Contemporary Spanish Comedies, "Mirror Films" & European Cinema: Evaluating Ocho Apellidos Vascos/Spanish Affair Articles uri icon

publication date

  • March 2022

start page

  • 711

end page

  • 730


  • 4


  • 39

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1543-5326


  • In recent years, a series of mainstream popular comedies have been produced
    in France, Italy and Spain. These films share a key commonality: they exploit
    regional stereotypes as their fundamental comedic strategy. By taking Ocho
    apellidos vascos (Spanish Affair, Emilio Martínez Lázaro, 2014) and its sequel,
    Ocho apellidos catalanes (Eight Catalan Surnames, Emilio Martínez Lázaro,
    2015) as case studies, this article proposes that Ocho apellidos vascos operates
    as a mirror film of Bienvenue chez les Chtis (Welcome to the North, Dany
    Boon, France, 2008). In the Spanish context, we argue that mirror films
    constitute a distinctive production trend that should be framed within a very
    financially successful European cinematic genre: popular comedy. Mirror
    films are not remakes insofar they do not share intellectual property rights
    with other productions; they are nationally bound, both in terms of production, themes and esthetics, and they are chiefly designed for domestic audiences, not international markets. And yet, they share common grounds with a variety of international productions to construct their comedic hooks. This allows us to scrutinize how these productions are calling into question traditional conceptualizations of popular European cinema, since they have become a very successful trend within different European countries; mirror film, consequently, problematize the widespread notion that popular comedies do not travel well abroad due to the culturally specific references that render them inexportable.


  • spanish cinema; mirror films; spanish popular comedies; european cinema