La Movida Madrileña

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Madrid at night, photo by Paolo Monti. The Movida people coined the now famous war-cries of the city: Madrid nunca duerme ("Madrid never sleeps"), Esta noche todo el mundo a la calle ("Tonight everybody to the street") or Madrid me mata ("Madrid kills me").

La Movida Madrileña (English: The Madrid Scene) was a countercultural movement that took place mainly in Madrid during the Spanish transition to democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.[1] The movement coincided with economic growth in Spain,[citation needed] and a widespread desire for the development of a post-Francoist identity.[1] The "Concierto homenaje a Canito" ("Canito Memorial Concert"), which took place on February 9, 1980, is traditionally considered the start date of La Movida Madrileña.[1]

La Movida Madrileña featured a rise in punk rock and synthpop music, an openness regarding sexual expression and drug usage, and the emergence of new dialects such as cheli.[1] This hedonistic cultural wave started in Madrid, then appeared in other Spanish cities such as Barcelona, Bilbao and Vigo.[citation needed]


In the years following the death of Francisco Franco, a growing underground punk rock music scene began to form in Madrid.[1] Inspired by the growth of punk rock in the United Kingdom, a number of punk and synthpop bands, such as Tos and Aviador Dro,[1] began forming in the late 1970s. However, this new counterculture clashed heavily with the Spanish national government, with an evening curfew in effect for women, homosexuality criminalized, and those with unorthodox appearances subject to arrest for violating a law regarding "dangerousness and social rehabilitation".[1]

La Movida Madrileña gained a large boost in notoriety following a large punk concert at the Technical University of Madrid on February 9, 1980.[1] Although Francoist elements continued to oppose the increasing liberalization of the city, under socialist mayor Enrique Tierno Galván, the government began a more open approach regarding the movement, and subsidized various artistic endeavours.[1] A number of influential foreign artists, such as the Ramones and Andy Warhol, came to visit Madrid during this time.[2]


La Movida Madrileña's central component was an aesthetic influenced by punk rock and synth-pop music, as well as visual schools such as dada and futurism.[1] This aesthetic then permeated into the city's street fashion, photography, cartoons, and murals,[1] manifesting itself in bright colours, voluminous hair, unconventional and revealing clothing, and heavy makeup use among all genders.[2]

In addition to these artistic representations, La Movida Madrileña also saw an emergent LGBTQ+ community, illicit drug use, and the use of the cheli dialect.[1]

Although some involved with the movement testified to a lack of a unified political ideology, many elements of the movement were antifascist, and had anarchist leanings.[1]


The Movida comprised many art movements; Pedro Almodóvar became a well-known example internationally after his later success as a film director.[1][2]


In moods, looks and attitude, the sound resembled the British punk and new wave scenes and the Neue Deutsche Welle, sometimes (in the case of Mecano) mimicking styles such as new romantic.[citation needed]

Many bands from the capital city contributed to the spread of the movement, such as:

and many more. Synthpop pioneers such as Mecano, Azul y Negro, Tino Casal, La Unión and others are also sometimes considered to be part of this movement.[citation needed]

Occasionally bands from other Spanish cities are considered as having taken part of the “Movida”, such as Siniestro Total and Golpes Bajos from Vigo, and Loquillo and Desechables from Barcelona.[citation needed]

Contemporary Spanish rock bands, including Leño, Barón Rojo, Obús, Asfalto, Tequila, and La Polla Records, are usually not included under the “Movida” tag, as their sound was harder and they rejected what the movement represented.[citation needed] However, members of those bands were friends or interacted with people who took part in the "Movida" (e.g. Obús' first records were produced by Tino Casal; Tequila were friends with bands of the "Movida", especially members of Kaka de Luxe).[citation needed]

Film and television[edit]

Film director Pedro Almodóvar comically reflected the messiness of the freedom of those years, especially in his first films Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón (1980),[1] Laberinto de pasiones (1982),[citation needed] and What Have I Done to Deserve this? (1984).[citation needed] Other important artists in the Movida were the director Iván Zulueta with his masterpiece Arrebato, Fernando Trueba with the characteristic Ópera prima (1980), and Fernando Colomo.[citation needed]

TV programs like La Bola de Cristal, hosted by singer Alaska and La Edad de Oro, hosted by Paloma Chamorro contributed to spread the aesthetics of the movement to a wider audience.[citation needed]

Photography and painting[edit]

Graphic artists, including Ceesepe, El Hortelano, Montxo Algora, Agust, Pejo, and Nazario Luque, and photographers such as Ouka Leele, Miguel Trillo, Pablo Pérez Mínguez “PPM” or Alberto García-Alix together founded one of the first art collectives, called “Cascorro Factory”, where many of the seminal ideas for the Movida took place.

Photographer Gorka de Duo accompanied artist Andy Warhol and had an exhibition with Robert Mapplethorpe in the Fernando Vijande gallery.[citation needed]

Painters Patricia Gadea and Juan Ugalde later formed the art group Estrujenbank in New York City, and Costus [es] (Enrique Naya Igueravide & Juan José Carrero Galofré) and Guillermo Pérez Villalta, from Cádiz, and Valencian Javier Mariscal were also essential visionaries for the movement.[citation needed]


Artists like Muelle created a unique form of street art, later described as “graffiti autóctono madrileño”.[citation needed]


Writers Gregorio Morales, Vicente Molina Foix, Luis Antonio de Villena, Javier Barquín, José Tono Martínez, Luis Mateo Díez, José Antonio Gabriel y Galán, José Luis Moreno-Ruiz and Ramón Mayrata were prominent in the “Tertulia de Creadores”, which were a cycle of meetings, lectures, debates and happenings that took place in the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid between 1983 and 1984.[citation needed] Many of them, as Gregorio Morales, José Tono Martínez or Ramón Mayrata, were regular collaborators of the art magazine La luna de Madrid. Other publications, such as Oscar Mariné's magazine Madrid Me Mata [es] (Madrid Kills Me) contributed to the creation of a common identity.[citation needed]

Another important figure outside the artistic world of the Movida was journalist Francisco Umbral, a writer for the newspaper El País, who wrote about and documented the movement.[citation needed]


The magazine Madriz [es] acted as a post-modern mixer for the new tendencies between 1984 and 1987.[citation needed] Artists like Antonio Aragüez [es], Arranz, Camús, Asun Balzola, Federico del Barrio [es], Juan Calonge, Guillem Cifré [es], El Cubri [es], Santiago Cueto, Kiko Feria, Carlos Giménez, Guzmán el Bueno, Juan Jiménez, Ana Juan, LPO, Marcos, Martín, Ana Miralles, Rafa Negrete [es], José Manuel Nuevo, OPS, Raúl, Rubén, Sento, Luis Serrano, Carlos Torrente, and Fernando Vicente Sánchez [es] graced its pages.[citation needed]

The Barcelona-based magazine El Vibora, founded in 1979, was also influenced by the zeitgeist of the era, and published, apart from translations of foreign material, artists such as Nazario, Max and Miguel Gallardo.[citation needed]


Many films and books have depicted the Movida, like the 2005 film El Calentito directed by Chus Gutiérrez.[citation needed] The musical Hoy No Me Puedo Levantar, composed by Nacho Cano, former member of Mecano, portrays a love story with the Movida as cultural background, and explains the condition of young people in this period, trying to survive in Madrid under the shadow of drugs and AIDS.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Phelan, Stephen (2020-02-11). "'Bless the chaos': La Movida Madrileña, Spain's seedy, wild post-Franco underground". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2021-05-04. Retrieved 2021-05-04.
  2. ^ a b c Dickson, Andrew. "Spain's wild party after Fascism". BBC. Archived from the original on 2021-05-04. Retrieved 2021-05-04.

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