Serrano de Osma, Carlos

(1916-1984)
   Carlos Serrano de Osma was one of the most stylish and distinctive directors of the early Franco period. A Republican soldier during the Civil War, he was one of the few directors of the period who not only was highly cultivated but also approached film experimentally. He led a faintly articulated group in the immediate postwar known as "Los telúricos" ("the telurics") that promoted a view of cinema removed both from realist and costumbrista conventions and from idealized comfortable filmmaking (other names associated with this group were Lorenzo Llobet García, Fernando Fernán Gómez, and Pedro Lazaga). Closer to expressionism and the intensity of poetic vision, he is a unique figure in the conventional landscape of the 1940s who always worked on the margins of the official industry.
   Unfortunately, Serrano de Osma's efforts were not always successful with critics. In 1947, he directed three very unusual films, all stylistically striking and thematically complex. His debut was a complex version of Pío Baroja's Abel Sánchez (1947), which audiences found hard to follow, prodigal as it was with odd camera positions and startling editing effects. The same year he directed La sirena negra (The Black Mermaid, 1947), an equally expressionistic film with gothic elements. Embrujo (Enchantment, 1947) was an emphatic attempt to intellectualize flamenco music, starring Lola Flores and Manolo Caracol, but critics found the Freudian imagery inimical to the essence of the music. His career lost momentum after these efforts. In 1951, he co-directed (with Daniel Mangrané) a version of Wagner's Parsifal. The box-office failure of this film was largely responsible for his decline.
   From 1947, he became a founder and one of the most respected teachers of film direction at the Instituto de Investigaciones y Experiencias Cinematográficas (which he directed in the fruitful period 1961-68), with an interest in Einstein and Russian montage.
   Historical Dictionary of Spanish Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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