7 April 2013 1:32 PM, PDT | Huffington Post | See recent Huffington Post news »

Madrid — Spaniard Josep Joan Bigas Luna was lauded as a brilliant and "truly special" filmmaker a day after his death, with some of the highest praise coming from actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, two stars whose film careers he launched.

Bigas Luna, 67, died Saturday in northeast Spain after a long battle with cancer.

The filmmaker was regarded as having had an excellent eye for spotting talent and a knack for stimulating on-screen chemistry between actors. His 1992 film "Jamon, Jamon" received unanimous praise as "a classic" in the Spanish press on Sunday,

The director discovered Cruz and Bardem, who married in 2010, as well as a giving early boosts to a host of other now well-known film muses, including Leonor Watling, Angela Molina, Francesca Neri and Valeria Marini.

Many of the roles in his films were explosively steamy, even erotic. Yet they often explored with great insight aspects of modern Spain's quirkiness. »


- AP

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