From AP:

Spanish Scriptwriter Rafael Azcona Dies MADRID, Spain (AP) — Spanish novelist and scriptwriter Rafael Azcona, known for films such as the Oscar-winning comedy "Belle Epoque" and Luis Garcia Berlanga's "The Executioner," has died. He was 81.

Azcona, who had been suffering from lung cancer, died at his home on Sunday, the Spanish Writers and Editors Society said. He was cremated Tuesday in Madrid.

"He leaves the world of cinema and literature without one of its best storytellers," Spain's Culture Minister Cesar Antonio Molina said.

Born Oct. 24, 1926, in the northern city of Logrono, Azcona wrote for humor magazines such as "El Cordorniz" before making his name with the film script based on his black comedy novel "El Pisito" (The Little Apartment), directed by Italy's Marco Ferreri in 1959.

He went on to work with directors such as Luis Berlanga and Carlos Saura. He teamed up with director Fernando Trueba in "Belle Epoque," which won an Academy Award for best foreign film in 1992.

"He was one of the greatest writers in European cinema, not just Spanish cinema," Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde, president of Spain's Cinema Academy, told the newspaper El Pais. "No one has reached his imaginative capacity, intellectual rigor and brilliance."

He won six Spanish Goya film awards, including one for lifetime achievement in 1998.

He also was granted with the National Cinema Award in 1982 and Spain's Fine Arts Gold Medal in 1994.

He is survived by his wife, Susi.

Ferreri and Azcona in Naples, 1963

 
 

Mastroianni on Ferreri

A clip from "El Cochecito" (1960), Ferreri's third and last film in Spain before the government didn't renew his work visa, forcing him to return to Italy.

 
 

The above program note is from this year's Telluride Festival. The thing is that there's rumors Criterion might make a edition of Dillinger e Morto, since they already got acquired the US rights. This would be awesome. I have a decent copy, but dubbed and with very low sound. And the soundtrack in this film is crucial.

I share the same excitement with those who posted in the Criterion Forum on being able to see a Ferreri film in stellar quality. One member, Portnoy, said it best:

This (AMAZING) film played at Telluride this weekend - guest director Edith Kramer (curator emeritus of the PFA) chose it, having wanted to program it for decades but never having been able to afford the rights.

How did they do it? Kramer and festival directors Tom Luddy and Gary Meyer convinced Janus/Criterion to purchase the US rights to the film and to strike a print. Based on the rapturous reception the film received (probably the most popular revival of the weekend), there's a strong chance a theatrical run might follow, and then who knows...

For what it's worth, I've never fallen in love with a film so quickly. It's like nothing else I've ever seen - Michel Piccoli spends the movie puttering about aimlessly, and it's the most goddammed enthralling puttering imaginable. As Kramer said in her introduction, pretty much every formal decision in the film is the right one.


 
 

The idea of this site is also to create some kind of hub for all people who are intrigued by his work. I'm looking for as many Ferreri films as I can for my research. If you have one, contact me. SuperHappyFun is a fine site to get your hands on some of them. La Cagna (1972), with Mastroianni and Denevue, is next on my list...

If anyone knows other good places to get his films, please post!