Transitional tastes: Food metaphors and character development in Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón’s half of heaven (Spain, 1986) and Silvio Caiozzi’s the moon in the mirror (Chile, 1990)

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This paper explores the representation of food in Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón’s film Half of Heaven (Spain, 1986) and Silvio Caiozzi’s The Moon in the Mirror (Chile, 1990) as it depicts the political transition from dictatorship to democracy in Spain and Chile. While the Spanish transition was initiated with Francisco Franco’s death in 1975, and the Chilean transition with Augusto Pinochet supposedly stepping down in 1989, in both cases the dictatorial power structures ensured that such a shift in political ideology did not come into effect overnight. As a result, well after Franco’s death and Pinochet’s defeat, the regimes’ institutions remained in place. With this political context in mind, food features prominently as a metaphorical representation of the complex power struggles and political shifts that were occurring in these two countries at this time. In this way, the relationship of food-presented as either good or bad, edible or contaminated-is conflated with character development in such a way that it establishes a new set of semantic networks among characters that illuminates sociocultural dynamics and political debates in transitional Spain and Chile.

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