Film Director Antonio Giménez-Rico Dies At 82

The director, former president of the Film Academy, has died in Madrid because of the covid
The film director Antonio Giménez-Rico has died this Friday in Madrid at the age of 82 because of the covid, family sources have confirmed. Giménez-Rico directed some of the great works of Spanish rural-social cinema. In an interview with EL PAÍS six years ago, he commented: “I have never made the films I wanted, but the ones I could, although, yes, never the ones I didn’t want. Of the 17 feature films that I have directed, almost all have been commissioned ”. In this way, he adapted the novels of Miguel Delibes in Family Portrait (based on My idolatrous son Sisi ), Las ratas and El disputado voz del Señor Cayo ; Jarrapellejos , by Felipe Trigo, and First and last love, by Torcuato Luca de Tena, and he was once able to film original stories, written with him or with others. Cinema lover, he became very popular for being one of the regular commentators on José Luis Garci’s television program ¡Qué grande es el cine !. In addition, she chaired the Academy from 1988 to 1992. And above all, in her most personal work, the documentary Vestida de Azul (1983) stands out, the story of six trans women in Madrid in the early eighties, a rare sight among the films of those years, which tended to joke rather than testimony.

Giménez-Rico was born in Burgos in 1938. Passionate about cinema, he never thought about dedicating himself professionally to it, because he felt like a kid from the provinces without contacts. Until one day, with a degree in Law, he saw Plácido, by Luis García Berlanga. “I understood that you could make a close-up cinema that didn’t have to be like John Ford’s, popular without being vulgar, funny without being vulgar, critical without being solemn. So I went to Madrid to try to get into the cinema. It was clear to me that what I had to do was learn the trade and I tried to get into a shoot, “he told Diego Galán in 2015. And it began in 1963 in Needed a boy, by Antonio Mercero. He quickly rose through the ranks and managed to direct in 1967 The Bone,a mocking approach to the myth of El Cid co-written with, among others, José María Otero, and in which Cassen, José María Caffarel, Charo López, and Alfonso del Real appeared. “I had a lot of problems with censorship, they even prohibited me from filming in natural settings so that the story wouldn’t be recognized. The film was not a great success, but it had a normal commercial career and I was able to do the next one, The Chronicon. The censorship didn’t go well either, because the main characters in the script were the Catholic Monarchs, who were converted into counts: “The humor bothered them and that’s what I told Berlanga when he reproached me for not having followed that path. I agreed that humor is a penetrating and incisive instrument and that irony is the best scalpel to analyze society, but I had so many problems that I decided to focus on dramas and melodramas ”.

That is why he spent a few years working on television, in series such as Plinio, Crónicas de un pueblo, Cuentos y leyendas … until in 1976 he started his most serious film career with Family Portrait. With Jarrapellejos (1988) he competed at the Berlinale and won the Goya for best-adapted screenplay, a work he did together with Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón. Just that year began his presidency of the Academy, which he headed until 1992. And in 1988 he also released a more personal story, Little Spanish Soldier, co-written with Rafael Azcona: “I have learned so much with nobody. His obsession was to build the story well, for the films to have a solid structure and for the action to progress. It’s what he taught me. The viewer must be entertained with narrative skill ”.

Antonio Giménez-Rico Dies
From the left, the camera operator and producer Teo Escamilla, Nacha, Tamara, Giménez Rico and Eva, on the set of ‘Vestida de azul’

He created another of his most special stories in 1983 with the documentary Vestida de azul, whose production the filmmaker recalled: “At the end of the Franco regime, transsexual shows began to proliferate that imitated Lola Flores, Sara Montiel, and other stars. There was a place, Centauros, where we used to go film directors, writers, and other cultural people. We had fun, although with some respect. It wasn’t like going to the zoo. I did not know anything about this world and I began to wonder what was the reason, sociological or psychological, that led these boys to complicate their lives wanting to become women. First, a movie was proposed to use, but he understood that it was better to give a voice to the trans women who star in Dressed in Blue. “Each of them exemplifies a different archetype and I would have liked to find, for example, a civil engineer who was transsexual, but it was not possible. What was clear to me is that I did not want to make a morbid or moralizing film, I simply wanted to show reality ”, Giménez-Rico said two years ago when the essay Dressed in Blue was published. Social and cinematographic analysis of the transsexual woman in the years of the Spanish Transition, by Valeria Vargas.

In the nineties, he sought to open up to other genres, and in addition to bringing Delibes’s Las ratas (1997) to the screen, he directed the love drama Tres Palabras (1993), with Maribel Verdú, Fernando Guillén, and Fernando Guillén Cuervo, who mixed the fifties and boleros, and Hotel Danubio (2003), a thriller that also takes place in the 1950s. In recent years he was also a teacher at the Madrid Community Film School.

Amelia Warner– After graduating from NYU with a master's degree in history, She was also a columnist for many local newspapers. Amelia Warner mostly covers Entertainment topics, but at times loves to write about movie reviews as well.

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