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Carlos Saura
Premios Goya 2018 - Carlos Saura.jpg
Saura in 2017
Carlos Saura Atarés

(1932-01-04)4 January 1932
Huesca, Spain
Died10 February 2023(2023-02-10) (aged 91)
Occupation(s)Film director, screenwriter, photographer
Years active1955–2023
Notable work
  • Adela Medrano
  • Mercedes Pérez
  • Eulàlia Ramon
    (m. 2006)
PartnerGeraldine Chaplin (1967–1979)
RelativesAntonio Saura (brother)

Carlos Saura Atarés (4 January 1932 – 10 February 2023) was a Spanish film director, photographer and writer. Along with Luis Buñuel and Pedro Almodóvar, he is considered to be one of Spain's most renowned filmmakers. He had a long and prolific career that spanned over half a century. His films won many international awards.

Saura began his career in 1955 making documentary shorts. He quickly gained international prominence when his first feature-length film premiered at Cannes Film Festival in 1960. Although he started filming as a neorealist, Saura quickly switched to films encoded with metaphors and symbolism in order to get around the Spanish censors. In 1966, he was thrust into the international spotlight when his film The Hunt won the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.[1] In the following years, he forged an international reputation for his cinematic treatment of emotional and spiritual responses to repressive political conditions.

By the 1970s, Saura was the best known filmmaker working in Spain. His films employed complex narrative devices and were frequently controversial. He won Special Jury Awards for Cousin Angelica (1973) and Cría Cuervos (1975) in Cannes; and an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film nomination in 1979 for Mama Turns 100.

In the 1980s, Saura was in the spotlight for his Flamenco trilogy – Blood Wedding, Carmen and El amor brujo, in which he combined dramatic content and flamenco dance forms. His work continued to be featured in worldwide competitions and earned numerous awards. He received two nominations for Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, for Carmen (1983) and Tango (1998). His films are sophisticated expression of time and space fusing reality with fantasy, past with present, and memory with hallucination. In the last two decades of the 20th century, Saura concentrated on works uniting music, dance and images.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Goya En Burdeos Carlos Saura, 1999
  • Tango Carlos Saura
  • Carlos Saura - Carmen (1983) 3
  • Carlos Saura - Carmen (1983)


Early life

Saura was born in Huesca, Aragon on 4 January 1932. His father, Antonio Saura Pacheco, who came from Murcia, was an attorney and civil servant. His mother, Fermina Atarés Torrente, was a concert pianist. The second of their four children, Carlos had an older brother, Antonio Saura, and two younger sisters, María del Pilar and María de los Ángeles. Antonio became a well-known abstract expressionist painter. From their parents, the four siblings received a liberal understanding education. Because his father worked for the Ministry of the Interior, the Saura family moved to Barcelona, Valencia, and, in 1953, to Madrid. Saura's childhood was marked by the Spanish Civil War, during which the Nationalists fought against the Republicans.

Saura had vivid recollection of his childhood during the war. He later evoked some of them in his films – the games he played, and the songs he sang, as well as darker memories of bombings and hunger, blood and death. He was taught to read by a priest – a relative whom his parents sheltered from anticlerical extremists. At the war's end, Saura was separated from his parents and sent back to Huesca to live with his maternal grandmother and aunts. He described these relatives as "right wings and very religious"[citation needed] who imposed in the child the very antithesis of the liberal education he had received in the republican zone. After having studied civil engineering he began a career in the film industry on the advice of his brother Antonio Saura.[1]


During 1957–1958, Saura created his first film, Cuenca. In 1962 his film Los Golfos was recognized for its strong sociological impact, to aid Spanish youth by tackling the issue of juvenile delinquency in Madrid's poorest districts. Four years later (1966), he was honored at the 16th Berlin International Film Festival, where he received the Silver Bear for Best Director for his film La caza.[2] In 1967, his film Peppermint Frappé also received the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 18th Berlin International Film Festival.[3] He won the Golden Bear in 1981 at the 31st Berlin International Film Festival for his film Deprisa, Deprisa.[4][1]

The films La prima Angélica (Cousin Angélica) of 1973 and Cría cuervos (Raise Ravens)[n. 1] of 1975 received the special prize of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival. His film Mamá cumple 100 años (Mom is celebrating her 100 years) was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 1980 Academy Awards.[5]

Saura later become known for movies featuring flamenco and other traditional dances. His Flamenco Trilogy of the 1980s includes Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding), Carmen, and El amor brujo featuring the work of Spanish flamenco dancer Cristina Hoyos. He later made the movies Flamenco (1995),[6] Tango (1998), and Fados (2007).

His 1989 film La noche oscura was entered into the 39th Berlin International Film Festival.[7]

Saura in 2002
Saura in 2002

Saura considered his film on surrealist master Luis Buñuel to be his best cinematic work. In an interview to an online film magazine,[8] he said about Buñuel y la mesa del rey Salomón (Buñuel and the table of King Solomon – 2001): "That's the greatest film I’ve ever made. I like the film but nobody else seems to like it. I’m sure Buñuel would have loved this film. But perhaps only he would have loved it. Everything you see in the film is actually based on conversations I had with him."

In 1990, he received the Goya Award for the best director and best script for ¡Ay, Carmela!. He was chosen as director for the official film of the 1992 Olympic Games of Barcelona, Marathon (1993).

In 2008, Carlos Saura was honoured with a Global Life Time Achievement Award at the 10th Mumbai International Film Festival, organized by the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image.[9]

In 2013, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 18th International Film Festival of Kerala.[10]

Personal life and death

Carlos Saura was married three times. He first married Adela Medrano.[11] They had two sons, Carlos and Antonio.[11] In 1982, he married Mercedes Pérez, with whom he had three sons, Manuel, Adrián, and Diego.[11] Between those two marriages, Saura had a son Shane with actress Geraldine Chaplin.[12] He was the father of a daughter named Anna from his third marriage to actress Eulàlia Ramon [ca; es],[11][13] whom he began a relationship in the wake of the shooting of Outrage.[14] They married in 2006.[14] His daughter Anna was his agent (as well as right hand and producer of his films) in his late years.[15][16]

He was an avid photographer and had a collection of over 600 cameras.[1] His photographs were exhibited several times.[1] He began to take photographs having reached the age of eight years, and later built his own camera by him self and became the photographer of the Granada Film Festival.[17]

Saura was a close friend of fellow Aragonese filmmaker Luis Buñuel. They met at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival, beginning a friendship from then on.[18]

Saura lived in Collado Mediano since the early 1980s.[19]

Saura died of respiratory failure in his residence of Collado Mediano, on 10 February 2023, at the age of 91.[20][21][22] He was due to receive the life-achievement Goya honorary award the following day during the 37th Goya Awards.[23]



Feature films

Year Title Director Writer Notes
1960 Los golfos Yes Yes
1963 Llanto por un bandido Yes Yes
1965 Muere una Mujer No Yes
1966 La caza Yes Yes Also uncredited co-producer
1967 Peppermint Frappé Yes Yes
1968 Stres-es tres-tres Yes Yes
1969 La madriguera Yes Yes
1970 El jardín de las delicias Yes Yes
1973 Ana y los lobos Yes Yes
1974 La prima Angélica Yes Yes
1976 Cría cuervos Yes Yes
1977 Elisa, vida mía Yes Yes
1978 Los ojos vendados Yes Yes
1979 Mamá cumple cien años Yes Yes
1981 Deprisa, Deprisa Yes Yes
Bodas de sangre Yes Yes
1982 Dulces horas Yes Yes
Antonieta Yes Yes
1983 Carmen Yes Yes Also producer
1984 Los Zancos Yes Yes
1986 El amor brujo Yes Yes
1988 El Dorado Yes Yes
1989 La noche oscura Yes Yes
1990 ¡Ay, Carmela! Yes Yes
Los Cuentos de Borges: El Sur (TV) Yes Yes
1993 ¡Dispara! Yes Yes
1997 Taxi Yes No
Pajarico Yes Yes
1998 Tango Yes Yes
1999 Goya en Burdeos Yes Yes
2001 Buñuel y la mesa del rey Salomón Yes Yes
2002 Salomé Yes Yes
2004 El séptimo día Yes No
2009 I, Don Giovanni Yes Yes
2021 El rey de todo el mundo Yes Yes

Short films

Year Title Director Writer Notes
1957 La tarde del domingo Yes Yes
1991 Oragina Commercial Yes No Advertisinf short made for the experimental compilation film "The King of Ads"
2021 Goya: 3 de Mayo Yes Yes


Feature films

Year Title Director Writer Notes
1992 Sevillanas Yes Yes
1993 Marathon Yes Yes
1995 Flamenco Yes Yes
2005 Iberia Yes Yes Also production designer
2007 Fados Yes Yes
2010 Flamenco, Flamenco Yes Yes
2015 Zonda, folclore argentino Yes Yes
2016 Jota de Saura Yes Yes Also art director
2018 Renzo Piano, an Architect for Santander Yes Yes
2022 Las paredes hablan Yes Yes Also actor
Final film

Short films

Year Title Director Writer Notes
1955 Flamenco Yes Yes Also producer and cinematographer
1956 El pequeño río Manzanares Yes Yes
1958 Cuenca Yes Yes
2008 Sinfonía de Aragón Yes No
2021 Rosa Rosae: La Guerra Civil Yes Yes Also editor and artwork

Selected awards and nominations

Academy Awards

  • 1980 - Nominated: Best Foreign Language Film - Mamá cumple 100 años.
  • 1984 - Nominated: Best Foreign Language Film - Carmen.
  • 1999 - Nominated: Best Foreign Language Film - Tango.


Berlin Film Festival


  • 1998 - Won: Special Award (Film Direction with a Special Visual Sensitivity).
  • 2009 - Won: Cinematographer-Director Duo Award (shared with Vittorio Storaro).

Cannes Film Festival

  • 1960 - Nominated: Golden Palm - Los golfos.
  • 1973 - Nominated: Golden Palm - Ana y los lobos.
  • 1974 - Won: Jury Prize at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival for his film La prima Angélica.
  • 1974 - Nominated: Golden Palm - La prima Angélica.
  • 1976 - Won: Grand Prix of the Jury at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival for his film Cría cuervos...
  • 1976 - Nominated: Golden Palm - Cría cuervos....
  • 1977 - Nominated: Golden Palm - Elisa, vida mía.
  • 1978 - Nominated: Golden Palm - Los ojos vendados.
  • 1983 - Won: Technical Grand Prize at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival for his film Carmen.
  • 1983 - Won: Award for Best Artistic Contribution at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival for his film Carmen.
  • 1983 - Nominated: Golden Palm - Carmen.
  • 1988 - Nominated: Golden Palm - El Dorado.

European Film Awards

  • 2004 - Won: Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • 2008 - Nominated: Best Documentary Award - Fados.

Golden Globe Awards

  • 1978 - Nominated: Best Foreign Language Film - Cría cuervos...
  • 1984 - Nominated: Best Foreign Language Film - Carmen.
  • 1999 - Nominated: Best Foreign Language Film - Tango.

Goya Awards

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

  • 1982 - Won: Special Prize of the Jury - Bodas de sangre.
  • 2000 - Won: Special Prize for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema.

Montréal World Film Festival

  • 1983 - Won: Most Popular Film of the Festival - Carmen.
  • 1986 - Won: Prix Special du Festival for his trilogy (Bodas de sangre, Carmen, El amor brujo), on the occasion of the presentation of El amor brujo.
  • 1995 - Won: Grand Prix Special des Amériques ("On the occasion of the centennial of cinema, for his exceptional contribution to the cinematographic art").
  • 1997 - Won: Best Director - Pajarico.
  • 1997 - Nominated: Grand Prix des Amériques - Pajarico.
  • 1999 - Won: Prize of the Ecumenical Jury - Goya en Burdeos.
  • 1999 - Won: Best Artistic Contribution - Goya en Burdeos.
  • 1999 - Nominated: Grand Prix des Amériques - Goya en Burdeos.
  • 2002 - Won: Best Artistic Contribution - Salomé.
  • 2002 - Nominated: Grand Prix des Amériques - Salomé.
  • 2004 - Won: Best Director - El 7º día.
  • 2004 - Nominated: Grand Prix des Amériques - El 7º día.

San Sebastián International Film Festival

  • 1958 - Won: Special Mention - Cuenca.
  • 1979 - Won: Special Prize of the Jury - Mamá cumple cien años.
  • 1996 - Nominated: Golden Seashell - Taxi.
  • 2001 - Nominated: Golden Seashell - Buñuel y la mesa del rey Salomón.

Venice Film Festival

  • 1968 - Nominated: Golden Lion - Stress-es tres-tres.
  • 1984 - Nominated: Golden Lion - Los zancos.
  • 1993 - Nominated: Golden Lion - ¡Dispara!.

Other awards and honours

Cinema Writers Circle Awards, Spain
  • 1970 - Won: CEC Award; Best Director - La madriguera.
  • 1977 - Won: CEC Award; Best Director - Cría cuervos...
  • 1978 - Won: CEC Award; Best Director - Elisa, vida mía.
  • 1984 - Won: CEC Award; Best Director - Carmen.
Sant Jordi Awards
  • 1967 - Won: Sant Jordi; Best Film - La caza.
  • 1968 - Won: Sant Jordi; Best Film - Peppermint Frappé.
  • 1972 - Won: Sant Jordi; Best Film - El jardín de las delicias.
  • 1975 - Won: Sant Jordi; Best Film - La prima Angélica.
  • 2000 - Won: Sant Jordi; Best Film - Goya en Burdeos.


  1. ^ From the Spanish popular saying: Cría cuervos y te sacarán los ojos (transl. Raise ravens and they will peck out your eyes.)


  1. ^ a b c d e ""Carmen" machte ihn berühmt: Regisseur Carlos Saura ist tot". Frankfurter Allgemeine (in German). ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  2. ^ "Berlinale: 1966 Prize Winners". Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin. 1966. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  3. ^ "Berlinale: 1968 Prize Winners". Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin. 1968. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
  4. ^ "Berlinale: 1981 Prize Winners". Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin. 1981. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  5. ^ "The 52nd Academy Awards (1980) Nominees and Winners". Oscars. 1980. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  6. ^ Calado, Silvia (May 2005). "Carlos Saura, director of 'Flamenco' Interview: "I struggle to open up new and daring pathways for flamenco"". Archived from the original on 28 December 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  7. ^ "Berlinale: 1989 Programme". Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin. 1989. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
  8. ^ Mishra, Bikas (16 May 2008). "Camera is My Memory: Carlos Saura". Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  9. ^ NewsDesk (22 February 2008). "Spanish director Carlos Saura to get Lifetime Achievement Award at Mumbai Fest". Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  10. ^ "IFFK award for Spanish filmmaker". The Hindu. 2 November 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d Pérez, Raquel (10 February 2023). "Muere Carlos Saura: maestro del cine, 7 hijos y sus grandes amores". Vanitatis – via El Confidencial.
  12. ^ Slater, Lydia (12 February 2010). "Oona Chaplin: The Chaplin Kid". Evening Standard. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Carlos Saura y Eulalia Ramón se han casado". Hola! (in Spanish). Hola S.L. 6 April 2006. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Carlos Saura y Eulàlia Ramón, una historia de amor que saltó del cine a la realidad". 10 February 2023.
  15. ^ "La despedida de un genio". XL Semanal. 11 February 2023 – via La Voz de Galicia.
  16. ^ Zurro, Javier (10 February 2023). "Muere Carlos Saura, director fundamental en la historia del cine español, a los 91 años".
  17. ^ "Carlos Saura - Photography on Círculo de Bellas Artes". Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  18. ^ Galán, Diego. "Buñuel y Saura, 1983. Dos aragoneses en el camino". Retrieved 10 February 2023 – via Instituto de Estudios Turolenses.
  19. ^ Ojeda, Alberto (6 February 2022). "Carlos Saura: "Soy muy pesimista con la humanidad y optimista conmigo mismo"". El Cultural – via El Español.
  20. ^ "Carlos Saura es nombrado a título póstumo Hijo Adoptivo de Collado Mediano, donde residía". Cadena COPE. 17 February 2023.
  21. ^ Belinchón, Gregorio (10 February 2023). "Muere Carlos Saura a los 91 años, el último director clásico del cine español". El País. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  22. ^ Pulver, Andrew (10 February 2023). "Spanish film-maker Carlos Saura, director of ¡Ay Carmela!, dies aged 91". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 14 February 2023.
  23. ^ "Muere Carlos Saura, el cineasta de la modernidad y de la memoria". El Mundo. 10 February 2023.
  24. ^ "IFFI: 2022 Prize Winners". Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award. 2022. Retrieved 20 November 2022.

External links

This page was last edited on 8 April 2023, at 21:46
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