A CINEMA WITH A UNIQUE IDENTITY
Terry Gilliam (Minnesota, 1939) is a filmmaker in the broadest meaning of the word: director, screenwriter, actor, producer and animator. Born in the United States and naturalized British in the 1960s, Gilliam was one of the original members of Monty Python, a key comedy group in the Anglo-Saxon scene of the 1960s and 1970s. His passion for the seventh art came out of names like Georges Mélies, Walt Disney and Stanley Kubrick.
After proving his talent in the world of television, the short film would be his gateway to the seventh art, Story Time and Miracle of Flight would give way to his debut in the feature film with his Monty Python partner, Terry Jones. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) became a classic and one of the best comedies of all time.
Gilliam would try his luck behind the cameras alone with Jabberwocky (1977) and Time Bandits (1981); During the same period, he worked as an actor and Screenwriter in the outstanding comedy set in the times of Jesus Christ, Monty Python’s Life of Brian directed by Terry Jones. Jones and Gilliam would team up again as directors in 1983 to shoot The Meaning of Life, although the uncontested recognition of the industry would come with Brazil (1985), a satire that received two Oscar nominations, one of them for the filmmaker himself for Best Original Screenplay.
At the end of the 1980s, he directed what is known as his “trilogy of imagination” with The Adventures of Baron Munchausen; a film shot in Belchite (Aragón), applauded by specialized critics, and awarded with four Oscar nominations and three BAFTA awards.
The 90s would start with The Fisher King (1991), a film starring Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams -who received a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for his performance-. The film was presented at the Venice Film Festival and received the Silver Lion for Gilliam as best director. Four years later, he directed 12 Monkeys, another definite success selected in Berlin; a feature film starring hugh Hollywood actors like Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt who, as a matter of fact, then received the definitive film industry endorsement with a Golden Globe and the nomination to an Oscar. At the end of the decade he directed Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, with Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro, which became a cult title selected for the Palme d’Or at Cannes.
The new century started with the convoluted filming of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a revision of Cervantes’ most popular work which was finally canceled although it brought about a documentary about its frustrated creation process.
The Brothers Grimm and Tideland marked his return behind the camera, before initiating another project fraught with challenges: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Hugh Ledger’s last acting job: The Dark Night ‘s Joker left it unfinished after his death. Terry thought of canceling the film but finally decided to conclude the footage with three other actors to complete the character (Jude Law, Johnny Deep and Colin Farrell).
The latest films by the award-winning filmmaker are The Zero Theorem, presented in Venice, and The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, the “cursed” project that was finally shot in Spain and was released at the Cannes Film Festival.
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), Isabel Coixet (2020) and Gonzalo Suárez (2021).