Saura, Carlos


Saura, Carlos
b. 1932, Huesca
   Filmmaker
   Saura's early work is characterized by a thinly veiled critique of social and political orthodoxies institutionalized in the wake of the Civil War. La caza (The Shoot) (1965) and La prima Angélica (Cousin Angelica) (1973) are perhaps his most overtly politicized films. La caza concentrates on a group of male friends who go hunting rabbits but who end up shooting one another as well, enacting, in their mutual antipathy, unresolved tensions left over from the Civil War. In La prima Angélica, a film which provoked violent demonstrations by the far right, the leading male character recalls his childhood and politically motivated family conflicts. The character was played by José López Vázquez, who made several appearances in Saura's films: Peppermint Frappé (1967), El jardín de las delicias (The Garden of Delights) (1970), and Ana y los lobos (Anna and the Wolves) (1972).
   Not all of Saura's films, though, are marked by political engagement. A more intimista (personal) style, already noticeable in his earliest film, Los golfos (The Dropouts) (1959), is increasingly given expression after the restoration of democracy. Films like Cría cuervos (Raise Ravens) (1975), Elisa vida mía (Elisa, My Love) (1977) and Dulces horas (Sweet Hours) (1982) explore the complexities of subjectivity and the relations between the sexes. Many of these films starred Geraldine Chaplin, an actress projecting through her foreignness the dual out-sider/insider perspective (through her relationship of many years with Saura, both on and off the screen) on the lives of Spanish women in the 1960s and 1970s.
   Whether motivated by political or psychological considerations, Saura's films display from the outset a fascination with formal experiment. Largely unsympathetic to Hollywood conventions and style, these films—until 1981 all produced by Elias Querejeta—belong to the European auteurist tradition, especially as represented by Buñuel, Bergman and Godard. In its cool analysis of family relations, Cría Cuervos, for instance, recalls the portrayal of emotional aridity and solitude of Bergman's Cries and Whispers, its use of Geraldine Chaplin exposing the frustrated ambitions and despair of a woman doubly entrapped through ideology by class and gender. All these films reveal a fine eye for detail and composition, not unexpectedly in a director whose first interests lay in still photography.
   In the 1980s and 1990s Saura became fascinated by musicals. Bodas de sangre (Blood Wedding) (1980), Carmen (1983), El amor brujo (Love the Magician) (1986), Sevillanas (1992) and Flamenco (1995) all delight both in formal experimentation and in the exploration of the deeper significance of flamenco—its gypsy and Arab roots—beneath its frothier expression in the conventionally "folkloric" films of the popular Spanish cinema. Perhaps the most brilliant of these, Carmen, reworks the conventions of the musical—both in Spain and, to a lesser extent, in Hollywood (with reminiscences of Carmen Jones)—producing a narrative that dramatizes, both formally and thematically, the tension in Spain's uneasy relationship with its past, as the country attempts to reconstruct its European future. The past remains a feature of another recent film, ¡Ay Carmela! (1989). The intimista and the politicized Saura combine naturally and elegantly here, in a moving testimony to the unacknowledged heroism of private lives destroyed during the atrocities of the Civil War.
   See also: censorship; film and cinema
   Further reading
   - D'Lugo, M. (1991) The Films of Carlos Saura; the Practice of Seeing, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
   - Sánchez Vidal, A. (1988) El cine de Carlos Saura, Zaragoza: Caja de Ahorros de la Inmaculada.
   PETER WILLIAM EVANS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Saura, Carlos — ▪ Spanish director in full  Carlos Saura Atarés   born Jan. 4, 1932, Huesca, Spain       film director who analyzed the spirit of Spain in tragedies and flamenco dance dramas.       Saura grew up in Madrid and began directing feature films while… …   Universalium

  • Saura, Carlos — (1932 )    Saura studied engineering in Madrid before turning to photography. This was his first passion, and in later years his work as a documentary photographer would be exhibited throughout Spain. Documenting reality was at the core of his… …   Guide to cinema

  • Saura, Carlos — (1932 )    Saura studied engineering in Madrid before turning to photography. This was his first passion, and in later years his work as a documentary photographer would be exhibited throughout Spain. Documenting reality was at the core of his… …   Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema

  • Saura, Carlos — • СА УРА (Saura) Карлос (р. 4.1.1932)    исп. режиссёр. Работал фотографом. С 1955 снимал док. фильмы. В 1957 64, по окончании мадридского Ин та изучения и практики кинематографии, преподавал на кафедре режиссуры (в 1964 был уволен за демократич …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Saura, Carlos — ► (n. 1932) Director cinematográfico español. Su primer largometraje fue Los golfos, de carácter realista. Otras películas: La caza (1965), Cría cuervos (1975), El Dorado (1987), ¡Ay, Carmela! (1990), Flamenco (1995), Pajarico (1997), Goya en… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Carlos Saura — (* 4. Januar 1932 in Huesca/Aragón) ist ein spanischer Filmregisseur und Bruder des Malers Antonio Saura. Seine Filme waren anfangs vom Neorealismus geprägt, später zeigte sich der Einfluss durch den mythischen Stil von Luis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Saura — (Carlos) (né en 1932) cinéaste espagnol; critique de la société sous Franco: Ana et les loups (1972), Cría Cuervos (1976), Maman a 100 ans (1979), Carmen (1983) …   Encyclopédie Universelle