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11/13/2010

Spanish filmmaker Luis Garcia Berlanga dies at 89

November 13, 2010 | 10:14 am

Luis Garcia Berlanga, a Spanish filmmaker who was critical of the military dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco and who was credited with helping to revive the country's movie industry after its civil war, has died. He was 89.

Berlanga died Saturday at his home in Madrid, according to Spain's film academy, of which he was an honorary president and co-founder. He had Alzheimer's disease.

Berlanga wrote and directed his first short in 1948 and in 1951 made his first feature film, "Esa Pareja Feliz" ("That Happy Couple") in collaboration with Juan Antonio Bardem, father of Hollywood actor Javier Bardem.

He was also a contemporary and friend of iconic director Luis Bunuel.

"Along with Bunuel, he is one of the most important filmmakers of all time," said Alex de la Iglesia, the president of Spain's film academy.

Berlanga's 1953 film "Bienvenido, Mister Marshall" ("Welcome, Mr. Marshall") explored Spain's hopes that the United States would help the country restore democracy and prosperity as it had in much of Europe after World War II.

--Associated Press

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