San Sebastian to Honor Carmen Maura With Lifetime Achievement Award

Carmen Maura - P 2013
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Carmen Maura - P 2013

The actress is best known in the U.S. for her starring role in Pedro Almodovar's "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown."

MADRID -- Spanish actress Carmen Maura, the original Pedro Almodovar muse, will receive the Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award at the 61st San Sebastian International Film Festival, organizers announced Monday.

Maura, one of the most familiar faces from Spain on the international scene since the 1980s, will receive the award at the presentation of her latest work, Alex de la Iglesia's upcoming Witching and Bitching, which will screen out-of-competition as part of the festival's official section.

The film is the third time Maura has worked with de la Iglesia after her performances in the 2000 release Common Wealth, which won the actress the Silver Shell at the San Sebastian Film Festival, and 800 Bullets in 2002.

But Maura became an icon of Spain's most envelope-pushing films from the late 1970s and 1980s, such as Fernando Colomo's What’s a Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This, followed by three of Almodovar’s most emblematic films: Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón (Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom, 1980), Entre tinieblas (Dark Habits, 1983) and ¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto? (What Have I Done to Deserve This?, 1984).

But it was her roles in Almodovar's Matador (1986), La ley del deseo (Law of Desire, 1987), Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, 1988) and Volver (2005) that linked her image with the Oscar-winning director.

Throughout a career in cinema that includes more than a hundred films, Maura has worked with the most important directors in Spanish cinema: Carlos Saura (¡Ay, Carmela!, 1990), Jose Luis Borau (Tata mía/Dear Nanny, 1986), Fernando Trueba (Sal gorda/Coarse Salt, 1984; Se infiel y no mires con quien, 1985), Gonzalo Suarez (La reina anonima/The Anonymous Queen, 1992), Mario Camus (Sombras en una batalla/Shadows in a Conflict, 1993), Enrique Urbizu (Cómo ser infeliz y disfutarlo/How to be Miserable and Enjoy It, 1994), Manuel Gutierrez Aragon (El rey del río/King of the River, 1995), Manuel Gomez Pereira (Reinas/Queens, 2005) and Agusti Villaronga (Carta a Eva/Letter to Eva, 2012), among many others.

She has also had a significant international career and has worked with directors like Francis Ford Coppola (Tetro, 2009), Roger Planchon (Louis, enfant roi/Louis, the Child King, 1993), Etienne Chatiliez (Le bonheur est dans le pre/Happiness is in the field, 1995), Jean-Pierre Mocky (Alliance cherche doigt, 1997), André Téchiné (Alice et Martin/Alice and Martin, 1998), Alejandro Agresti (Valentín/El sueño de Valentín, 2002), Amos Gitai (Free Zone, 2005), John Irvin (The Garden of Eden, 2008) and Philippe Le Guay (Les femmes du 6ème étage/The Women on the 6th Floor, 2010). 

Among the numerous acknowledgements she has received throughout her career, Maura has won four Goya Awards, the best actress award at the Cannes Film Festival, the best actress award at the Venice Film Festival, a nomination for the Cesar for best actress, a Cesar Award for best supporting actress and two European Film Academy honors. She has also received the Film Academy Gold Medal, the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts and the Knight of Honor Medal of the Order of Arts and Letters of France.