Jaime Chávarri

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Jaime Chávarri
Jaime Chávarri de la Mora

(1943-03-20) 20 March 1943 (age 76)
Madrid, Spain
Years active1967–present

Jaime Chávarri de la Mora (born 20 March 1943) is a Spanish film director and screenwriter. Best known for his films Las bicicletas son para el verano and musical film Las cosas del querer.

Life and career[edit]

Chavarri comes from a prominent family. His mother María de la Mora y Maura (1907 – Segovia, Sotosalbos, 1 November 2001) was a maternal granddaughter of Antonio Maura. He had already graduated as a lawyer,[1] when he entered the Escuela Oficial de Cine (EOC) in 1968.[2] He abandoned his formal film studies in his second year, moving into film criticism. He wrote for Film Ideal magazine. His first film industry job was an assistant director to Jose Luis Borau.[1] while devoting his spare time to make two feature-length films in super 8: Run, Blanca Nieves run in 1967, and Ginebra en Los Infiernos in 1969. He collaborated with Ivan Zuleta in his director's series for Spanish television Ultimo grito (or The last cry) and subsequently scripted Un dos tres... al escondite Inglés (or Hide and Seek) in 1969. Over the next several years, he worked on the technical crew of a number of films and collaborated with Spanish cult film director Jesus Franco on the script for Franco's 1970 opus, Vampyros Lesbos. In 1970, he completed hi first short feature film 'Estado de sitio' (or Siege State).[1] He also contributed one segment to the collective film, Pastel de Sangre (or Blood Pie) in 1971 with Francesc Bellmunt.[1]

Chávarri's first feature-length film as a director was Los Viajes Escolares (or School trips) in 1974, a complex autobiographical film that focuses on the ambiance of a dysfunctional family.[3][4] It was shown at Valladolid International Film Festival and got a mixed reception.[1] Critics recognized the director's talent but criticized the obscure symbolism of the film. Two years later, Chavarri continued the theme of the dysfunctional family with the documentary El Desencanto (or The disenchantment) in 1976, which portraits the family of the deceased Francoist poet Leopoldo Panero, capturing the visceral relations forged out of the patriarchal tyranny in the poet's three sons and widow.[3] Chavarri's next film was the highly praised A Un Dios Desconocido, To An Unknown God in 1977, which tells the story of a solitary aging gay magician in Granada who remembers his youthful romance with Federico García Lorca.[4] The film, written with producer Elias Querejeta and with notable work by cinematographer Teodoro Escamilla, was highly praised, winning the leading actor and director prizes at the 1977 San Sebastián International Film Festival.[3]

Chavarri subsequent film: Dedicatoria (or A Dedication) in 1980, another collaboration with Elias Querejeta, centers on Juan Uribe, played by José Luis Gómez, a journalist whose interrogation of his comrade, Luis Falcon, a political prisoner, leads him to discover the incestuous relation between Falcon and his daughter, the same woman with whom Juan is having sexual relations. Like earlier Chavarri's films, A Dedication was praised for its uncompromising thematic and artistry, but it failed at the box office.[3]

By the early 1980s, Chavarri embarked on a series of film adaptations of diverse fictional works which lent a seeming randomness and lack of focus to his development as a filmmaker. In 1983 he directed a lavish adaptation of Llorenç Villalonga's novel, Bearn o la sala de muñecas (or 'Bearn or the Dolls's Room') and followed that with a screen version of Fernando Fernán Gómez's war play Las bicicletas son para el verano (or Bicycles are for summer) in 1984.[3] Also in 1984, he had a cameo part as an Exhibitionist in Pedro Almodóvar's film What Have I Done to Deserve This?.[1] Then in 1985, he wrote and directed his most personal film El rey del Oro (or 'The River of Gold'), which is based on the Peter Pan stories.[1]

The success of Las bicicletas son para el verano led Chavarri to turn his career from making independent films to more commercial ones. In 1988, he adapted for television Yo soy el que tú buscas, which is based on a Gabriel García Márquez novel of the same name.[4] His musical-drama set in the 1930s postwar Madrid, Las Cosas del Querer (or The things of love) in 1989. It features many folklore songs of the 30s and 40s and co-stars Angela Molina as 'Pepita' (an aspiring copla singer) and Amparo Baró as 'Balbina'.[5] It became one of his biggest commercial successes.[3] In Spain, it was the 6th most popular Spanish film in 1989, but outside Spain it is still mostly unknown.[6] In 1990 he returned to television and made a literary adaption of Jorge Luis Borges's short story, 'La intrusa'.

In 1993, he made the comedy Tierno Verano de lujuria y azoteas (or Tender Summer of Lust and Rooftops) based on the novel by Pablo Solozábal. The film explores the sexual awakening of a young man played by Gabino Diego, who is obsessed with his much older cousin Olga, played by Marisa Paredes. This was followed by a sequel: Las Cosas del Querer 2,[5] set in Argentina in 1995,[7] made for the producer Luis Sanz. It was less successful than its predecessor.[4]

Chavarri's films of the 1990s: Gran slalom in 1996 (comedy about love and intrigue,[4]) and Sus ojos se cerraron y el mundo sigue andando (or 'Her Eyes Closed and the World Keeps on Turning'[1]) in 1997 (about a woman who dreams while listening to tango music of Carlos Gardel[4]) did not do well commercially. The director did better with Besos para todos (Kisses to all) in 2000, a comedy set in the 1960s about 3 medical students in Cadiz,[4] starring Emma Suárez, Eloy Azorín and Pilar López de Ayala. In 2004, 'El año del diluvio' was released, based on the novel by Eduardo Mendoza Garriga novel of the same name, set in the 1950s about a mother superior (of a charity hospital) and a rich landowner, who is trying to get funds to open a nursing home.[4] His film Camarón (Camarón: When Flamenco Became Legend) in 2005, a biopic of the flamenco singer Camarón de la Isla played by Óscar Jaenada, also was well regarded.[8] The film won 3 Goya Awards including the award for best actor to Óscar Jaenada.[4]


Year English title Original title Notes
1973 School trips Los viajes escolares
1976 The Disenchantment El desencanto Documentary
1977 To an Unknown God A un dios desconocido Best director San Sebastián International Film Festival
1979 Tales for an escape Cuentos para una escapada segment The deaf woman
1979 Erotic tales Cuentos eróticos segment Pequeño planeta
1980 Dedicatory Dedicatoria
1982 Bearn or the Dolls's room Bearn o la sala de las muñecas
1983 Bicycles Are for the Summer Las bicicletas son para el verano
1985 The river of gold El río de oro
1989 The Things of love Las cosas del querer
1993 Tender Summer of lust and Rooftops Tierno verano de lujurias y azoteas
1995 The things of love. Second part Las cosas del querer. Segunda parte
1996 Gran slalom Gran slalom
1997 Tangos Are for Two Sus ojos se cerraron y el mundo sigue andando
2000 Kisses for Everyone Besos para todos
2004 El año del diluvio El año del diluvio
2004 Madrid M11: We Were All on That Train Madrid 11M: Todos íbamos en ese tren segment Doce de octubre
2005 Camarón: When Flamenco Became Legend Camarón


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Alberto Mira The A to Z of Spanish Cinema, p. 77, at Google Books
  2. ^ D’Lugo, Guide to the Cinema of Spain, p. 139
  3. ^ a b c d e f D’Lugo, Guide to the Cinema of Spain, p. 140
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Tatjana Pavlović, Inmaculada Alvarez, Rosana Blanco-Cano, Anitra Grisales, Alejandra Osorio and Alejandra Sánchez 100 Years of Spanish Cinema, p. 144, at Google Books
  5. ^ a b Corey K Creekmur International Film Musical at Google Books
  6. ^ Bill Marshall, Robynn Stilwell and Robynn Jeananne Stilwell (Editors)_Hollywood and Beyond, p. 70, at Google Books
  7. ^ Sandra Truscott and Maria Garcia Dictionary of Contemporary Spain, p. 200, at Google Books
  8. ^ "Jaime Chavarri". spainisculture.com. Retrieved 20 July 2012.