Thursday, September 26, 2019

The filmmaker Eugenio Martín, to be honored tonight

A key figure of the Spanish genre cinema, the director of mythical films such as “The Price of Power” (1966) or the Spanish fantasy terror cult film “Pánico en el Transiberiano” (1972) will receive recognition on his 94th birthday at the VII edition of the International Festival of Fantastic Film Night Madrid.

The filmmaker Eugenio Martín, known in the Anglo-Saxon world as Gene Martin, surprised in 1966 with the film “The Price of Power”, a novel symbiosis between the tradition of American western and the influences of Italian cinema. His feature film was then recognized as "special artistic interest" and turned its protagonist, actor Tomás Milián, into an icon of the genre, being today one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite films.

Eugenio Martín (Ceuta, 1925) will be honored on October 26 at the VII edition of Nocturna Madrid “for his contribution to the Spanish fantasy and for his ability to shoot films of the same genre with the same elegance and responsibility,” explains Sergio Molina, Festival director

The veteran filmmaker has covered in his extensive filmography from documentary short films, to fantasy and horror movies, spaghetti westerns, musical comedy and the most significant Spanish dye movies of the late 60s. In 1972 he directed “Pánico en el Transiberiano”, one of his most outstanding films internationally, which until today is considered a work of worship. The following year, “Una vela para el diablo” (1973), censored in its day and recently restored by the Granada Classic Film Festival (Retroback).

Also among his most recognized works we highlight the War in Peace or the television series ‘Juanita la Larga’. “It had dramatic first class material. For me the most important thing is to tell a good story, no matter the gender,” explains Eugenio Martín about his career.

A life in films

Born in Ceuta, he moved to Granada with his family when he was a teenager and founded in that city the first cinema club in its history, along with intellectuals of the time such as José Martín Recuerda José, Elena Vivaldi and Gregorio Salvador. Later he would enter the Institute of Cinematographic Research and Experiences in Madrid with his first short film in 35 millimeters and with music by Ernesto Halffter, “Viaje romántico a Granada” (1954) - based on the engravings that the 19th century travelers made of the Alhambra-, forming in the same school as the filmmakers Berlanga and Saura.

Eugenio Martín also worked as an assistant on the film “Simbad y la princesa” (1958), shot in part in the Nasrid monument and the Andalusian province, and established the pillars of what would be his first films, “Los corsarios del Caribe” (The Corsairs of the Caribbean) - a pirate story unpretentious that ended up triumphing in the halls of media Europe- and “Bachelor Party” (both of 1961), a film with which the filmmaker failed and had to accept being an assistant in foreign productions, in the shadow of international directors such as Michael Anderson (1984) and Nicholas Ray (“King of Kings”), to continue in the world of cinema. Later he would direct his own films like “Hypnosis” (1962) and “Duel in the Amazon” (1964).

Pepe Isbert, Christopher Lee, James Mason, Julio Iglesias, José Luis López Vázquez, Gracita Morales or Lola Flores have passed in front of his camera - who managed to be the first woman to be awarded the National Show Union Award for A Great Lady (1967). Martín affirms that he never wanted to opt for a style, and he has always remained flexible in the face of any possibility: “I have felt equally comfortable doing a thriller as well as a comedy, a mystery film or one of adventure. I consider myself a kind of minstrel because I dedicate myself to tell the stories that others have invented,” he explains humbly. A virtue that, according to his biographers Carlos Aguilar and Anita Haas (Eugenio Martín: an Author for All Genres), stands out in his personality and in his own way of working.

Also included in his filmography are “Las leandras” (1969), “La vida sigue igual” (1969), “Bad Man’s River” (1971), “No quiero perder la honra” (1974),, “Spaniards who are part of the films did them to eat and there is nothing wrong, ”explains Eugenio Martín. Although, what he has always wanted to do is author cinema.

"The evolution of Eugenio Martín has always been consistent with the film industry and its line in time, and also very personal because he has always been able to contribute his style," says Reinaldo Pereira, deputy director of Nocturna Madrid. “I know that not all my films are good, but between more than twenty, five or six they are. And I have been able to make the stories I wanted,”says Martín, who artistically survived the Franco dictatorship, censorship, and even self-criticism.

Eugenio Martín will receive recognition for his long history of the Madrid Night Festival with the Honor Night Award, a tribute that previous editions have received filmmakers such as Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, Jorge Grau or Caroline Munro.

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