- Zulueta, Iván
- (1943-2009)Iván Zulueta's tale of drugs, vampirism, and obsessive filmmaking Arrebato (Rapture, 1980) is one of the great cult Spanish films, but its director has never completed another feature-length project since 1980, and he remains a mysterious figure with a substantial fan base. At the 2008 Festival de Málaga, he assured devoted audiences that he was back into filmmaking, but commentators remained skeptical. In the last 40 years, his turnout has consisted mainly of collaboration on conventional television products.Zulueta was born in San Sebastian, a city in the Basque Country, and soon showed an interest in the visual arts. He started his career as a designer, and he persisted in his vocation during the 1970s. Among his most visible achievements in this area are a number of film posters he created in those years, including those for Furtivos (Poachers, José Luis Borau, 1975), Sonámbulos (Sleepwalkers, Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, 1978), El corazón del bosque (The Heart of the Forest, Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, 1982), Asignatura pendiente (Pending Subject, José Luis Garci, 1977), and Laberinto de pasiones (Labyrinth of Passion, Pedro Almodóvar, 1980) among many others, which display a very distinctive look with bold lettering and classically inspired images.As a director, Zulueta debuted with Un, dos, tres, al escondite inglés (One, Two, Three .. . Gotcha! 1970), a surreal pop musical that follows a group of music lovers intent on boycotting an international song contest (not unlike Eurovision). This was a fantasy that adopted a campy approach to popular culture, packed with references to other films and impregnated by homoeroticism and a touch of Peter Pan mythology, along the lines of the Escuela de Barcelona. It was produced by José Luis Borau's company, El Imán, which at the time was focused on advertising. Zulueta then moved to the United States for an extended period and came into contact with underground filmmaking, particularly the work of Kenneth Anger and early Andy Warhol.In the late 1970s, he worked on several short features, one of which, Leo es pardo (Leo Is Brown, 1976), was noticed by critics at the Berlin Film Festival. He also assisted Pedro Almodovar in his early short El sueño o La estrella (Dream or The Star, 1975). At this time, he also became fascinated by some aspects of the Madrid movida; he experimented with drugs (particularly heroin), and this would be one of the key sources of inspiration for his masterwork Arrebato.Arrebato was made on a shoestring budget, but soon found a legion of admirers who identified with its vocational marginality and its ability to engage with disturbing states of mind. In its simplest formulation, this is the story of a film director who becomes vampirized by the camera, but it had deeper resonances, tapping into the drug culture developing at the time.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.