Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Modern Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Stephanie Mueller




This thesis explores the underlying themes and motives of Retorno a Hansala a 2008 Spanish film directed by Chus Gutierrez. Political and economic instability have contributed to migration across the world making the topic relevant and important. In the film Gutierrez focuses on migration from Morocco to Spain. Although only 14 kilometers separate the two countries thousands of migrants die every year attempting to reach Europe. In Spain many citizens feel as though they do not have a lot in common with their southern neighbors. Even though the country is now mainly Catholic Spain has a rich Islamic history that is still evident today in many aspects of the culture such as its architecture and music. In the film a romance develops between a Moroccan woman named Leila and a Spanish man named Martin. Through various narrative and cinematic choices the film counters the dehumanization of Moroccan migrants in the Spanish media which frequently use terms such as "avalanche of immigrants" to describe their arrival at Spanish coasts. In addition Retorno a Hansala is a critique of the Global North (Spain and Europe specifically) which is portrayed as complicit in the plight of the migrant. Lastly the film offers hope for improved future relations between the two countries as the relationship between Martin and Leila is symbolic of a more welcoming approach in Europe.