- (1926- )Vicente Aranda was born in Barcelona, but started his professional life as an immigrant in Venezuela, in the world of business. He returned to Spain in 1959, and took on different office jobs before settling on cinema, which was, as he claimed, his real vocation. His earliest films show the influence of the Catalan artistic avant-garde of the 1960s that would later manifest itself cinematically as Escuela de Barcelona. His earliest films were Fata Morgana (Left-Hand Fate), a film that prefigured elements from the Escuela avant-garde and Brillante porvenir (Promising Future; co-scripted with critic and historian Román Gubern), both made in 1965, as well as Las crueles (Cruel Women, 1969). These films evidenced a playful awareness of popular literature and had a strong literary input. Fata Morgana, co-written with Gonzalo Suárez, is a science fiction-cum-thriller art film about innocence, murder, and the end of the world, and is regarded as one of the most important films of the decade in Spain.With the demise of the Escuela de Barcelona in the late 1960s, Aranda was forced to move on to less artistically ambitious films. For a decade, he worked on the margins of the film industry, even trying his hand at cheap horror and thrillers. La novia ensangrentada (The Blood-spattered Bride, 1972) was an offbeat vampire film based on Sheridan LeFanu's story "Carmila." It was his first real literary adaptation, and literature would remain a recurring source of inspiration throughout his career: over the years, he tackled some of the best novels of contemporary Spanish literature, for instance Si te dicen que caí (If They Tell You I Fell, 1989) and Tiempo de silencio (Time of Silence, 1986), as well as thrillers by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán and other noir writers (Asesinato en el comité central / Murder at the Central Committee, 1982), and other properties with literary sources such as Juana la Loca (2001), Carmen (2003), and Tirante el Blanco (2006). As the Transition brought a new permissiveness, he moved into more issue-centered (and often sex-themed) films. At this stage, he began to concentrate on a transparently realistic style rather than the stylish aesthetics most prominent in Fata morgana. One of his earliest successes was Cambio de sexo (Sex Change, 1977), his first collaboration with Victoria Abril, who would go on to become his favorite actress and was featured in 11 of his films.Sexuality and the past were two key themes in the remainder of his career, and they recur centrally throughout his films of the 1980s, including La muchacha de las bragas de oro (The Girl with the Golden Knickers, 1980), El amante bilingüe (Bilingual Lover, 1993), and Si te dicen que caí, all of them based on novels by Juan Marsé, as well as in Tiempo de silencio, which takes inspiration from Luis Martín Santos, one of the greatest Spanish novelists of the 20th century. Where this novel used modernist stream of consciousness to convey a story of poverty and survival during the postwar era, Aranda decided to present the grim locations (a brothel, a dump, a prison) in exacting detail. In that decade, he also directed some of the best instances of Barcelona noir, such as Asesinato en el Comité Central, Fanny Pelopaja (1984), and a two-part biopic on an ex-terrorist, El Lute / El Lute II (1987, 1988).Amantes (Lovers), in 1991, came as something of a revelation to critics and audiences. Based on a real murder case that took place during the postwar era, it featured a love triangle with shifting allegiances and complex power relations, and a restrained style that contrasted with the emotional excesses portrayed. During the 1990s, Aranda alternated between taut thriller-melodramas such as Intruso (Intruder, 1993) and Celos (Jealousy, 1999), and historical frescoes. Libertarias (Freedom Fighters, 1996), one of his most cherished projects, was a wide-ranging narrative on the shared experience of a group of radical left-wing women during the Civil War. In the 2000s, he has insisted on a historical perspective, making Juana la Loca, Carmen, and Tirante el Blanco consecutively. Desire and betrayal, themes that have obsessed him since the 1970s, are still present in his most recent films.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.
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Aranda, Vicente — (1926 ) Vicente Aranda was born in Barcelona, but started his professional life as an immigrant in Venezuela, in the world of business. He returned to Spain in 1959, and took on different office jobs before settling on cinema, which was, as he … Guide to cinema
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