Chávarri, Jaime


Chávarri, Jaime
(1943- )
   Jaime Chávarri trained as a lawyer before finding his vocation in a course on directing at the Escuela Oficial de Cine (Official Film School). He was a protege of José Luis Borau, and his first job in the film industry was as assistant director and later participations in scripts including Un dos tres al escondite inglés (One, Two, Three . . . Gotcha! Iván Zulueta, 1970), Pastel de sangre (Blood Cake, Francesc Bellmunt, 1971), and Vampiros Lesbos (Lesbian Vampires, Jesús Franco, 1971). At this time, he also shot his own short feature Estado de sitio (Siege State, 1970). His first feature was the semi-autobiographical Los viajes escolares (School Trips, 1974), which had a mixed reception when it opened at the Festival de Valladolid.
   Then came El desencanto (The Disenchantment, 1976), an Elias Querejeta production, one of the key attempts to examine the Franco period during the Transition. The film used interviews, family photographs, and documentary footage to follow the story of the Panero family, tracing their connections to the regime and their work as writers. The father comes across as an authority figure who represents the repressive forces that governed Spain for decades, whereas the mother, Felicidad Blanch, becomes, in accounts and personal interventions, a mythical metaphor of Spanish femaleness: smooth, elegant, manipulative. The sons both became poets and show the wounds caused by their family background. The personal becomes assembled and is translated into an image of Spanish culture under the Franco years.
   A second Querejeta production, the critical success A un dios desconocido (To an Unknown God, 1977), is regarded as his best feature. Again, Chávarri produces a split narrative in which memory (incomplete, distorted) is one of the keys to overcoming past wounds.
   The story features a homosexual magician who remembers the time when he used to live very close to legendary poet Federico García Lorca. The themes of family and memory are also prominent in Dedicatoria (Dedication, 1980).
   By the early 1980s, Chávarri moved progressively into more commercial projects, including Bearn o la sala de las muñecas (Bearn or the Room of Dolls, 1983), a costume drama produced by Alfredo Matas, adapted from a classic of Balearic literature and starring Fernando Rey, Ángela Molina, and Imanol Arias, and the successful Las bicicletas son para el verano (Bicycles Are for Summer, 1984), an adaptation of Fernando Fernán Gómez's play of the same title, with a star-studded cast including Amparo Soler Leal, Agustín González, Marisa Paredes, Victoria Abril, and Laura del Sol, about a family during the Civil War. He took part in a memorable cameo as an exhibitionist in Pedro Almodóvar's ¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto!! (What Have I Done to Deserve This? 1984). El rey del río (King of the River, 1985), which he also wrote, is a reworking of the Peter Pan mythology, very central to other artists of the period, from Leopoldo María Panero to Terenci Moix, and his most personal film during this part of his career.
   His later films include four musicals: Las cosas del querer (Little Matters of Love, 1989) and its sequel Las cosas del querer 2 (1995) are charming period pieces with attractive casts, inspired by the life of gay popular singer Miguel de Molina, who had to leave Spain after the Civil War. In Argentina, he did the tango film Sus ojos se cerraron y el mundo sigue andando (Her Eyes Closed and the World Keeps on Turning, 1997), which evoked the figure of Carlos Gardel. His last film to date is Camarón (2005), a biopic of Flamenco singer Camarón de la Isla, starring Óscar Jaenada.
   Historical Dictionary of Spanish Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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  • Chávarri, Jaime — (1943 )    Jaime Chávarri trained as a lawyer before finding his vocation in a course on directing at the Escuela Oficial de Cine (Official Film School). He was a protege of José Luis Borau, and his first job in the film industry was as assistant …   Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema

  • Chávarri, Jaime — b. 1943, Madrid    Filmmaker and film critic    A graduate of the Escuela Oficial de Cine (EOC) in 1970, Chávarri is a very versatile film director whose first major success was with El desencanto (Disenchantment) (1976). A study of the Francoist …   Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture

  • Chávarri, Jaime — ► (n. 1943) Director de cine español. Películas: Los viajes escolares (1973), El desencanto (1976), Las bicicletas son para el verano (1983), El río de oro (1986) y Besos para todos (2000), entre otras …   Enciclopedia Universal

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