Madrid — Spanish filmmaker Jose Luis Borau died Friday at age 83 after a lengthy battle with throat cancer.
For 50 years, Borau was widely considered the godfather of Spanish cinema, despite having only directed nine films. He was also a writer, producer, and distributor, as well as a historian and teacher.
Borau achieved international success with the 1975 film Poachers, which won the Golden Shell in San Sebastian and became one of the most famous films in Spanish history. However, he made his debut a decade earlier in 1965 with Brandy, a spaghetti western. He also wrote My Dearest Senorita in 1972, which was nominated for an Oscar.
His last film, Leo, was released in 2000 and won him a Goya Award for Best Director.
Borau was the only member of Spanish cinema in the Real Academia De La Lengua (Spanish Language Academy). He was also the former president of the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE), an artists’ association.
Juan Antonio Bayona, director of The Impossible, called Borau a “great director and a great person.” Agustin Almodovar, brother of Pedro Almodovar, called Borau’s death “a very sad loss.”
Borau was also the author of a well-regarded dictionary of Spanish cinema.
The filmmaker once said of Poachers that its success made him “a little sad.”
“Nobody is bitter sweet, but I’m a little sad,” Borau said. “My scale is a bit like what happened to Orson Welles, who made great films after Citizen Kane, but just remember that title.”
The Spanish Royal Academy just announced the creation of a new annual prize in honor of Jose Luis Borau to recognize the best Spanish-language screenplay.