainstream subject matter with unconventional filmic techniques. This book discusses The Spanish Prisoner as an example of contemporary American independent cinema while also using the film as a vehicle to explore several key ideas in film studies, especially in terms of aesthetics, narrative, style, spectatorship, genre and industry.

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Series Preface
1. From Independent to 'Indie' Cinema
2. David Mamet and 'Indie' Cinema
3. 'Indie' Film at Work: Producing and Distributing 'The Spanish Prisoner'
'That's what you just think you saw!' Narrative and film Style in 'The Spanish Prisoner'
5. Playing with Cinema: The Master of the Con game Film

About the Author

Yannis Tzioumakis is Reader in Film and Media Industries at the University of Liverpool. His research specialises in American independent cinema and the business of media entertainment. His books include American Independent Cinema: An Introduction (EUP, 2006), The Spanish Prisoner (EUP, 2009), and Greek Cinema: Texts, Histories Identities (Intellect, 2011). He is also the co-editor of "American Indies" (EUP), a 6-volume book series that examines key titles from the contemporary US independent film scene.

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