Spanish director Luis Berlanga dies
Key figure in resuscitating country's movie industry after civil war
Last Updated: Saturday, November 13, 2010 | 2:16 PM ET
The Associated Press
Luis Garcia Berlanga, a Spanish filmmaker critical of the military dictatorship under Gen. Francisco Franco and who was credited with helping to revive the country's movie industry after its civil war, died Saturday.
Berlanga had Alzheimer's disease and died at his home in Madrid, according to Spain's film academy, of which he was an honorary president and co-founder. He was 89.
Born in the eastern city of Valencia, Berlanga wrote and directed his first short in 1948 and in 1951 made his first feature film, Esa Pareja Feliz, (That Happy Couple ) in collaboration with Juan Antonio Bardem, father of Hollywood actor Javier Bardem.
He was also a contemporary and friend of iconic director Luis Bunuel.
"Along with Bunuel, he is one of the most important filmmakers of all time," said Alex de la Iglesia, the president of Spain's film academy. "His films Placido and El Verdugo (The Executioner) are two of Spain's best movies, and Berlanga is one of the most important directors in the world."
Berlanga's 1953 film Bienvenido, Mister Marshall (Welcome, Mr. Marshall) explored Spain's hopes that the U.S. would help the country restore democracy and prosperity as it had in much of Europe after the Second World War.
The plan, officially called the European Recovery Program but widely known as The Marshall Plan, was a 1947 to1951 program devised by the U.S. for reconstruction and establishing strong economies in Europe following two devastating world wars.
Making such films was difficult for Berlanga. He was critical of Franco, the victor in Spain's civil war, and had to devise a film language to beat the strict censorship it imposed.
Berlanga had said that Spain's official censors were not the only ones he had to get past, because Franco personally insisted on viewing his films before allowing their release. He said he and fellow scriptwriter Rafael Azcona had to be extremely creative to outwit them.
"Rafael and I had the best work system, that is none," he said, hinting at their ability to improvise successfully.
Fifty years after filming Bienvenido Mister Marshall, Berlanga sat behind a camera for the last time, to film a 10-minute sequence called El sueno de la maestra (Teacher's Dream), which had originally been planned for inclusion in the movie but had been banned by the censors.
Berlanga is survived by a son, Fernando.
- 3 for FRIDAY: Fast and Furious 6, Epic and Picture Day by Eli Glasner May. 24, 2013 6:05 PM Eli Glasner takes a quick look at three new films: Picture Day with rising star Tatiana Maslany, the audaciously entertaining Fast and Furious 6 and a nature-themed cartoon for the kids called Epic.
Top News Headlines
- 3 more suspects arrested in slaying of U.K. soldier
- British police investigating the savage killing of an off-duty soldier in London have arrested three more suspects. more »
- Hockey Canada votes to ban bodychecking in peewee hockey
- Hockey Canada's board of directors voted to eliminate bodychecking from peewee-level hockey on Saturday in Charlottetown. more »
- Neil Macdonald: How serious is Obama about curbing the drone surge?
- In a key speech this week, the U.S. president set out a host of supposed new safeguards for America's controversial practice of remote-controlled rough justice. But as Neil Macdonald writes, the underlying rationale for drone use has not fundamentally changed. more »
- Ontario man lost in Australian mountains has survival skills
- The sister of an Ontario man who disappeared in Australia's Snowy Mountains nearly two weeks ago says she remains hopeful he will be found, partly because of his training as a Canadian Forces reservist. more »
Latest Arts & Entertainment News Headlines
- Rolling Stones to rock with Mississauga choir
- The Rolling Stones take to the stage in Toronto Saturday night, accompanied by a Mississauga high school choir, for the first of three hotly anticipated Canadian concerts. more »
- Robert Bateman Centre to promote more than artist's work
- Celebrated Canadian nature artist Robert Bateman is opening a new gallery in Victoria this weekend, but the artist says the aim is to do much more than showcase his work. more »
- FILM REVIEW: The Hangover Part 3
- In a final outing with the wolf pack, the joke's on us, says Eli Glasner. The Hangover Part 3 is a strangely serious and laugh-free sequel in the popular, offensive and raunchy series. more »
- Fast and Furious 6, Epic and Picture Day
- PM Eli Glasner takes a quick look at three new films: Picture Day with rising star Tatiana Maslany, the audaciously entertaining Fast and Furious 6 and a nature-themed cartoon for the kids called Epic. more »
- Dan Brown's bizarre rituals May. 24, 2013 5:15 PM The author discusses his new novel, Inferno, and the ritual he performs when launching another book.
- David Sedaris on why having a mean dad might just be the key to success May. 24, 2013 2:42 PM
- McDonald's CEO chastised by 9-year-old B.C. girl
- Will Rob Ford's supporters leave Ford Nation?
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford denies using crack cocaine
- Dog snared on baited hooks near Vancouver's Grouse Grind trail
- Toronto mayor's brother says he never dealt drugs
- 3 more suspects arrested in slaying of U.K. soldier
- Washington police blame bridge collapse on Alberta trucker
- Wallin may be forced to repay thousands in travel expenses
- Canada ranks 3rd last in paid vacations