- Cuadrado, Luis
- (1934-1980)In the late 1960s and 1970s, Luis Cuadrado was one of the most respected cinematographers in Spanish cinema and, even today, key professionals like Javier Aguirre-sarobe and Teo Escamilla regard themselves as followers of his approach to light. His input in some of the best instances of Nuevo cine español was both technically innovative and intensely personal.Cuadrado studied photography at the Instituto de Investigaciones y Experiencias Cinematográficas, graduating in 1962. He worked as a trainee in several substantial projects of the early 1960s. His first important achievement was in Carlos Saura's La caza (The Hunt, 1966), where he was careful to capture the harsh effect of scorching sun on barren land with little technical enhancements. In the next decade, he worked closely with directors of a number of Elías Querejeta projects, coming to define the visual style of Nuevo cine español. He is responsible, for instance, for the gray atmospheres in those melancholy, metaphorical films. Inspired by the Spanish painting traditions, he chose an austere light and tended to prefer natural light. His work of the period includes other Saura films like Peppermint Frappé (1967) and La madriguera (The Honeycomb, 1969), as well as the portmanteau film Los desafíos (José Luis Egea, Claudio Guerín, and Victor Erice, 1969), Francisco Regueiro's Si volvemos a vernos (Smashing Up, 1968), Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón's Habla mudita (Speak, Little Mute Girl, 1973), and Antxón Eceiza's De cuerpo presente (In the Presence of the Body, 1967). Besides his Querejeta collaborations, he worked for producer José Luis Borau in Un, dos, tres . . . al escondite inglés (One, Two, Three . . . Gotcha! Iván Zulueta, 1970), Hay que matar a B. (B. Must Be Killed, José Luis Borau, 1975), and Furtivos (Poachers, José Luis Borau, 1975).Cuadrado's greatest achievement was the atmosphere he created, in collaboration with Víctor Erice, for the Querejeta-produced El espíritu de la colmena (The Spirit of the Beehive, 1973). The amber light in that film can be seen both as a literal expression of the beehive-like world the director describes and a metaphor of a period of repressed emotions. His last important film was Ricardo Franco's Pascual Duarte (1976), where he attempted an extremely contrasted chiaroscuro style. At that time, he was going blind and during the shoot of Angelino Fons's Emilia, parada y fonda, he understood he would be unable to work as a cinematographer. He committed suicide in 1980.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.