Eloy De La Iglesia-A Film Director

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by D_Percival Puddleford Pukehorn, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. D_Percival Puddleford Pukehorn

    Jun 4, 2006
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    Here’s a little something I wrote on the man:

    Filmmaking is an art unto itself. It’s like in photography and even music where one needs to have a certain eye for it in order to make the endeavor meaningful and unique. I believe Eloy De La Iglesia had that special talent. In my opinion, a couple of his films were somewhat failed experiments like Murder In A Blue World but most were successful in every possible way!
    He was born in Zarauz Spain but raised in Madrid. He studied philosophy and literature until he decided to dedicate himself completely to films.
    In his film work throughout the 70’s and 80’s, he covered many genres. He dove into horror for example with a movie called Cannibal Man as well as political films particularly with the one entitled El Diputado. He also obtained mainstream recognition with films that had homosexuality as part of the central theme. All this before Almodovar! His take on The Marquis De Sade’s literary work was interesting and a successful attempt with the film Juego De Amor Prohibido. He also explored quite aggressively the world of delinquent teenagers who are very much involved with drugs and sex in films like El Pico, Colegas and Navajeros. All this before Larry Clark! You need to remember the years these films were released in order to understand the impact they had on society.
    It’s also interesting to note the similarity of Eloy De La Iglesia’s approach in some of his films with Pasolini’s. Both film directors were obsessed with the underdogs of society and their struggles particularly with the young people. Both directors actually visited and filmed in the slums of their native cities.
    With that in mind, it would also be important to mention one particular actor who appeared in many of Eloy’s more important films and you can count La Estanquera De Vallecas as one of them. The individual I’m referring to is Jose Luis Manzano. It’s a really sad story of a young man who could’ve made more of his life but was hooked on drugs till the bitter end. He stated once in an interview for a major magazine in Spain how he didn’t take advantage of many important opportunities in his life such as studying on a scholarship at a prestigious New York acting school all because of his addiction to drugs.
    Born in the ghetto of Vallecas, Jose Luis was only 12 years old when he had no choice but to decide to survive on his own on the streets. He was later discovered in the ghetto by Eloy De La Iglesia along with a street friend nicknamed El Pirri. They approached the filmmaker to see if he’d be interested in buying some of their stolen merchandise. This fascinated Eloy very much and offered them work in his upcoming film which turned out to be Navajeros! Their chance encounter with the film world gave them the much needed financial stability as well as fame and respect especially in the ghettos of Spain. It also gave them the chance to actively partake in the world of drugs and sex.
    Jose Luis Manzano who wasn’t a homosexual per say did become Eloy’s lover for many years. This is important to mention because it is obvious that Eloy who was considerably much older did use Jose Luis as his muse for a good amount of time in his film work. One film that comes to mind is the last one he did without Manzano called Bulgarian Lovers released in 2003 where a gay man falls in love with a younger stud. The relationship between the two main characters in the movie is truly complicated as it would be in most gay films released nowadays. And although the film is considered a thriller comedy with some science fiction thrown in for good measure, it subconsciously rings in my opinion more of a real life drama based on his relationship with Jose Luis Manzano. Just like in one of his others films called Los Placeres Ocultos, Eloy thoroughly took on the story of a gay man in love with a hetero youngster going as far as accepting his girlfriend into the circle of what he’d like to call his small “family”. Of course he'll do anything as long as he can keep the young man close to him.
    Yes I know, all this is nothing more but speculation on my part. But I feel the evidence given is a little too obvious! Nonetheless, it’s all great work in the end. Eloy De la Iglesia has a body of work that is both heartfelt and intriguing. In my opinion, his films will stand the test of time. Criterion should take notice!


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