2013 – Carlos Saura
Silver bear in the Berlin International Film Festival for ‘La Caza’ in 1965 and ‘Peppermint Frappe’ in 1967, special jury awards in Cannes for ‘La Prima Angelica’ in 1973 and ‘Cria Cuervos’ in 1975, Oscar nominations for the Film Mama Cumple 100 Anos, special jury ward at the San Sebastian Festival and two Goya awards are some of the many achievements that have decorated the internationally acclaimed filmmaker Carlos Saurasa’s life.
During his 50years as a filmmakers, Carlos Saura has been witness to all kinds of convulsions in Spanish cinema and its socio-political content. Saura’s films, born under the attentive gaze of Franco’s authority and censorship, followed Spain’s metamorphosis into democratic state with constant focus on contemporary realities, but with a reminder of the historical memories and artistic roots of Spanish cultural heritage.
Ranked among Europe’s elite filmmakers, Carlos Saura had his greatest impact in the late ‘60s
And early ‘70s when his political charged films revitalized Spanish cinema. Like his mentor Luis Bunuel, saura freely blends reality with the appalling and at times with surrealistic textures. ‘The Hunt’ was the first Saura film produced by Elias Querejeta with whom the director went on to establish a long standing professional relationship. Their 12 collaborations constitute perhaps the most interesting and compact phase of Saura’s career. With ‘Peppermint Frappe’, Saura’s regular creative team further expanded to include screenwriter Rafael Azcona, who would co-author six more films with the director, and actress Geraldine Chaplin, who would be his partner for over a decade.
Born in 1932 in Huesca, Saura spent the civil war years (1936-39) in Republican territory, and this left an unmistakeable imprint on his work. The war had a tremendous impact on Saura, and his anippets of his vivid, often terrifying, memories would later appear in his films. As a young man, Saura briefly studied engineering but at the age of 18, he left school to become a professional freelance photographer.
While Sauras’s work in the sixties and seventies is distinguished by its vitality drive and socio-political relevance, in the Nineties his films moved along more creative paths. After the death of Franco in 1975, Saura avoided political content and explored musical and folkloric dance forms with Sevillanas and Flamenco, both of which are inventories of different subgenres of flamenco performance. His trilogy of flamenco-dance dramas — ‘Bodes de sangre’ (Blood weeding), ‘Carmen’ and ‘El Amor Brujo’ (Love the Magician)—were innovative versions of classic stories, done in collaboration with cinematographer Victoria Storaro, gave his abstract conceptions a much more stylized rather flamboyant imprint.
‘Carmen’, based on prosper Merimee’s 1875 novella, included musical passages from Geroges Bizet’s 1875 opera and fused rehearsal performance, and a contempory mirror of Merimee’s plot; long portions of film were dance without dialogue. Saura’s later movies included ‘El Dorado’ (1988); ‘Tango’ (1988), which won the Academy Award nomination for best foreign film; ‘Salome’ (2002); and the documentary ‘Fados’ (2007).
Saura was born the second of four children. His mother, who was a pianist instilled in him the love for music and his brother, Antonio, who was a note abstract expressionist painter, the passion for art. His father was a lawyer. Carlos Saura is an excellent photographer, an activity that he shares in a sporadic way with the making of films.