Film director Imanol Uribe has recently released his latest movie, Miel de Naranjas. The launch of his new film was preceded by its success at the Malaga Spanish Film Festival, where it won the Silver Biznaga awards for Best Director and Best New Screenwriter, the latter to Remedios Crespo. Miel de Naranjas is the 15th feature film in the Uribe?s extensive career, in which he has also had other filmmaking tasks, such as producer and script-writer.
The decade of the 1980s and first half of the ?90s was the period in which the ETA terrorist group committed its largest and most indiscriminate attacks. In this context, for Spanish cinema
to take on this armed group was at the very least a tricky matter. However, quite a number of films did so at this time. Pedro Costa
in El Caso Almería
(1984), José Antonio de la Loma
in Goma 2
(1984), Ana Díez
in Ander y Yul
(1988), and other filmmakers like Mario Camus
, Manuel Macia
and Antonio Eceiza all turned their camera lenses on this critical problem, which cost so many lives and marked others forever. Among the directors who rose to the challenge was Imanol Uribe
.Uribe, born in San Salvador, El Salvador, received his film training at the Escuela Cinematográfica de Madrid (?Madrid Film School?). Before jumping into doing his first feature film, he gained experience shooting short films, both fiction and documentaries. In this latter genre, he got his first feature-length project and his first contact with issue of ETA in El Proceso de Burgos (The Burgos Trial) (1979).
On August 2, 1968, following the murder of police officer Melitón Manzanas in Irún, Spain, martial law was declared in Guipúzcoa and dozens of people were arrested. A high-profile summary trial was held in 1970 in the city of Burgos for this crime and the death of the Spanish Guardia Civil José Pardines. The documentary El Proceso de Burgos (The Burgos Trial) brings together testimonies of the accused and imprisoned persons from this court martial proceeding.
After this debut, Uribe made his first fiction feature film, La Fuga de Segovia (Escape from Segovia) (1981), about the escape through a tunnel of a group of prisoners from the penitentiary of the town of Segovia in Spain?s Castilla-León region. The screenplay is based on the actual escape of 29 captives, including 24 ETA militants, which took place from the Segovia prison in 1969. The film starred Xabier Elorriaga, Álex Angulo and Guillermo Montesinos.
Xabier Elorriaga would also appear in the cast of Imanol Uribe?s next film, La Muerte de Mikel (Michael?s Death) (1984), but this time right the leading role to Imanol Arias. Arias plays a chemist whose sexual orientation was not accepted by his comrades in the Basque nationalist movement. His death, shrouded in mystery, would be used as a political tool by the radical right.
The script written by José Antonio Rebolledo
as well as Uribe himself was very daring for its day, with the element of homosexuality in the story of a small town in Euskadi (the Basque Country) characterized by conservative traditions.
In 1994, Uribe
returned to the issue of ETA terrorism for one of his films. This was Días Contados
(?Running Out of Time?), his most-awarded film to-date, receiving 26 awards
and 16 nominations
, including the Concha de Oro
(Golden Shell) from the San Sebastian International Film Festival
and a Concha de Plata
(Silver Shell) for Javier Bardem
, for his performance as a drug addict. This film had great success at the Goya Awards
, too, where the leading couple, Carmelo Gómez
and Ruth Gabriel
, took the prizes in the categories of Best Actor
and Best New Actress
, respectively. Javier Bardem
was also awarded a Goya
in the category of Best Supporting Actor
, and Imanol Uribe
got the awards for Best Adapted Screenplay
and Best Director
. The movie also won the Goya for Best Film
and three others categories.
tells of when Antonio
, an ETA terrorist, and Charo
, a young drug addict, meet each other. The screenplay is based on the novel of the same name by Juan Madrid
. In the book, the leading character is a photographer who ETA makes into a guide. While doing this job, he meets two drug-addicted women neighbours who show him their world.Imanol Uribe?s
filmography is filled with literary adaptations in addition to Días Contados
, with six movies based on novels and, as in the case of Bwana
(1996), a theatre play.Bwana
takes a work for the theatre by Ignacio del Moral
, La Mirada del Hombre Oscuro
, to the big screen. While on their holidays, a family headed by the two characters played by María Barranco
and Andrés Pajares
, run into a needy illegal immigrant who doesn?t speak Spanish. This film about racism, moving between drama and comedy, was a new hit for the director of La Muerte de Mikel
at the San Sebastian Film Festival
, where it again won the Golden Shell
and was also recognized for its cinematography.
The sum total of literary works Uribe has made into films are rounded out by El Mono y el Caballo
, a novel by Andreu Martín
, from which came Adiós Pequeña
by Antonio Muñoz Molina
, La Carta Esférica
by Arturo Pérez Reverte
(Uribe keeping the original titles for the film versions of these last two), and A Boca de Noche
by Ángel García Roldán
, which became El Viaje de Carol
(Carol?s Journey) (2002). The latter was given the Crystal Bear
award at the Berlin Film Festival
Another of Uribe?s most popular films is El Rey Pasmado
(The Dumbfounded King) (1991), an adaptation from the work by Gonzalo Torrente Ballester Crónica del Rey Pasmado
. This film is about how King Phillip IV of Spain
is awed by the nude body of the courtesan Marfisa to the point that he wants to see the nude body of the queen despite the scandal and opposition his desire causes with the Church. Numerous members of the cast, such as Gabino Diego
, who played the king, Javier Gurruchaga
and María Barranco
were nominated for Goya Awards
, but only Juan Diego
, who played the priest Villaescusa, took home a Goya for Best Supporting Actor
latest premiere is Miel de Naranjas
, a drama which takes us back to the post-Spanish Civil War period like El Viaje de Carol
. The film shows the deep love between Carmen and Enrique, who is completing his military service in a court. Tired of the injustices he observes, he decides to go into active duty, although his life will be in danger.
Currently, Imanol Uribe
is working on a project about the life of the Argentine singer-songwriter Facundo Cabral
, murdered last year in Guatemala. This co-production between Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Spain still doesn?t have a complete cast, and the search is on to find an actor to play the lead role of the musician himself.