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22/30 September 2017 - #65ssiff

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You are in: Home > 2019. 67th Edition  > News > The 67th edition of the San Sebastian Festival and Filmoteca Española will dedicate a retrospective to the Mexican director Roberto Gavaldón
The 67th edition of the San Sebastian Festival and Filmoteca Española will dedicate a retrospective to the Mexican director Roberto Gavaldón
Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Filmoteca Española and the San Sebastian Festival will organise, in collaboration with Filmoteca Vasca and the San Telmo Museum, a retrospective dedicated to Roberto Gavaldón, accompanied by a monographic book dedicated to the Mexican filmmaker, published by Filmoteca Española and the San Sebastian Festival.

Roberto Gavaldón (1909-1986) is considered to have been one of Mexican cinema’s most important directors in the fifties and sixties. Born in Jiménez, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, in 1909, he took his first steps in the medium working as an extra, actor, assistant director and scriptwriter. After a few jobs as co-director, he made his solo debut in 1945 with La barraca (The Shack), adaptation of the novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, with a production team including several Spanish technicians who had gone into exile in Mexico after the Civil War. 

Already from that first feature film, Gavaldón made his mark with a highly sober, classic and realist style, benefitting from the collaboration with directors of photography such as Gabriel Figueroa, Alex Phillips and Jack Draper. He generally dealt with melodramatic topics. Both his style and the chosen storylines would later make him clash with the younger crop of critics and directors who questioned his predilection for national cinema.

Macario (1960), based on a story by Ben Traven – a writer who also gave John Huston his inspiration for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and whom Gavaldón would adapt once again in Rosa blanca (The White Rose,1961) and Días de otoño (Autumn Days,1963) – is one of his most important films: it participated in the Cannes Festival and was the first Mexican film to land an Academy Award nomination for best foreign language film. Its lead man, Ignacio López Tarso (one of the actors in Buñuel’s Nazarín), was one of the stars of Mexican cinema in those years. Gavaldón also worked with other big names of Mexican cinema, such as María Félix, Dolores del Río, Arturo de Córdova and Pedro Armendáriz, as well as with Argentina’s star of melodrama, Libertad Lamarque.

For years he was the leading representative of his country’s cinema at the big international festivals. He competed several times in Cannes, Venice and Berlin, presenting Acuérdate de vivir at the first edition of the San Sebastian Festival in 1953. He won eight Ariel awards, the accolades given from 1947 by the Mexican Academy of Film Arts and Sciences: the first Ariel Award for best film went to La barraca.

Although he mainly cultivated melodrama, he touched on numerous genres including crime, musical, fantasy and rural drama, also producing a western series with Antonio Aguilar. Outstanding among his films are titles such as Macario, La otra (1946) – a criminal drama about twin sisters embodied by Dolores del Río, reproduced in a Hollywood remake starring Bette Davis, Dead Ringer (1964) – La diosa arrodillada (The Kneeling Goddess,1947), En la palma de tu mano (In the Palm of Your Hand,1951), La noche avanza (The Night Falls,1952) – starring an unscrupulous Basque pelota champion –, El rebozo de soledad (1952), El niño y la niebla (The Boy and the Fog,1953), Camelia (1954), Sombra verde (1954), La escondida (The Hidden One,1956) and Miércoles de ceniza (Ash Wednesday,1958). In 1955 he was chosen by the Disney studios to direct one of its productions filmed in Mexico, The Littlest Outlaw.

In the early sixties he turned his attention to other topics, revealing an obvious preference for social and political issues. However, Rosa blanca, about the expropriation of petrol in Mexico, was forbidden and had its release delayed until 1972. In Días de otoño, starring the same couple as Macario, Ignacio López Tarso and the actress discovered by Gavaldón, Pina Pellicer, narrates the dark tale of a woman abandoned by her fiancé who tells everyone she has married the man and is pregnant with his child. Next he collaborated with Gabriel García Márquez and Carlos Fuentes on the screenplay of El gallo de oro (1964), a parable about a fighting cock according to a story by Juan Rulfo.

In the first half of the seventies he produced three films in Spain: Don Quijote cabalga de nuevo (Don Quixote Rides Again,1973), with Fernando Fernán Gómez and Cantinflas in the parts of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, and two dramas starring Amparo Rivelles, La madrastra (1974) and La playa vacía (1977). He continued to work until 1979, when he directed his last film, Cuando tejen las arañas, a drama about a young girl and her sexual repression. He died in Mexico City in 1986.

Following its screening at the San Sebastian Festival, the retrospective, made up of some 25 titles, several of them restored by the Cineteca Nacional de México and by Filmoteca UNAM, will run at Filmoteca Española, in Madrid, during the months of October and November.


COMPLETE YOUR LIBRARY

We remind you that you can purchase books of the previous years retrospectives on the
Festival's Publications store

 
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La otra (1946)
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    La diosa arrodillada (1947)
  • El rebozo de soledad (1952)
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    La noche avanza (1952)
  • Camelia (1954)
  • Después de la tormenta (1955)
  • La escondida (1956)
  • Miércoles de ceniza (1958)
  • Flor de Mayo (1959)
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    Macario (1960)
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    Rosa blanca (1961)
  • Días de otoño (1963)
  • Don Quijote cabalga de nuevo (1973)

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