Donald Kuspit: “‘Little Spain’ is a kind of masterpiece”

On Saturday, August 22nd, 2015





Thus the brilliance of Balder’s film is psychological as well as social: he has insight into the mentality of the Spanish immigrants as well as an understanding of the everyday circumstances of their life. He offers us a psychological portrait of Spanish Americans in the course of examining their situation in New York. He suggests that they have created an insular ghetto that nonetheless looks all-American and outgoing on the surface. Balder’s Little Spain is a documentary film, but it documents emotions as well as a little society. In showing the contradiction that is their identity, his film achieves universal validity, for it conveys the larger dialectical truth about immigrants to a foreign country — and there are many of them these days, particularly from countries that have failed their native-born, as contemporary Spain has. Balder’s Spanish-Americans seem to have resolved the contradiction, having achieved a modicum of middle-class success in America, but they unconsciously have a split-identity if not a divided allegiance.

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