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Jesús Franco Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (10) | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 12 May 1930Madrid, Spain
Date of Death 2 April 2013Málaga, Málaga, Andalucía, Spain  (stroke)
Birth NameJesús Franco Manera
Nickname Tío Jess

Mini Bio (1)

He was only 6 years old when he started composing music under the protection of his brother Enrique. After the Spanish Civil War he was able to continue his studies at the Real Conservatorio de Madrid, where he finished piano and harmony. Being a Bachelor of Law and an easy-read novel writer (under the pseudonym David Khume), he signed on to enter the Instituto de Investigaciones y Experiencias Cinematográicas (IIEC), where he stayed only for two years, while he worked simultaneously as a director and theatre actor. Later he went to Paris to study directing techniques at the I.D.H.E.C. (University of Sorbonne), where he used to go into seclusion for hours to watch films at the film archive. Back in Spain he started his huge cinematographic work as a composer, with Cómicos (1954) and El hombre que viajaba despacito (1957), and later worked as an assistant director to Juan Antonio Bardem, León Klimovsky, Luis Saslavsky, Julio Bracho, Fernando Soler and Joaquín Luis Romero Marchent, among others. He also worked at Ágata Films S.A. as production manager and writer.

His first works as a director were industrial and cultural short films. However, he soon applied all his knowledge and experience to his feature directorial debut, We Are 18 Years Old (1959). From that moment on, all his work was supported by co-production. His Succubus (1968) was nominated for the Festival of Berlin, and this event gave him an international reputation. His career got more and more consolidated in the following years, and his endless creativity enabled him to tackle films in all genres, from "B" horror films to pure hardcore sex films. His productions have always been low-budget, but he nevertheless managed to work extraordinarily quickly, often releasing several titles at the same time, using the same shots in more than one film. Some of his actors relate how they they were hired for one film and later saw their name in two or more different ones. As the Spanish cinema evolved, Jesús managed to adapt to the new circumstances and always maintained a constant activity, activity that gave a place in his films to a whole filming crew.

Apart from his own production company, Manacoa Films, he also worked for companies like Auster Films S.L. (Paul Auster), Cinematográfica Fénix Films (Arturo Marcos), the French Comptoir Français du Film (Robert de Nesle), Eurociné (Daniel Lesoeur and Marius Lesoeur), Elite Films Productions (Erwin C. Dietrich), Spain's Fervi Films (Fernando Vidal Campos) or Golden Films Internacional S.A. He acted in almost all of his films, playing music men, lawyers, porters and others, all of them sinister, manic and comic characters. Among the aliases he used, apart from the names Jesús Franco, Jess Franco or Franco Manera, were Jess Frank, Robert Zimmerman, Frank Hollman, Clifford Brown, David Khune, Frarik Hollman, Toni Falt, James P. Johnson, Charlie Christian, David Tough, Cady Coster, Lennie Hayden, Lulú Laverne, Betty Carter. Lina Romay has been almost a constant in his films, and it's very probable that in some of them she has been credited as the director instead of him.

In many of the more than 180 films he's directed he has also worked as composer, writer, cinematographer and editor. Jesús's influence has been notable all over Europe. He even contacted Roger Corman in the US. From his huge body of work we can deduce that Jesús Franco is one of the most restless directors of Spanish cinema. Many of his films have had problems in getting released, and others have been made directly for video. His work is often a do-it-yourself effort. More than once his staunchest supporters have found his "new" films to contain much footage from one or more of his older films.

Jesús Franco is a survivor in a time when most of his colleagues tried to please the government administration. He broke up with all that and got the independence he was seeking. He always went upstream in an ephemeral industry that fed opportunists and curbed the activity of many professionals. But time doesn't pass in vain, and Jesus' production has diminished since the 90s.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Miguel Ángel Díaz González (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (2)

Lina Romay (23 April 2008 - 15 February 2012) (her death)
Nicole Guettard (? - ?) (divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

Frequent use of zoom lens

Trivia (10)

Among his vast number of pseudonyms, Franco frequently pays tribute (of sorts) to jazz greats working from the '20s through the '50s by signing his film with the monikers of trumpeter Clifford Brown, pianist James P. Johnson and drummer Dave Tough.
In the 1970s, Franco, along with Luis Buñuel, was declared one of the most dangerous filmmakers for Catholics by the Catholic Church. On knowing this, Buñuel got interested in meeting Franco, and told so to his frequent collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière, who was at that moment developing a script with Franco. Carrière introduced both directors each other.
Uncle of Ricardo Franco.
Openly despises his own movies and claims he doesn't think he has ever made a good film, and what he would really like is to have made Citizen Kane (1941) or The Grapes of Wrath (1940) or something like the films of Stanley Donen or Vincente Minnelli.
Despite disliking rap, in 2003 he recorded the spoken intro (titled "Ten Cuidado Hermano") for the album "Supervillanos de Alquiler" by Spanish Hip-Hop band Hablando en Plata.
One of the secrets of his success is his reputation for completing projects on time and within the budget. This usually gives him the directorial freedom to do whatever he wants.
Together with Lucio Fulci Franco had 3 films listed on the original UK list of 74 official video nasties: Women Behind Bars aka Women Behind Bars (1975), Devil Hunter aka Devil Hunter (1980) and Bloody Moon aka Bloody Moon (1981).
At the end of 2007 a biographic long feature, "Los Blues del Tio Jess" will be finished. Directed by Jose Luis Garcia Sanchez and produced by microgenesis producciones / canalmicro and Maestranza Films. [September 2007]
After a hiatus of several years, he returned to directing with one feature film and two video features at the age of 75. He now has over 180 directing credits.

Personal Quotes (4)

I'm not a false intellectual like so many in the business. But I think that cinema is an art form in itself. It's an artistic expression that, let's say, makes the public happy.
I feel that cinema should be like a box of surprises, like a magic box. And in that world, anything is allowed to enter, as long as it's always treated with a spirit of "Pop!". Not in the spirit of "Now you understand the problems of society in 1947". No, I don't give a shit about that. I think cinema should be like magic, a surprise, that's all. That's why, to conclude, I love movies . . . and stories.
But I never made a film thinking that I'd win the Grand Prize in Cannes. Never. I always thought it would be so beautiful for my films to be shown in theaters in the suburbs and the theater is packed with people who are enjoying my films. There it is. That's more than enough. There's nothing else.
I think a censor is a kind of dictator. The thing is so old-fashioned. They try to cut our wings. It's a pain in the ass. I hate that. I like freedom. I have always liked freedom. I left Spain because I liked freedom. Someone who says to me, "You have to cut that because you can see the feet!", Fuck you! I never went along with that. No, when I say I never went along with that, I left Spain the second time because of that and I went to see the head censor and I told him, "You know I am leaving this country because you are here. You are an asshole! You piss me off. I'm leaving." Then I left and took my plane. What does it all mean? Who judges? Who is the judge? Who decides? Who has the truth? Who holds the truth with a capital "T"? No one! So there's nothing worse than bullshit that cuts people's wings.

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