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Carlos Saura Cause of Death: Legendary Spanish Filmmaker Dies at 91

by Ana Lopez
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Spain’s Film Academy has reported that Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura died of natural causes on Friday. He was 91. The organization issued the following statement following the death of Carlos Saura: “The Film Academy deeply regrets announcing his death, Goya de Honor 2023.

At the age of 91, Saura died at home in the company of his loved ones. He was one of the key figures in the development of Spanish cinema.

Born in Huesca, Aragon, in 1932 – the same region of Spain where Luis Bunuel, whom he acknowledged as his mentor, grew up – Saura was transported to Madrid by his family during the Spanish Civil War.

His third film, “The Hunt”, a 1965 portrait of a ruling class of the Franquists that earned him a Berlin Silver Bear, was inspired by the bombings Saura heard as a child and never recovered from.

This made him the leading figure of a new Spanish cinema, an initiative supported by the more liberal wing of Francisco Franco’s regime to produce a new generation of authors in the European Union fashion.

From 1965 to 1974, Saura’s cinema attempted the highly unthinkable feat of producing films with the support of a far-right government that denounced the paradoxes and blatant lack of freedoms of the society Franco had founded, aided by producer Elas Querejeta .

Carlos Saura cause of death
Carlos Saura cause of death

They won prestigious awards, including the Berlin Silver Bear for “Peppermint Frappé” in 1967 and the Cannes Jury Prize for “La Prima Angelica” in 1974.

In this film, a middle-aged man visits his in-laws in Segovia, where he experienced the war as a child, and his memories come back and explain why his emotional development stalled.

Brilliantly filmed – “There is a Spanish cinema before and after ‘La Caza’,” noted fellow filmmaker Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón – “La Caza” made Saura one of the best-known portrayals of Spain’s dogged anti-Franco opposition in the eyes of the world.

Under Franco’s obscure dictatorship, Spain was rapidly modernizing and integrating into the booming market of sophisticated Western capitalism. Saura always claimed the opposite.

His first movie, “Los Golfos”, which was heavily influenced by Italian neorealismportrayed young second-generation immigrants who worked as market bearers in shacks outside Madrid with no money and no future unless they became successful bullfighters.

Through symbolism, association and omissions, “La Caza” revealed a Spain still in the shadow of civil war and ready to erupt in atavistic devastation if necessary. The censor in Spain also noticed it. Before its approval, “La Prima Angélica” was seen by six ministers.

Saura was revered all over Spain, a cloak he wore lightly and expelled with a great sense of humor not always present in his films. With Geraldine Chaplin as his then-co-star, Saura completed “Raise Ravens” in 1976 after being freed from Franco’s censorship.

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This film, which explores women’s struggles in a macho world through the distorted image of a young daughter, is often regarded as Saura’s finest. Few Spanish films subtly convey the heady combination of memory, daydreaming and delusion young minds produce before they become prisoners of fate.

‘Deprisa Deprisa’, a departure and one of his best films, sympathetically depicts the often brief lives of four Madrid thugs who commit robberies, snort heroin and hotwire cars.

Saura used it to illustrate how democracy had failed to improve the situation of Spain’s lower classes. It was his last openly political film. Saura’s first source of income came from photographing dance events in Spain in the 1950s.

His early dance trilogy, ‘Bodas de Sangre’, ‘Carmen’ and ‘El Amor Brujo’ (1980, 1983, 1985), combined the emphasis on the spectacle of Hollywood classics with the European author tradition of an author’s full and playful subjectivity , stood out for creating a new place for musicals.

The King of All the World, which will premiere in 2021, and ‘Tango’, both dance documentaries, capture at their best most of Saura’s achievements as a filmmaker: the natural kinetic energy of his camerawork; the flamboyant primal colors of his dance films; the portrait of women who, 45 years after ‘Raise Ravens’, still suffer at the hands of men; and a sense of the tremendous weight of the past on a present are all examples of the shocking impact of violence.

In addition to his seven children, including producers Carlos, Antonio and Anna Saura, Carlos Saura is also survived by his four career-defining partners: journalist and documentary filmmaker Adela Medrano, actress Geraldine Chaplin, Mercedes Pérez and performer Eulalia Ramón. The sales department of Latido Films is led by Antonio Saura.

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