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Vanished Spain

Carlos Saura

In the Saura family, we all know Antonio, the painter (1930-1998) and Carlos the movie director (born in 1932), the author of Cría Cuervos (1976) or The Hunt (1966), a merciless portrait of the Spanish high bourgeoisie during Franco. Before making a name for himself in the world of movies, and putting his engineering studies aside, Carlos had made at try at photography. He was attracted by the neo-Realist movement, and very impressed by the documentary by Buñuel, Tierra sin pan (Breadless Land), on the backward region of Extremadura, the young man takes a ruthless look at his country following the war. His framing is already that of a movie director, the subjects are ahead of their time, such as the one on a town in the region of Aragon, which would be the victim of the breaking of the damn of Ribadelago in 1959, and the sensitive empathy with the characters he sketches – peasants, minors, school children or women in black – and we think right away of comparable works by Cartier-Bresson or Eugene W. Smith. The very sober title España Años 50 in Spanish has become Vanished Spain in English. In the superb texture of his photographs there is indeed the dimension of a world long gone …

Vanished Spain, photographs by Carlos Saura, Steidl, 2016, 256 p., €65.

Vanished Spain - Carlos Saura

Review published in the newsletter #433 - from 2 June 2016 to 8 June 2016

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