Spanish film director Luis Garcia Berlanga dies at 89
Film director Luis Garcia Berlanga, a major figure in renewing Spain's film scene after the Spanish civil war, died Saturday at his home in Madrid, his family disclosed. He was 89 and had been suffering from Alzheimer's, dpa reported.
Among his best-known works was Welcome Mr. Marshall (1952), a bitter satire about Spain's hopes to cash in on the US post-war reconstruction effort known as the Marshall Plan.
His film Placido was nominated in 1961 for an Oscar in the best foreign language film category.
Originally from Valencia, Garcia Berlanga began studying law and philosophy, but then during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) joined the Republican forces fighting against those of Francisco Franco, who later became dictator of Spain.
Amid repressions exerted on his family by the Franco regime, he later joined the so-called Blue Division which fought on the side of the Nazi German army against the Soviet Union during World War II.
After the war, Garcia was adept at crafting films which poked biting sarcasm at the Franco regime while outwitting the official censors.
In 1986 he was a co-founder of the Spanish Film Academy and over the years he received numerous international film prizes. He withdrew from films about ten years ago.
His last public appearance - wheelchair-ridden and barely able to speak - was in May when attending the opening of a cinema named after him.