Remembering Pilar Miró Spanish Cinema Now Special Tribute
December 7 - 27, 2007
Born into a middle-class family, Pilar Miró turned to the cinema after abandoning her studies in law, graduating from National Film School in 1967 with a specialization in screenwriting. This was a heady era at the school, which produced luminaries such as Victor Erice, Manuel Gutierrez Aragon, Luis Megino and others who would form the “second wave” of the New Spanish Cinema. If the “first wave”—Carlos Saura, Basilio Martin Patino, Francisco Regueiro—were circumspect in their criticisms of the Franco regime, their younger filmmaking colleagues were often more directly confrontational: Even after the dissolution of the film censor board, Miró’s second film, The Cuenca Crime, was held up in the courts for two years after the Civil Guard sued the producers for defamation.
One of the very, very few female directors working in Spain in the first decades after Franco’s death, Miró often seemed drawn to narratives that centered on strong, independent women (Gary Cooper, Who Art in Heaven, The Bird of Happiness), but her work is never mere cheerleading. Her female protagonists are complex, contradictory and even unlikable, showing women’s (and men’s) strategies for survival in an increasingly uncertain world.
Miró spent much of the 1980s working in government, first as head of film for the Ministry of Culture and then at TVE (Spanish National Television). She returned to full-time filmmaking with Beltenebros, winner of the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and one of her greatest hits. Though her death ten years ago cut short an already remarkable career that seemed poised to move into an exciting new phase, her final film –– a brilliant adaptation of Lope de Vega’s "The Dog in the Manger" –– is considered by many critics to be her masterpiece.