MADRID – Carlos Saura, Spain’s celebrated filmmaker whose career spanned over seven decades during which he earned three Academy Award nominations for Best Foreign Language Film has died. He was 91.
Spain’s Cinema Academy said Saura died Friday, a day before he was to receive an honorary Goya award for his prolific career.
Saura was a popular director among arthouse cinema enthusiasts.
He had earned international recognition for his 1965 movie “La Caza″ (The Hunt) which was awarded the Silver Bear at the International Berlin Film Festival. He later earned another two Silver Bear awards for his work.
While Spain was under the rule of dictator Gen. Francisco Franco until his death in 1975, Saura’s work tried to evade censorship while addressing social issues that where unpalatable to the ruling regime.
Saura's three films that earned Academy Award nominations for Best Foreign Language Film included “Mamá cumple 100 años″ in 1979, ”Carmen″ in 1984 and ″Tango″ in 1999.
Saura focused in recent years on traditional music, producing several movies featuring flamenco singers and dancers, as well as fado or jota, the traditional song and dance of his birthplace, the Aragon region.
Spanish film star Antonio Banderas was among a host of artists who mourned Saura's loss.
"With Carlos Saura, a very important part of the history of Spanish cinema dies. He leaves behind him an indispensable work for deep reflection on the behavior of the human being,” Banderas said.
Saura was active until his final days. His most recent film documentary about the origins and evolution of plastic arts "Las paredes hablan″ was released in movie theaters a week ago. ”It shows his tireless activity and his love for work until the last moment″, the Film Academy said in a message, describing him as a fundamental and irreplaceable filmmaker in the history of Spanish cinema.