Jesús “Jess” Franco (born Jesús Franco Manera; 12 May 1930 – 2 April 2013) was a Spanishfilm director, writer, cinematographer and actor. His career took off in 1961 with his cult classic The Awful Dr. Orloff, which received wide distribution in the United States and the UK. Though he had some American box office success with Necronomicon (1967), Ninety-Nine Women (1968) and his two Christopher Lee films, The Bloody Judge and Count Dracula, he never achieved wide commercial success. Franco moved from Spain to France in 1970 so that he could make more violent and sexual films, and it was at this point that his career began to go downhill commercially, as he turned to low-budget filmmaking with a heavier accent on adult films. Although he produced a number of well-received, low budget horror films in the early 70’s (Dracula vs Frankenstein, Vampyros Lesbos, A Virgin Among the Living Dead), many people in the industry considered him a porn director due to the huge number of X-rated adult films he began churning out. Franco returned to low-budget horror in a brief comeback period from 1980-1983 (Bloody Moon, Mondo Cannibale, Oasis of the Zombies), but after 1983, his career took a second downturn as he returned to pornographic films. He died in 2013 at the age of 82. (Source: Wikipedia).
Sad news of the passing of Spanish film director Jesús “Jess” Franco. An “interesting” director, I’ve always felt that his artistic ambitions were more often than not hampered or curtailed by lack of proper financial investment for his numerous projects. That and the fact that he was stark raving mad (or deeply eccentric, take your pick)! Franco often worked with actor Sir Christopher Lee, who played both Count Dracula and Dr Fu Manchu under Franco’s direction. A unique director who will be sadly missed.
RIP Jesús Franco (1930-2013), and thank you for all of your zany, offbeat, and outlandish work!
“Esta es una historia contada por un idiota, lleno de ruido y furia, que no tiene ninguna importancia”, recita Antonio Mayans, uno de los actores fetiche de Jesús Franco, en pleno arrebato políglota de variantes de la cita shakespeariana, al final de Al Pereira vs. Alligator Ladies, el testamento cinematográfico del cineasta, que llegó a los cines, en distribución limitada, el pasado 22 de marzo. Al fondo de la escena, un grupo baila caóticamente. Sigue bailando incluso después de que se apague el fondo musical y la voz del director haya pronunciado un casi inaudible “¡corten!”. La cámara se mueve hasta mostrar a un Jesús Franco a la izquierda del plano, que, tras disculparse con sus actrices, suelta un “Bueno… ya está” antes de un corte a negro que ya va a resultar definitivo. Al Pereira vs. Alligator Ladies es una obra capaz de lograr que lo que hoy se entiende por una película low cost parezca, por comparación, un trabajo sobre-producido: también es el testimonio de que Franco, fallecido hoy en Málaga a los 82 años debido a un ictus, ha seguido jugando y divirtiéndose hasta el final, logrando una síntesis crepuscular de su mitología, hecha de apropiaciones (los ecos residuales de Fu-Manchú), autoconciencia (el efecto Meninas de determinadas escenas y ese Al Pereira —personaje que encarnó el propio cineasta en Dowtown (1975)— reconvertido en carcamal moralista), erotismo deconstruido y, sobre todo, un placer entendido como principio rector. Y, también, Al Pereira vs. Alligator Ladies demuestra que, en la vida de Jesús Franco, ha habido ruido y furia hasta el final, aunque, de idiotez, más bien poca.
Link to an obituary article (in Spanish) on Jesús Franco from El País.com.
Below, you will find 13 must-see new Spanish films from the 15th Spanish Week at New Horizons Cinema in Poland, Wroclaw - a film feast dedicated to all the people who once fall in love with Spain and spanish way of living.
“Ocho Apellidos Vascos” (Spanish Affair)
Director: Emilio Martínez Lázaro
Rafael, a Seville citizen who has never left the Spanish region of Andalucia, decides to leave his homeland to follow Amaia, a Basque girl unlike other women he has known.
Ane’s life turns around when, week after week, she receives a bunch of flowers at home. Always at the same time and always without a senders
“Los Tontos y Los Estúpidos” (The Silly Ones and the Stupid Ones)
Director: Roberto Castón
A group of movie professionals go into a studio to, over a single day, read / test/ count / live the story of The Silly Ones and The Stupid
Ones. Sitting around a table and following the directions of the
director, the actors show us the evolution of the creating process and
how the characters through the trials, indications, lighting or props,
that at first were just a story captured on a script becomes a film, in
cinema, the great optical illusion, the visual lies that allows us to
enjoy the stories we see on the screen.
“Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi” (Witching and Bitching)
Director: Álex de la Iglesia
A gang of escaping jewellery thieves get trapped by a coven of witches.
“10.000 Noches en Ninguna Parte” (10.000 Nights Nowhere)
Director: Ramón Salazar
The story of a son who is afraid of everything. Overwhelmed by his dull life, one day he decides to flee. He starts a journey to nowhere, living
other lives. And he finds out that if one day you no longer want to
grow, it’s not all that bad. You just have to learn to fly, to fly far
away. It’s a story about taking important decisions; and about how each
time we make a choice, somewhere within us we make exactly the opposite
Six characters from six different cities around the world (Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Buenos Aires, Rome and Pamplona)
experience an event in their lives that kills something inside them.
Unable to cope with these deaths, they are lost and without direction.
For different reasons, they will all travel to Pamplona during San
Fermin Festival 2012. This dramatic scenario will force them to confront
themselves. The relationships with each other will help them face and
overcome the conflicts that are killing their inner selves.
“La Gran Familia Española” (Family United)
Director: Daniel Sánchez Arévalo
Five brothers reunite for a wedding at the family estate on the day that Spain plays in the 2010 World Cup final.
Director: Daniel Monzón
El Niño is a young boy who lives in La Línea de la Concepción, close to Rock of Gibraltar, repairing and testing motorboats. After a night of
party with his friend El Compi, they meet Halil, a young Muslim who has
an uncle, Rachid, a drug dealer. Convinced by El Compi, El Niño accepts
to be a drug mule, crossing it from África to Spain in a motorboat. In
the opposite side of the law is Jesús, a veteran police officer who,
helped by his partner Eva, is looking for El Inglés, an important drug
dealer who operates in the Rock of Gibraltar.
Director: Marcelo Pineyro
Ismael Tchou (8 years old), takes a train towards Barcelona. He has run away from home because he wants to find Felix, his father, whom he never
knew. His only clue is an address of an apartment in Barcelona, written
in the return address of a letter to his mother. Once there, he manages
to find the apartment, but instead of finding his father, he finds an
elegant woman in her fifties, Nora, who happens to be Felix’s mother.
Felix never said anything to Nora of the existence of that child. But
once she locates him, he does not deny his paternity. Nora, after notice
to the child’s mother, Alika, decides to take him to meet Felix. They
begin a journey to La Costa Brava, where Felix lives. Meanwhile, Alika
and Luis, her husband, travel to the coast in search of the boy. This
will make all the characters try to settle their accounts with the past.
Your blog is incredible! I'd like to request the film Y Tu Mamá También directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Thank your for your kind words! I had just thought of doing a post on Y Tu Mama Tambien, so seeing your request makes it more of a reality. Thank you for the request, support and for giving my blog a look. Expect a post up sometime soon!
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