Camus, an unforgettable film career and great awards


Madrid, Sep 18 (EFE) .- The Spanish film director and screenwriter Mario Camus García, who died in his native Santander at the age of 86, has several unforgettable films to his credit, the result of a career that earned him important awards such as the Goya or the Golden Bear of Berlin.

Director of films of such renown in Spanish cinema as “La colmena” and “Los Santos Inocentes, he was part of the generation of the” new Spanish cinema “, along with Carlos Saura, Basilio Martín Patino, Miguel Picazo and José Luis Borau.

Mario Camus was born on April 20, 1935 in Santander, but when he was just six years old, he left with his family after the serious fire in the city, in which his father’s tailor shop burned down. He returned in 1944.

He began his working career at Radio Cantabria, but soon moved to Madrid to study Law and, together with Basilio Martín Patino, founded the film club of the colleges. He did not finish his degree because in 1957 he entered the Official Film School, where he graduated in Directing and of which he later became a teacher.

In the cinema, after collaborating with Saura in “Los golfos” (1959), in 1963 he made the short film “Luck” and his first feature film, “Los farsantes”.

Between 1964 and 1965 he wrote and directed the films “Young Sánchez”, based on a novel by Ignacio Aldecoa, of whom he was a close friend; “A woman dies” and “The visitor who did not ring the bell.”

In the sixties he directed the singer Raphael three times: “When you are not” (1966), “At sunset” (1967) and “Say what they say” (1968). Camus would remember years later that with them he received a lot of money. With Sara Montiel he shot “Esa mujer” (1968).

Also from that stage are: “Con el viento solano” (1966); “The return of Martín Rubio” (1967); “Soledad” (1967); “To live again” (1968); and the western “The wrath of the wind” (1970).

Later he directed the films “The Legend of the Mayor of Zalamea” (1973) or “The Birds of Baden-Baden” (1975), by Aldecoa, for which he received the second prize for the best film, the best Screenplay and the best Director. of the National Show Trade Union. Also “The young married woman” (1975) and “The days of the past” (1978), with Marisol and Antonio Gades.

The literary adaptations that he made in the eighties were the ones that gave him the greatest relevance. Thus, in 1980 he shot the Spanish Television (TVE) series “Fortunata y Jacinta”, which he himself had adapted from the work of Benito Pérez Galdós.

And in 1982 he began filming “La colmena”, based on the novel by Camilo José Cela, and winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin Festival (1983), as well as other awards such as the best film and best director of the Círculo de Cinematographic Writers (CEC); Artistic Merit Award and Best Film Award at the Alexandria Film Festival; or the first prize of the International Center of Arts, Letters and Cinema (CIDALC), of France.

He then shot “Los Santos Inocentes”, about the work of Miguel Delibes, with which, among others, he received the Ecumenical Award for best film at the Cannes Film Festival (1984), the award for Artistic Merit and the best film in the Alexandria Film Festival and the award for best film at the Durban and Varna Festivals. Delibes dedicated a book to him with the phrase: “To Mario, who triumphed and triumphed me”.

From 1985 is the film “Old Music”, which was followed by: “The House of Bernarda Alba” (1987), which he wrote and directed; the series “La forja de un rebelde” (1988), which won the Antena de Oro 90 Award; “After the dream” (1992); and “Shadows of a battle” (1993), which won two Goya Awards (original screenplay and male supporting role).

Also, “Own love” (1994) and “Adosados” and “The color of the clouds”, which he wrote and directed.

As a screenwriter, he participated, in addition to “Los golfos” (1962) and “Llanto por un bandido” (1964), by Carlos Saura, in “El que Ensemble” (1965), “Chicas de club” (1972), “Truhanes “(1983) and” Marbella, a five-star hit “(1985).

Also “Luces de bohemia” (1985), by Miguel Angel Díez; and “Werther” (1986), “Beltenebros” (1992), and “The bird of happiness” (1993), the latter three by her friend Pilar Miró. And “A place in the world” (1994); “Beyond the garden” (1996), by Pedro Olea; and “Roma” (2004), by Adolfo Aristaráin, among others.

For TVE he wrote popular series such as “Know You Spain”; “If the stones could speak”; “The truckers” or “Curro Jiménez” -Camus was a good friend of the actor Álvaro de Luna-.

From 2002 it is “The beach of the greyhounds” and, after five years of absence from the cinema, in 2007 it premiered “The meadow of the stars”.

In 2015 he published the book “These things remained”, with twelve short stories about his life.

Apart from the Goya de Honor (2011), Camus received numerous national and international awards, among which the following stand out: the Golden Bear at the Berlin Festival 1983 for “La colmena”; National Film Award 1985, Goya 1993 to the best Original Screenplay delivered in 1994 for “Sombra en una battle”, and the 2009 Demetrio Pisondera Award at the Torrelavega International Short Film Festival.

His life and career were collected in the book “Occupation of humble people, Mario Camus”, by Juan Carlos Frugone (1984).

Camus used to comment that he had to adapt Baroja’s “Los amores tardíos” to the cinema. In 2018, in a seminar of the summer courses in San Lorenzo de El Escorial that he attended, he commented that he did not think much about cinema and that, when they talked about him, it gave him the feeling that they were referring to another person. Of course, he explained, at night he always played a movie, but “all from 40 or 50 years ago.”

Mario Camus lived in Ruiloba (Cantabria). He was married to Concha Bergareche, whom he met at EFE

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