- (1949-1998)Ricardo Franco was born in Madrid, and his earliest jobs in the film industry were in projects directed by his uncle Jesús Franco. Like the latter, he worked as an editor, composer, actor, and writer, as well as director. Franco's first film, El desastre de Annual (The Annual Disaster, 1970), co-scripted with writer Javier Marías and produced by filmmaker Pere Portabella, was an experimental project that ran against the grain of the film industry, in which he showed an unusual interest in style. The film was an irreverent reflection on the 1921 military defeat that was, at the time, regarded as a humiliation for Spain and was consequently banned by the authorities. In spite of its importance in terms of aesthetics and the expression of a very personal voice, the film was never properly appreciated. Pascual Duarte (1976), produced by Elias Querejeta, was the first of Franco's films to have a critical impact. It was a characteristically "difficult" project, based on a novel by Nobel Prize winner Camilo José Cela, which followed the life story of a poor man who resorts to delinquency during the dictatorship. After this, Franco's career became even more uneven. Unable to find support for his personal projects, he worked as an actor (for instance, in a small part in Pedro Almodóvar's Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón, 1980) and took refuge in television, where he did undistinguished work for a number of series.Two films from his late career stand out. Después de tantos años (After So Many Years, 1994) is a follow-up to Jaime Chávarri's El desencanto (The Disenchantment, 1978), taking over where the documentary on the Panero family left off, to follow the characters through the Transition. La buena estrella (The Good Star, 1997) is regarded as one of the best Spanish films of the 1990s, and for the critics it meant a return to form. Written and directed by Franco, it told the story of a middle-aged man who gives shelter to a young woman of the streets, establishing a deep relationship with her. A few years later, her sometimes boyfriend returns, and a fascinating triangle of affections is developed.This film was followed by the less-successful (but also very personal) Lágrimas negras (Black Tears), Franco's last film before his death from a heart attack in 1998. Although less moving, it took up similar themes of obsession and deep feelings.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.
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