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Luis García Berlanga

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Luis García Berlanga
Statue of García Berlanga in Sos del Rey Católico
Luis García-Berlanga Martí

(1921-06-12)12 June 1921
Valencia, Spain
Died13 November 2010(2010-11-13) (aged 89)
Years active1951–2002
SpouseMaría Jesús Manrique de Aragón (1954-2010, his death)
Children4, including José Luis and Carlos

Luis García-Berlanga Martí MMT (12 June 1921 – 13 November 2010) was a Spanish film director and screenwriter. Acclaimed as a pioneer of modern Spanish cinema,[1][2] his films are marked by social satire and acerbic critiques of Spanish culture under the Francoist dictatorship.[3] These include Welcome Mr. Marshall! (1953), which won the International Prize (Comedy Film) at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival,[4] Plácido (1961), nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1962,[5] and The Executioner (1963), winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the 24th Venice International Film Festival[6] He kept a long-time collaboration with screenwriter Rafael Azcona, with whom he co-wrote the scripts for seven of his films between 1961 and 1987.[7]

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Early years

Berlanga was born into an affluent family in the eastern city of Valencia on June 12, 1921. His father was a Republican politician in the national parliament who was arrested and sentenced to death after the Spanish Civil war. He enrolled in the Blue Division in the Eastern Front of World War II to avoid having his father were executed. In his youth, Berlanga studied law and philosophy, but in 1947 he decided to enter the Institute of Cinematographic Investigations and Experiences [es] (Instituto de Investigaciones y Experiencias Cinematográficas) in Madrid.[8][9]


His debut as a film director in 1951 was with the film That Happy Couple in which he worked with Juan Antonio Bardem. With Bardem, he is considered to be one of Spanish film renovators after the Spanish Civil War. They cofounded a film magazine, Objetivo, in 1953,[10] which existed until 1956.[11]

Sculpture depicting the scene of Americans being welcomed to the town in Welcome Mr. Marshall! (1953)

Among his films are masterpieces of Spanish cinema such as Welcome Mr. Marshall! (1953), in which he highlighted the stereotypes held by both the Spanish and the Americans regarding the culture of the other, as well as a social criticism of 1950s Francoist Spain, and the black comedy The Executioner (1963), a critical portrait about the capital punishment.[12]

Characteristic of his films are their sense of irony and the satires of different social and political situations. During the Francoist State, his ability to outwit the censors allowed him to make daring projects, including The Rocket from Calabuch (1956) and Miracles of Thursday (1957). His film Plácido (1961), a black comedy about poverty, received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film also entered into the 1962 Cannes Film Festival,[13] as well as Long Live the Bride and Groom in 1970.[14]

Filming of La vaquilla in summer 1984, Sos del Rey Católico.

He later filmed Tamaño natural [es] (Life Size, 1974), an international co-production starring Michel Piccoli, which was not released in Spain until six years later due to Franco's censorship.[15] This was following by La escopeta nacional (1978), Patrimonio nacional (1981), which entered into the 1981 Cannes Film Festival,[16] and Nacional III (1982), a satirical trilogy about the Leguineches, an impoverished aristocratic family.[17] His 1985 film La vaquilla (The Heifer), a comedy about the Civil War, was the highest-grossing Spanish film in Spain at the time.[18]

In 1968, he was head of the jury at the 18th Berlin International Film Festival.[19] Other accolades include the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts in 1986,[20] a membership at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in 1988,[21] and, in 1993, the Goya for Best Director for Everyone Off to Jail.[22] He also awarded the Spanish National Cinematography Prize (Premio Nacional de Cinematografía) in 1980, the Italian Commendatore Order, the Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts (Medalla de Oro de las Bellas Artes) in 1982,[23] an honorary degree granted by the University of Valencia in 1997,[24] and the Gold Medal of Merit in Labour (Medalla al Mérito en el Trabajo) in 2002.[25]

He won international prizes at several important film festivals, including Cannes Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival, and the Mar del Plata Film Festival. He has also been awarded a large number of national acknowledgements. At the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival he won a prize as one of the world's ten most prominent film directors.[26]

Personal life and death

He was married in 1954 with María Jesús Manrique, and they had four sons. Two of his sons died in Madrid relatively young from liver diseases: Carlos Berlanga on 5 June 2002, at the age of 42, and Jorge Berlanga on 9 June 2011, at 52 years old.[27]

Berlanga died of natural causes in Madrid on 13 November 2010, at the age of 89.[28]

His closed coffin was on display at the Spanish Film Academy in Madrid before its burial in Pozuelo de Alarcón. Crowds of actors, artists, politicians and other admirers lined up to pay their respects. The president of the Academy, Álex de la Iglesia, stated: "He changed my life", while the director José Luis García Sánchez said: "He dignified an entire aesthetic tradition. On his tomb it should be read, instead of RIP, The End."[29] Pedro Almodóvar, who came to pay his respects to the "master", owner of a talent comparable, in his opinion, to other greats figures in the history of cinema, said "We always talk about Billy Wilder, but if Berlanga had made films in another language, the entire world would surrender before his coffin today. His characters spoke a lot and very fast, which made subtitling in another language very difficult".[30]

Legacy and influence

Commemorative plaque to Luis García-Berlanga in Madrid.

Berlanga's film style has influenced many contemporary Spanish filmmakers, which include Santiago Segura, Javier Fesser, Borja Cobeaga, Alberto Caballero, and Víctor García León.[31] The term 'berlanguian' [es], which refers to the surreal, to what is difficult to explain but absolutely possible within the imagination and way of being of the Spanish, has been admitted by the Royal Spanish Academy.[32] French actor Michel Piccoli, who worked with Berlanga on two films, said about him "He is Don Quixote... Well, he could also be Sancho." Francisco Franco, upon being told by his ministers that Berlanga was an anarchist, a Bolshevik and a communist, stated "He is much worse than that; he is a bad Spaniard."[33]

In 2008, he deposited in the Caja de las Letras number 1034 of the Instituto Cervantes an envelope containing a secret, which he asked not to be was revealed until 12 June 2021, when the centenary of his birth would be celebrated.[34] On 9 June 2021, three days after the centenary, his grandchildrens Fidel and Jorge opened the box and revealed the secret contents of the envelope: an unpublished script titled Viva Rusia!, co-written by the filmmaker himself, his son Jorge, Rafael Azcona and Manuel Hidalgo Ruiz, project for the fourth film of the Leguineche family saga, which was never filmed.[35] That same year, the Valencian Audiovisual Awards were renamed the Berlanga Awards by the regional ministry of Education, Culture and Sport from the 4th edition onward to pay homage to the Valencia-born filmmaker.[36]

In 2012, the Berlanga Film Museum (BFM) was inaugurated as an online museum dedicated exclusively to the work of the Spanish director.[37]



Year Title Director Writer Notes
1953 Welcome Mr. Marshall! Yes Yes
That Happy Couple Yes Yes Co-written and co-directed with Juan Antonio Bardem
1954 Boyfriend in Sight Yes Yes
1956 The Rocket from Calabuch Yes Yes
1957 Miracles of Thursday Yes Yes
1958 Familia Provisional No Yes
1961 Plácido Yes Yes
1962 Las cuatro verdades Yes Yes
1963 The Executioner Yes Yes
1964 El extraño viaje No Idea
1967 Las Pirañas Yes Yes Argentine film
1970 Long Live the Bride and Groom Yes Yes
1974 Tamaño natural [es] Yes Yes French film
1978 La escopeta nacional Yes Yes
Una Noche Embarazosa No Yes
1981 Patrimonio nacional Yes Yes
1982 Nacional III Yes Yes
1985 La vaquilla Yes Yes
1987 Moros y Cristianos Yes Yes
1993 Everyone Off to Jail Yes Yes
1999 París-Tombuctú [es] Yes Yes Final feature-length film

Associate producer

  • Tenemos 18 Años (1959)

Short Film

Year Title Director Writer Notes
1948 Paseos por una Guerra Antigua Yes Yes Documentary short film co-written and co-directed with Juan Antonio Bardem, Augustín Navarro & Florentino Soria
Tres Cantos Yes Yes
1949 El Circo Yes Yes
1959 Se Vende un Tranvía No Yes Also supervisor
1963 La Muerte y el Leñador Yes Yes Segment of the anthology film "Las Cuatro Verdades"
2002 El Sueño de la Maestra Yes Yes Final short film


Year Title Director Writer Notes
1995 Villarriba y Villabajo No Creator Televisión Española series; 25 episodes
Co-creator with José Luis García Berlanga & Antonio Oliver
1997 Blasco Ibáñez Yes Yes Televisión Española miniseries; 2 episodes

Acting roles

Year Title Role Notes
1959 Se vende un tranvia Comprador de la baliza aerostática Short Film
1967 Las Pirañas Espectador de cine Uncredited
1968 Días de viejo color Mr. Marshall
No somos de piedra Guardía Urbano
Tuset Street Aparicio
1969 Sharon vestida de rojo Victor
1973 Apunte sobre Ana Short film
1977 Tigres de Papel Matón ultraderechista Uncredited
1980 Cuentos Eróticos Hombre del metro
Nostalgia de Comedia Muda Short film
1981 Tragala Perro
Retratos en el Retrete Short film
1982 Un pasota con corbata
1984 Dinero Negro Peris
1994 La Vida Siempre es Corta Short film
1998 Ni contigo ni sin tí Dios TV Series; Episode "Cuestión de Fe"
2001 Corazón de bombón Berlanga
El Apagon Short film
Hola Artemio
Extranjeros de sí mismos Himself Documentary film

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

Year Category Film Result
1962 Best Foreign Language Film Plácido Nominated

Cannes Film Festival

Year Category Film Result
1953 Grand Prize of the Festival Welcome Mr. Marshall! Nominated
1953 Special Mention - For the Screenplay Welcome Mr. Marshall! Won
1953 International Prize - Comedy Film Welcome Mr. Marshall! Won
1961 Palme d'Or Plácido Nominated
1970 Palme d'Or Long Live the Bride and Groom Nominated
1981 Palme d'Or National Heritage Nominated

Venice Film Festival

Year Category Film Result
1956 Golden Lion The Rocket from Calabuch Nominated
1956 OCIC Award The Rocket from Calabuch Won
1964 Golden Lion The Executioner Nominated
1964 FIPRESCI Prize The Executioner Won

Goya Awards

Year Category Film Result
1988 Goya Award for Best Original Screenplay Moors and Christians Nominated
1994 Goya Award for Best Original Screenplay Everyone Off to Jail Won
1994 Goya Award for Best Director Everyone Off to Jail Won

Prince or Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts

Year Result
1986 Won

Mar del Plata International Film Festival

Year Category Film Result
1999 International Competition París-Tombuctú [es] Nominated
1999 OCIC Award París Tombuctú Won
1999 FIPRESCI Prize París Tombuctú Won

Valladolid International Film Festival

Year Category Film Result
1958 Honorable Mention Miracles of Thursday Won

Sant Jordi Awards

Year Category Film Result
1962 Best Spanish Director Plácido Won
1962 Best Film Plácido Won
1964 Best Film The Executioner Won
1981 Best Film National Heritage Won

Fotogramas de Plata

Year Category Film Result
1999 Lifetime Achievement Award - Won

Onda Awards

Year Category Film Result
1999 Cinemanía Award - Won

Círculo de Escritores Cinematográficos

Year Category Film Result
1952 "Jimeno" Revelation Award That Happy Couple Won
1954 Best Original Story Welcome Mr. Marshall! Won
1960 Best Original Story Miracles of Thursday Won
1962 Best Director Plácido Won
1964 Best Original Story The Executioner Won
1994 Best Director Everyone Off to Jail Won


See also


  1. ^ Weber, Bruce (16 November 2010). "Luis Garcia Berlanga, Filmmaker, Is Dead at 89". New York Times. pp. A28. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  2. ^ Thomas Graham (2021-09-06). "Why Berlanga is Spain's greatest film director". BBC News. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  3. ^ Holder, Stephen (21 October 1994). "Critic's Choice/Film; Subversive Intentions Behind the Humor". New York Times.
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Welcome Mr. Marshall!". Retrieved 24 January 2009.
  5. ^ "The 34th Academy Awards (1962) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  6. ^ "24th Venice International Film Festival". International Federation of Film Critics. 1963.
  7. ^ Leonor Mayor Ortega (2021-10-27). ""Berlanga y Azcona dejaron de hablarse, pero se seguían queriendo"". La Vanguardia.
  8. ^ "Luis Garcia Berlanga". The Daily Telegraph. London. 18 November 2010.
  9. ^ Berlanga's Blue Division notebooks,, 14 November 2011.
  10. ^ S. Marsh (15 December 2005). Popular Spanish Film Under Franco: Comedy and the Weakening of the State. Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-230-51187-3. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  11. ^ Virginia Higginbotham (27 January 2014). Spanish Film Under Franco. University of Texas Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-292-76147-6. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  12. ^ David Chairns (2016-10-26). "The Executioner: By the Neck". The Criterion Collection.
  13. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Plácido". Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  14. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Long Live the Bride and Groom". Retrieved 11 April 2009.
  15. ^ EFE (1 January 1972). "El director de cine Luis García Berlanga presenta a la prensa la película "Tamaño natural" que debido a la censura no se estrenó en España hasta seis años después". EFE.
  16. ^ "Festival de Cannes: National Heritage". Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  17. ^ Redacción Cine con Ñ (2021-12-02). "Sátiras en transición: la trilogía de los Leguineche". Cine con Ñ.
  18. ^ "Spain's All-Time Top Grossing Pics". Variety. 7 May 1986. p. 379.
  19. ^ "Berlinale 1968: Juries". Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  20. ^ "Luis García Berlanga - Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes 1986" (in Spanish). Fundación Princesa de Asturias. Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  21. ^ El País (26 April 1988). "Luis García Berlanga, miembro de la Academia de Bellas Artes". El País.
  22. ^ "Todos a la cárcel". Premios Goya. Academia de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficas de España. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  23. ^ "Real Decreto 397/1982, del 28 de febrero, por el que se concede la Medalla al Mérito en las Bellas Artes, en su categoría de oro, a don Luis García Berlanga" (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado (in Spanish) (34): 37503. 28 February 1982. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  24. ^ Neus Caballer (3 October 1997). "Luis G. Berlanga, 'honoris causa' por la Politécnica de Valencia". El País.
  25. ^ "Real Decreto 1355/2002, de 13 de diciembre, por el que se concede la Medalla de Oro al Mérito en el Trabajo a don Luis García Berlanga" (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado (in Spanish) (34): 37503. 13 December 2002. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  26. ^ Instituto Cervantes. "Luis García Berlanga. Biografía".
  27. ^ El Mundo (9 June 2011). "Muere en Madrid el escritor Jorge Berlanga".
  28. ^ Nick Caistor (2010-11-14). "Luis García Berlanga obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  29. ^ El País (15 November 2010). "Goodbye Mr Berlanga: nation's leading filmmaker dies at 89". El País.
  30. ^ Miguel Lorenci (2010-11-14). "El cine español despide a Berlanga con un hondo sentimiento de orfandad". Hoy. Retrieved 20 April 2024.
  31. ^ Gregorio Belinchón (2021-05-09). "La huella de un cómico genial". El País.
  32. ^ Ignacio Lara Jornet (2010). "Lo Berlanguiano como término cultural" (PDF). Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche.
  33. ^ El País (13 November 2010). "Adiós Mr. Berlanga". El País. Retrieved 20 April 2024.
  34. ^ El Mundo (27 May 2008). "El secreto de Luis García Berlanga hasta 2021".
  35. ^ Las Provincias. El último secreto de Berlanga: «¡Viva Rusia!», 10 June 2021. Accessed 15 June 2021.
  36. ^ "Los galardones del audiovisual valenciano pasan a llamarse Premios Berlanga". Valencia Plaza. 29 September 2021.
  37. ^ Cadena SER (2012-11-12). "Inaugurado el Berlanga Film Museum". Cadena SER.


External links

This page was last edited on 11 May 2024, at 16:18
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