Alejandro Amenábar's Life
1972 saw the birth of one of Spain's most notable talented directors. Alejandro Amenábar grew up in Spain after having fled the corruption-wracked Chile as a young boy along with his family. He quickly acknowledged his unquenchable thirst for a life dedicated to film-making, and as a teenager was already directing short films.
His family moved to Madrid in Spain where they lived for a while in a campervan before moving into a more permanent residence in 1978. His parents preferred Alejandro to not watch television, but to read, write and play musical instruments which is probably why he is so creative today. Alejandro Amenábar studied in various schools in Madrid and the surrounding area. Amenábar began studying at university in Madrid but famously dropped out. However, here he would make many useful friends that would help him later in life, such as the famous Spanish actor Eduardo Noriega.
In 1991 he released his first short film entitled La Cabeza, which immediately brought Alejandro Amenábar out of anonymity by earning him a prize from the Amateur Independent Filmmakers Association. He immediately followed his first success up with an equally if not better showing with Himenóptero in 1992, which garnered best short film awards at various film festivals. He also began teaching himself music so that he could add scores to these movies.
Tésis, Alejandro Amenábar's first full-length feature film, hit screens when he was only 22 years old and secured the young director's reputation as one of Spain's greatest cinematic promises. The film was set in the Information Sciences department of Amenábar's old university, the 'Universidad Complutense de Madrid'. It was so successful that it was nominated for eight Goya awards, of which it won seven, including Best Film.
In 1997, Amenábar released the psychological and science-fiction based movie, 'Abre los ojos' (Open Your Eyes) which starred Penelope Cruz and Eduardo Noriega. 'Abre los ojos' was a very powerful movie and even made an impression on Tom Cruise. Cruise acquired the rights to the film and became the director and star of his American remake of the movie which was called 'Vanilla Sky'. Tom Cruise also requested Penelope Cruz to play the same role as she did in the original film.
Following this, Alejandro Amenábar made an English language film in 2001, 'The Others', which starred Tom Cruise's former wife, Nicole Kidman. This movie was both successful in Spain and abroad, and especially in the USA. 'The Others' received eight Goyas including Best Film and Best Director.
The year of 2004 saw Amenábar produce a film concerning a controversial true story. 'Mar Adentro' (The Sea Inside) dealt with the story of a Spanish man, Ramón Sampedro (played by Javier Bardem), who was paralyzed from the neck down, and his decision to end his life in a dignified manner. Yet again, this movie was another huge success for Alejandro Amenábar as it won fourteen Goya awards, including Best Film and Best Director, and it won the Oscar award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2004.
To this day, the multi-talented Amenábar tirelessly works as director, screenwriter, and musical composer of his films, sometimes also lending an able hand as cameraman and editor.
Alejandro Amenábar has said that his movies are not movies of answers but of questions. His collection of films features intelligent, intricate and twisting plots that tackle a variety of highly original subjects in highly original ways. Pulling his influences from classic terror movies and effortlessly integrating other genres such as science fiction and the demented "snuff-movies," the majority of Alejandro Amenábar's films are flawless, tension-filled psychological thrillers.
Always questioning and exploring new terrain, Alejandro Amenábar takes a break from the thriller genre to delve into the ever-controversial subjects of death with dignity and euthanasia in the emotional and heart-breaking film Mar Adentro
While Alejandro Amenábar's film career has no indication of slowing down any time soon, he has already garnered a lifetime supply of awards. Not only have his films impressed and inspired audiences around the world, but they've also earned the young director Oscars, Goya Awards, European Film Awards, Critics Choice Awards, Golden Globes, and much more. Amenábar's masterpieces include:
- La Cabeza
- Abre los ojos
- Los Otros (The Others)
- Mar adentro