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Spain fetes Gutierrez Aragon

Helmer charted downside of political commitment

MADRID — Film director and screenwriter Manuel Gutierrez Aragon has been awarded Spain’s National Cinema Prize for 2005.

The plaudit, which comes with a $36,000 cash prize, goes to one of Spain’s most celebrated modern political ironists whose late ‘70s trilogy “Black Brood” (1977), “Sleep Walkers” (1978) and “The Heart of the Forest” (1979) charted the downside of political commitment, mixing social observance and the story structures of fairy tales.

Justifying its award, a jury named by Spain’s ICAA Spanish Film Institute praised Gutierrez’s vision “of Spanish society over the past 30 years, mixing realism and fantasy.”

Gutierrez Aragon followed up with three mordant but melancholy rites-of-passage tales, which chart the downside of more personal change : “Maravillas” (1981), “Demons In the Garden” (1982) and “Feroz” (1984).

From the mid-eighties, he has attempted to reach out to a wider audience, experimenting with comedy “The Most Beautiful Night” (1986) and directing the first part of “Don Quixote” for pubcaster RTVE (1991).

He has doubled up his directing — most recently the Cuban-set “Rose of France” — with top positions at cultural institutions. He currently serves as secretary general of Spain’s Fundacion Autor.

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