Carlos Saura was four years old at the outbreak of the Civil War in Spain. His childhood occured between fear and the hegemony of a reactionary mentality. In 1955 while he was doing amateur films, some filmmakers come to the conclusion that Spanish cinema is “politically ineffective, socially false, intelectually minute, aesthetically null, and industrially meager”.
He concludes his film studies at the age of 25; first he makes a living as a teacher and in 1960 he directs Los golfos, distanced from the influence of the French New Wave. He gets dissapointed by the Neorealism: the paralles between Los golfos, Accattone (1961, Pier Paolo Pasolini) and La comarca seca (1962, Bernardo Bertolucci) are surprising.
Los golfos is selected to form part of the Cannes Film Festival and receives the cursing of censorship, which for years impeded its launching. Time after, it received Berlin’s invitation where Llanto por un bandido (1964) and La caza (1966) are programmed. La caza received The Silver Bear, and is the beginning of many awards that accumulated through 49 films.
Geraldine Chaplin arrives to Peppermint frappé and becomes the protagonist of 9 of his movies and his muse; one of the most notable situations of this collaboration is the world’s male transit towards a family universe, where the woman’s presence is essential. These are 9 accounts that change the face of Spanish cinema and enable it to transcend its frontiers. In 1974 and 1976 he films the compelling La prima Angélica, which received the Cannes Festival Jury’s Prize and Cría Cuervos repeats the award. The collaboration ends with Mama cumple 100 años, the first of its three Oscar nominations.
In 1981 Carlos Saura starts his collaboration with the choreographer Antonio Gades and they film Bodas de Sangre; even though Federico García Lorca had previously broken the silence about the Franco - era (franquismo,) Saura is one of the first spaniards to adapt an andalucian work to cinema. The adaptation is a superb montage of music and dance. The peak moment is Carmen (1983.) From that moment onwards the filmmaker has documented the different expressions of music, dance and regional identity.
A restless filmmaker, he makes a film per year; to summarise the works that extend across these three decades exceeds us, without a doubt he has kept his firm intent on a body of work which is illuninated by passion, music, dance, popular culture and history.
FICG is honored to have the presence of one of the great filmmakers of our time.
Gerardo Salcedo Romero