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PEOPLE Spain

Spanish screenwriter Rafael Azcona dies

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The screenwriter and author Rafael Azcona has died aged 81 in Madrid, after a battle with cancer. His death, which occurred on Monday morning, was only announced after a private family cremation, in keeping with the writer’s wishes.

Azcona can be considered the most important Spanish screenwriter of all time, with almost 100 films to his name, among them some of the most significant and influential in the history of Spanish cinema.

Born in Logroño in 1926, Azcona began his career as a writer when he moved to Madrid in the 1950s. His first forays into the world of cinema were prompted by his friendship with the Italian director Marco Ferreri, with whom he co-wrote the screenplay for El pisito (1958).

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This was followed by a series of successes. Azcona wrote memorable films such as El cochecito 1960), Plácido (1960), Not on Your Life (1963), Peppermint Frappé (1967), La audiencia (1971), The National Shotgun (1978), The Heifer (1985), Year of Enlightment (1986), ¡Ay, Carmela! (1990), Banderas, the Tyrant (1993), Butterfly’s Tongue (1999) and The Age of Beauty (1992), which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and the BAFTA award for Best Film in a language other than English.

Just as impressive is the list of directors with whom Azcona worked. These include the most distinguished Spanish filmmakers of the past 50 years, such as Luis García Berlanga, Carlos Saura, Fernando Trueba, José Luis Cuerda, José Luis García Sánchez and Antonio Giménez-Rico.

During the course of his life, Azcona received many awards and distinctions. Of particular note are the five Goyas he won for Best Screenplay, the National Cinematography Award in 1982 and the Gold Medal for Excellence in the Arts in 1994.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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