Segura, Santiago

(1965- )
   Although he has directed few features, Santiago Segura is a key personality in contemporary Spanish film, not simply as the creator of a very personal set of references, but also as a creative influence. Like many stars, he has cultivated an image that audiences can easily relate to: fat, long-haired, unkempt, he looks like a cartoon version of the school geek and has been regarded as a response to a certain film culture based on glamor and taste.
   Segura studied film, and his early shorts (in which he created the character of Evilio, very close to his own persona in later films) show his inclination for the less respectable reaches of popular culture. Perturbado (Disturbed, 1993) was awarded the "best short" Goya in 1994. By then he had already become an actor and soon became an alter ego to director Álex de la Iglesia in the latter's films. He had a small part in De la Iglesia's Acción Mutante (Mutant Action, 1993), followed with a more substantial co-starring role in El día de la bestia (Day of the Beast, 1995), as a "satanist from Carabanchel," which cemented his image. Following El día de la bestia, he was in two more films by De la Iglesia: the international production Perdita Durango (1997) and in Muertos de risa (Death by Laughter, 1999), where he starred as an unfunny TV comedian. Although they did not collaborate again, his image was associated with De la Iglesia's world. Other roles include La niña de tus ojos (The Girl of Your Dreams, Fernando Trueba, 1998), El oro de Moscú (Moscow's Gold, Jesús Bonilla, 2003), and Una de Zombies (Zombie Movie, Miguel Ángel Lamata, 2003). He exploited his gross image in Isi / Disi Amor a lo bestia (AC/DC: Love in a Big Way, Chema de la Peña, 2004) and its sequel, Isi /Disi Alto voltaje (AC/DC: High Voltage, Miguel Ángel Lamata, 2006), in which he played a hard rock fan.
   In 1998, Segura directed his first feature, Torrente: El brazo tonto de la ley (Torrente: The Silly Arm of Law), which he also wrote. This satire on a corrupt Franco-loving policeman went on to become one of the biggest box-office hits in the history of Spanish cinema. Although intended as a mockery of trash and reactionary attitudes, the complete lack of substance or intellectual content had the effect of promoting the very same attitudes it was supposed to satirize. The film has spawned two sequels: Torrente: Misión en Marbella (Mission in Marbella, 2001) and Torrente 3: El protector (Torrente 3: The Protector, 2005).
   In addition to his film appearances, Segura has become an indefatigable self-promoter: his appearances on Spanish TV stations when publicizing his Torrente film have become something of a media cliché.

Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. . 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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