Gonzalo Suárez (Oviedo, 1934) is an essential reference in Spanish cinema, awarded in festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Chicago, Paris and San Sebastián. After studying Philosophy and Letters in Madrid and moving into the art world as a theater actor and painter, he went to Paris eager to get away from the gray Spain of the time. Upon his return in 1958, he began his career as a journalist under the pseudonym Martin Girard. His interviews and reports were early pieces of the so-called “New Journalism”. In Barcelona in the sixties, he published his first books: Trece Veces Trece, De Cuerpo Presente, El Roedor de Fortimbrás and Rocabruno Vence a Ditirambo, among others. In 1966 and 1969 respectively, Vicente Aranda filmed Fata Morgana and Las crueles based on stories by Suárez, who also collaborated on the script of the first one.
For his debut behind the camera, he took characters from his novels and shot the short film Ditirambo Vela por Nosotros (1966). A year later, he converted it into a feature film, Ditirambo, starring himself, followed by a series of more experimental films: El Extraño Caso Del Doctor Fausto and Aoom. In 1974 he directed the acclaimed film adaptation of the novel by Leopoldo Alas “Clarín”, La Regenta, and later shot, among others, Beatriz (1975) and Reina Zanahoria (1978).
In 1984 he used the characters of his debut film, Rocabruno (played by Paco Rabal) and Ditirambo (played by José Sacristán), for the film Epilogue. In 1985 he shot the TV adaptation of Emilia Pardo Bazán’s masterpiece, Los Pazos de Ulloa, and in 1987 he premiered Remando al Viento, the chronicle of the summer that Lord Byron and Mary and Percy Shelley spent together in Switzerland, in which Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein. The film was shot with a very young Hugh Grant and was one of the greatest successes of his career. After this film, he directed Don Juan en los Infiernos (1991), La Reina Anónima (1992), El Detective y la Muerte (1994), Mi Nombre es Sombra (1996), El Portero (2000) and Oviedo Express (2007), among others.
Throughout the decades, Gonzalo Suárez’s cinematographic work has maintained a very close relationship with literature, either because the characters come from that world, because his stories are adaption or interpretation of literary myths, or because Suárez´ true passion for writing makes his films are an excellent example of writing with a camera. During his career as a film director, he kept publishing books, such as Gorila en Hollywood (1980), La reina roja (1981), Ciudadano Sade (1999), El Hombre que Soñaba Demasiado (2005), Las Fuentes del Nilo (2011) and La Musa Intrusa (2019). His latest publication, El Sueño de Malinche, with illustrations by Pablo Auladell, has an animated film version that can also be seen on June 16 at the Huesca Film Festival.
This year’s Luis Buñuel Award highlights the lifetime achievement of a director with a unique perspective, and defined as ahead of his time, and a fundamental figure within the seventh art. The Asturian filmmaker thus joins the list of prominent personalities that have received this award: Bertrand Tavernier, Marisa Paredes, Stephen Frears, Carlos Saura, Ángela Molina, Jean-Claude Carrière, Costa-Gavras, Álex de la Iglesia , the Taviani brothers and Isabel Coixet, among many others.
The Luis Buñuel Award honours a career and a professional life in the world of cinema. It was established in 1998 gathering the feelings of the Management Committee, after the festival held several ceremonies in Buñuel’s honour and following the approval of his sons Juan Luis and Rafael.
The initial trophy was created by the renowned artist from Huesca Eduardo Cajal, produced in bronze and detachable. It represented the threshold of a door and, according to the author, was inspired by the feature film The Exterminating Angel.
Nine years afterwards, the image of the trophy was changed, concretely in the 34th edition, by the artist from Zaragoza Fernando Sinaga. It was a spread out fan that, according to the author, represented at the same time ‘seduction’ and the idea of ‘the secret and the occult’.
In the 42nd edition, a new trophy was requested to Huesca born artist Antonio Santos by the new direction. The new award, christened as The Chorus Girl, broke with the traditional trophy concept. The work, designed by Huesca born artist Antonio Santos, consisted of different parts that make up the figure of a chorus girl.
Since 2020, the designer of the trophy is Isidro Ferrer, Design National Award winner, a Madrid-born artist based in Huesca.
The trophy portraits an ant, that is what the authors says: “Luis Buñuel’s entomological fondness and training is known, also his inclination to introduce several arthropods in his films”. The list that feeds his particular zoo is extensive: spiders, scorpions, crabs, butterflies, bees, flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, cockroaches, neuropterans, beetles. This varied fauna that sprinkles his extensive filmography holds symbolic significance.
One of the most iconic scenes that best define this Buñuelian drive for insects might be that of the ants of his first movie An Andalusian Dog, from which the inspiration for this trophy-homage springs.
Among the most outstanding personalities who have received this award, there can be found José Luis Borau (1998), Michel Piccoli (1999), Silvia Pinal (2000), Patrice Leconte (2001), Aki Kaurismaki (2002), Jerzy Kawalerowicz (2003), Jean Troell (2004), André Techiné (2005), Pedro Armendáriz Jr. (2006), Vittorio y Paolo Taviani (2007), Bertrand Tavernier (2008), Theo Angelopoulos (2009), Ángela Molina (2010), Elías Querejeta (2011), Stephen Fears (2012), Adolpho Arrietta (2013), Carlos Saura (2014), Laurent Cantet (2015), Jean Claude Carrière (2016), Costa Gavras and Alex de la Iglesia (2017), José Sacristán (2018), Marisa Paredes (2019) and Isabel Coixet (2020).