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Carlos Saura

Carlos Saura

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Also Known As: Carlos Saura Torrente Died:
Born: January 4, 1932 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Huesca, Aragon, ES Profession: screenwriter, director, producer, cinematographer, film professor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A child of the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath, writer-director Carlos Saura flowered during the waning years of Franco's dictatorship, dodging the aging regime's censorship by leading his films into allegory, dreams and symbolism. His features exploring fascism's repressive effects on society became portraits of Spain in a dark mirror, poignantly expressing the country's uneasy relationship with its past. While Franco lived, the filmmaker felt compelled to speak against tyranny, but the Generalissimo's death in 1975 freed Saura to speak for himself. Although he has done fine work since, many disappointed by his unwillingness to address political themes in the post-Franco era believe his best films are behind him, that the Franco years encouraged his creative personality like freedom could not. After making pictures for more than 40 years, he has retained a trademark of highly unorthodox but unfailing routine: he begins at the beginning and shoots chronologically. "I write the end at the start, but then, when I get to it, I always change it according to how I feel."

A child of the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath, writer-director Carlos Saura flowered during the waning years of Franco's dictatorship, dodging the aging regime's censorship by leading his films into allegory, dreams and symbolism. His features exploring fascism's repressive effects on society became portraits of Spain in a dark mirror, poignantly expressing the country's uneasy relationship with its past. While Franco lived, the filmmaker felt compelled to speak against tyranny, but the Generalissimo's death in 1975 freed Saura to speak for himself. Although he has done fine work since, many disappointed by his unwillingness to address political themes in the post-Franco era believe his best films are behind him, that the Franco years encouraged his creative personality like freedom could not. After making pictures for more than 40 years, he has retained a trademark of highly unorthodox but unfailing routine: he begins at the beginning and shoots chronologically. "I write the end at the start, but then, when I get to it, I always change it according to how I feel."

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

3.
4.
  Fados (2007)
5.
  La Iberia (2005)
6.
  7th Day, The (2004) Director
7.
  Bunuel, King Solomon (2001) Director
8.
  Goya in Bordeaux (1999) Director
9.
  Tango (1998) Director
10.
  Pajarico (1997) Director

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1935:
Family moved to Madrid and lived there throughout the Spanish Civil War
:
Left engineering school and began career at age 18 as a roving freelance photographer specializing in music and dance subjects; earned living this way for three years (c. 1950-1953)
1951:
Had first one-man show in Madrid
1955:
Made first short student film, "Antonio Saura"
1956:
Directed nine-minute documentary, "El Pequeno rio Manzanares"
1957:
Taught direction at Escuela Oficial de Cinematografia
1958:
Helmed color documentary "Cuenca"; also produced and served as cinematographer; first collaboration with editor Pablo G del Amo
1960:
Feature directorial debut, "Los Golfos/The Urchins/The Hooligans/Riff-Raff"; first Spanish feature to be shot entirely on location
1964:
After being forced to compromise second feature, "Lament for a Bandit", decided he would make only films for which he could have total responsibility
1966:
Initial collaboration with producer Elias Querejeta, "La Caza/The Hunt"; first Spanish film to reach the New York Film Festival
1968:
First film directing Geraldine Chaplin, "Pepperment Frappe"
1970:
Criticism of the Franco regime became more overt in "The Garden of Delights", a blackly humorous story about a man who forgets the number of his Swiss bank account after an accident, and whose desperate family reenact the guilty past in an unsuccessful attempt to jog his memory; delayed and cut by Spanish censors
1972:
"Anna and the Wolves" initially banned for its "morbid" treatment of religion and sex; expressed the director's fervent view that repressed sexuality could lead to abnormal and destructive behavior
1974:
"Cousin Angelica" was the first film made in Spain from the viewpoint of the losing side of that country's civil war; won a Jury Prize at Cannes; released in USA in 1977
1976:
First solo screenwriting credit, "Cria!/Raise Ravens"; also produced; film won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes
1977:
Helmed "Elisa, Vida Mia", starring Fernando Rey and Chaplin as father and daughter
1979:
Used virtually the same cast from "Anna and the Wolves" for the black comedy update "Mama Turns One Hundred"; resurrected Chaplin's character who had died in the original film; last film with Chaplin
1981:
Returned to the subject and style of early work with "Deprisa, Deprisa/Hurry, Hurry"
1981:
Collaborated with renowned choreographer Antonio Gades to film ballet adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca's "Blood Wedding"
1983:
Reteamed with Gades to create a ballet/film adaptation of "Carmen"; tried to reassert the story's Spanish origins by adapting it as a flamenco ballet; recieved a Best Foreign-Language Film Academy Award nomination
1986:
Completed dance trilogy with "El Amor Brujo/Love the Magician", adapted from Manuel de Falla's 1915 ballet; also choreographed by Gades
1988:
Directed "El Dorado", a lavish historical epic based on the life of Conquistador Pedro de Ursuo
1990:
Helmed the dramatic musical "Ay, Carmela", about vaudvillians who entertain partisans during the Spanish Civil War and find themselves trapped behind enemy lines
1993:
Stumbled with "Dispara!/Shoot!", starring Antonio Banderas
1995:
Returned triumpantly to dance with "Flamenco"; first collaboration with director of photography Vittorio Storaro; last collaboration to date with editor del Amo
1996:
Reteamed with Storaro for "Taxi"
1998:
Revisited the dance musical with "Tango"; third collaboration with Storaro; received Oscar nomination as Best Foreign-Language Film
1999:
Directed "Goya in Bordeaux", a biopic of the renowned Spanish painter; fourth collaboration with Storaro; premiered at the Montreal Film Festival
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Instituto de Investigaciones y Experiencias Cinematograficas: - 1952 - 1957

Notes

Saura has directed operas in Stuttgart and Spoleto.

On why "Anna and the Wolves" finally made it past the censors: "The Ministry of Information determined it was a lousy film, that it would bore everyone, and that for these reasons, it wasn't really dangerous to authorize its distribution. What the adminstration didn't take into account was the repercussions of (such) films outside of Spain. Later they did." --Carlos Saura, quoted in "World Film Directors, Volume Two" edited by John Wakeman (New York: The H W Wilson Company, 1988)

About the reaction of his cast to the biggest production number in "Tango", a vivid remembrance of Argentine military rule and its victims who "disappeared": "And I had not realised that it would still cause so much pain. We did it and I saw some of the young cast crying when it was over. They had lost relatives and their memories were raw." --Saura to Peter Preston in THE OBSERVER, June 27, 1999

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Adela Medrano. Mother of Saura's two older sons.
companion:
Geraldine Chaplin. Actor. Daughter of Charlie Chaplin; granddaughter of Eugene O'Neill; in a number of films by Saura; had one son together.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Antonio Saura Pacheco. Attorney.
mother:
Fermina Atares Torrente. Concert pianist.
brother:
Antonio Saura. Abstract expressionist painter.
son:
Carlos Saura Medrano. Director. Born c. 1958; mother, Adele Medrano; served as assistant director for father's "El Amor Brujo" (1986).
son:
Antonio Saura. Producer, screenwriter. Born c. 1960; mother, Adele Medrano; has worked on father's films; serves as director of the Media Business School in Madrid.
son:
Shane Saura. Mother, Geraldine Chaplin.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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