“Vicente Aranda, the Spanish film director, screenwriter and producer has died aged 88,” reports Jessica Jones for the Local. “One of the director’s most internationally acclaimed films was Amantes [Lovers, 1991] a film noir that follows the passionate affair between a young man and an older woman, played by Jorge Sanz and Victoria Abril, behind the back of his innocent young girlfriend (Maribel Verdú). The film won best film and best director at the Goya’s, Spain’s most prestigious film awards and almost immediately became a modern classic of Spanish cinema.”
A founding member of the Barcelona School of Film and a director of around 30 films (twelve of them with Abril), Aranda saw his El Lute II: mañana seré libre (1988) screen in Competition in Cannes and Amantes and The Naked Eye (1998) compete in Berlin. His politically charged films took aim at social injustice and more than a few roused controversy for their sexual frankness. During the Spanish Civil War, his family supported the Republicans—and suffered for it. In 1952, Aranda emigrated to Venezuela and did pretty well for himself. When he returned to Spain in 1959, he had money and a wife and intended to write novels. He found himself drawn to filmmaking instead, but was rejected by the School of Cinema in Madrid. So he taught himself the craft, put together a small budget and made his directorial debut with the aptly titled Brillante Porvenir (Promising Future, 1964).
In 1995, Aranda was one of 41 filmmakers to contribute to the omnibus film, Lumière and Company:
Update, 5/28: “Erratic but ever interesting, the filmography of Vicente Aranda always drew on risk as its main driving force and on the most aggressive side of human nature as the basis for its story lines,” writes Alfonso Rivera at Cineuropa. “Not long ago, we saw the master plying his expertise as an incorrigible erotomaniac, a personal literary adaptor (of Juan Marsé, Gonzalo Suárez, Antonio Gala, Andreu Martín, Vázquez Montalbán and Martín Santos, among others) and a brave all-rounder of a director in a documentary by brothers Javier and Kiko Prada, Vicente Aranda: 50 años de cine (2013).”
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