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Vicente Aranda

Vicente Aranda

One of the most renowned and incredibly prolific Spanish directors, Vicente Aranda was born in Barcelona in 1926. He moved to Venezuela in 1952 and worked there as a cargo technician for an American shipping company and then became responsible for programs at NCT.

He returned to Barcelona in 1959. Completely self-taught, Aranda started his own production company in order to direct his first feature film. It was the 1964 Brillante Porvenir, the story of a poor youth working his way up into the Catalan upper class.

In 1966 he made Fata Morgana, a film about technology in the Machine Age, which was presented in the International Critics Week of the Cannes Film Festival that year. From then on, Aranda continued to write and direct films almost every year. In 1972, the production of Cambio de Sex (Sex Change) was halted because of censorship problems. Starring a teenage Victoria Abril, it dealt with transsexuals for the very first time in Spanish cinema. Unable to finish production on the film, he made instead the 1974 Clara es el Precio, an offbeat mix of melodrama, parody and surreal comedy. He was finally allowed to finish shooting Cambio de Sex, which was released in 1976 to critical acclaim.

Aranda cast Abril in several other films including El Lute (Camina o Revienta) for which she won the Best Actress Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival. El Lute2 (Mañana Seré Libre) was presented in the official section of the 1988 Cannes International Film Festival.

Very prolific in television as well, Aranda directed Los Jinetes del Alba, a popular series for TVE, about the ups and downs of a group of people during the October 1934 Spanish revolution and the Civil War. This star-studded production included such notable Spanish actors as Victoria Abril, Jorge Sanz, Fernando Guillén, Graciela Borges, Antonio Iranzo, Gloria Muñoz, and Juan Miralle.

In the 1990s Aranda continued to make films that were commercial hits at home and were shown at film festivals worldwide. The 1990 Amantes, starring Victoria Abril, and released in the US as Lovers, was inspired by real events that took place at the end of the 1940s. It was shown in competition at the 1991 Berlin International Festival, where Victoria Abril won the Silver Bear for Best Actress. The 1993 Intruso starring Abril and Imanol Arias was shown that year at the Toronto International Film Festival. In 1994 La Pasion Turca became one of Spain's highest grossing films of all times and the 1997 La Mirada Del Otro was shown in the official selection of the 1998 Berlin International Film Festival.

His latest film MAD LOVE (Juana La Loca) was shown at the 2001 San Sebastian Film Festival where stunning newcomer Pilar López de Ayala won the Silver Seashell for Best Actress. A commercial and critical hit, it was Spain's entry at the 2001 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. Six months following its release in Spain, it was still in theaters enjoying continued success with audiences.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Vicente Aranda Facts

Birth Name Vicente Aranda Ezquerra
OccupationDirector, Writer
BirthdayNovember 9, 1926 (97)
BirthplaceBarcelona, Spain

Selected Filmography

Mad Love
The Blood Spattered Bride
Juegos De Guerra
El Lute
Asesinato En El Comite Central
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