- Esteva, Jacinto
- (1936-1985)Jacinto Esteva has a very short list of credits, but his importance lies in his key role as one of the gurus, with Ricardo Muñoz Suay and Joaquín Jordá, of the avant-garde and experimental film movement known as the Escuela de Barcelona. He studied philosophy and travelled widely in the 1950s, with long stays in Rome, Geneva, and New York. His first short, Notes sur l'émigration (Notes on Migration, 1960), won an award at the Moscow Film Festival and had an impact on other Spanish filmmakers of the period for its use of documentary strategies to comment critically on social realities. Influenced by cinema verité trends and with the support of Pere Portabella, he made the documentary Alrededor de las salinas (Around the Salt Mines, 1962). His first feature, Lejos de los árboles (Far From the Trees, 1963), which tackled the dark side of Spanish reality by documenting rural celebrations, was forbidden by the censors and only released in 1970.In 1965, he set up his own production company, Filmscontacto, which would become the key production company of the Barcelona group after it backed Dante no es únicamente severo (Dante Is Not Only Severe, 1967), a film conceived under the influence of the nouvelle vague which Esteva co-directed with Joaquín Jordá. This title (a vaguely plotted, metaphysically inflected fantasy set in the world of fashion models) became emblematic of the radical aesthetics practised by the Escuela de Barcelona filmmakers. An avant-garde approach to narrative made the film too obscure for the censors to intervene, but still managed to convey a radical questioning of language and convention with a critical potential. His next films, however, also met obstacles with censors, and his uncompromising attitude distanced him from any possibility of exhibition. His last film, El hijo de María (Maria's Son, 1972), was never released commercially, and he left Spain until the death of Francisco Franco, setting up a company that organized safaris in Central Africa.He died in a plane accident in 1985 as he was traveling to Africa for a hunting trip. Joaquín Jordá's documentary El encargo del cazador (The Hunter's Request, 1990) is actually a tribute to his friend and is a collage of personal testimonies around Esteva's personality and legacy.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.