Elisa, vida mía is a 1977 Spanish drama film written and directed by Carlos Saura. The film stars Saura’s long-term companion and frequent collaborator, Geraldine Chaplin. She stars alongside, Fernando Rey who won the Best Actor award at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival for his performance.
‘ELISA, VIDA MIA’ By Vincent Canby Published: March 11, 1983
NEAR the end of Carlos Saura’s ”Elisa, Vida Mia,” Fernado Rey, in the role of an aging ascetic named Luis, talks movingly to his daughter, Elisa (Geraldine Chaplin), about his youthful artistic pretensions. He recalls that he used to spend hours and days polishing a letter, getting the syntax right, refining the thoughts and elevating the tone. Now, he admits, he prefers the spontaneous letter, unrefined, natural, with crossed-out words. Luis has no interest in Art. Continue reading
The initial idea for the film came from a specific reference to a cousin Angélica, in a scene from Ana and the wolves (Spanish: Ana y los lobos), director Carlos Saura’s previous work. In Ana and the wolves there is an inconsequential bit of dialogue that occurs in the private conversation between the family matriarch and the title character. The old woman speaks of a certain cousin Angélica who, as a small child, coquettishly played with one of her sons. Building on that allusion, Saura and writer Rafael Azcona developed a script about the childhood memories of a man now in his mid forties and his flirtatious cousin, Angélica, on whom he had a crush when he was ten years old. These memories become the lure for the protagonist’s reencounter of his long suppressed past. Continue reading
Director Carlos Saura’s Carmen develops a fictional story revolving around the rehearsals of Georges Bizet’s opera about the brash and colorful cigarette factory woman and her dalliance with the soldier Don José, and eventual love for Escamillo, the bullfighter. Saura introduces exciting flamenco dance scenes and a love story between Antonio (Antonio Gades), the choreographer of the opera, and the actress playing Carmen, Laura del Sol. Joan Sutherland and Paco de Lucía also perform segments from Bizet’s 1875 opera. The mix of magical choreography, rousing flamenco dances, and operatic insertions as well as the tongue-in-cheek parodies of the French opera and foreign stereotypes of Spaniards keeps most viewers well entertained throughout. Saura’s Carmen won an award for “Artistic Contribution” and for “Technical Achievement” at the Cannes Film Festival in 1983, another award for “Technical Achievement” at the 1983 Venice Film Festival, and the “Best Foreign Language Film” award at the 1984 British Academy Awards. It was the second in a trilogy of films choreographed in a similar style by Antonio Gades. Continue reading
José, Paco and Luis are three friends and war veterans who one day decide to go hunting in the company of Enrique, a 20-year-old on his first outing. They will practice their favorite sport on Paco’s land, where not too long ago an important Civil War battle took place. An edgy thriller as well as a heavily symbolic study of hatred and rivalry, the hunt becomes an allegory of war.
Moving back and forth between present and past, Antonieta tells the story of Antonieta Rivas Mercado – a writer, social activist, and important patron of the arts – against a backdrop of the political turmoils of the Mexican Revolution and its aftermath.
This is a curious and little-known film from Saura’s best period. Co-scripted by Rafael Azcona, the film is virtually a two-hander about a husband and wife (Per Oscarsson and Geraldine Chaplin) discovering role playing to supplement their apparently repressed sex life and going a little bit too far. There is a shade of Virginia Woolf here, and more than a shade of the later Buñuel (who learned most of his tricks from Azcona, anyway). However, what Buñuel does with a sledge-hammer and schoolboy glee, Saura does with subtlety and bitter irony. Continue reading
While attending an international conference which seeks to reduce the incidence of the use of torture by nations around the globe, a movie director (Jose Luis Gomez) encounters a woman (Geraldine Chaplin) whom he decides to cast in a play about state torture. As events proceed, he and the woman, the wife of a dentist, become lovers. All along, however, right-wing types have been persecuting, and the whole endeavor goes sour. Continue reading