Anthology Film Archives


May 29 – June 5

Iván Zulueta (1943-2009) is one of Spain’s most acclaimed experimental filmmakers. While his international stature has gradually risen in recent years, this has been almost entirely due to his 1979 film, ARREBATO (RAPTURE) – one of the two features he directed, ARREBATO is a powerful and uncanny story about drug and film addiction that has deservedly entered the pantheon of global cult cinema. However, the attention paid to this major work has overshadowed the rest of Zulueta’s career, which is barely known abroad.

An upper-class Catholic boy from San Sebastián, Zulueta (born Juan Ricardo Miguel Zulueta Vergarajauregui, since Iván was not an option due to its communist echoes in Francoist Spain) was a visual artist of immeasurable creativity and talent. His cinephilia was fed from an early stage, especially after his father, Antonio de Zulueta, became the director of the San Sebastian International Film Festival from 1957-60. From 1960-63, Iván studied art and décor at the Centro Español de Nuevas Profesiones and, in 1964, he took painting lessons at the Art Students League in New York. His first contact with American culture – especially during such a repressed period in Spanish society – had an immeasurable impact, not only on Iván himself but on his generation of friends and filmmakers who were eager to connect with international pop culture, avant-garde aesthetics, and socio-political concerns removed from those of the dictatorship in Spain. Upon his return to Spain in 1964, Iván enrolled in the national film school and began a career as a filmmaker, but also as a draftsman, illustrator (he designed numerous posters, including those for some of Pedro Almodóvar’s early films), television producer, decorator, actor, and photographer. Though his “official” filmography would comprise only two feature films, two short episodes for TV series, and a TV program, his passion for the moving image and his rich oeuvre as a Polaroid artist, graphic designer, and maker of Super-8mm and 16mm experimental films has exerted a profound influence on generations of artists.

This retrospective is the most comprehensive ever presented on Iván Zulueta. Propelled by Filmoteca Española’s acquisition of Zulueta’s archive in 2020-21, the series encompasses six programs of newly-discovered Super-8mm materials, which have been digitized in 4K. The other five programs survey Zulueta’s career as a film director, bringing together the two student films he made in the mid-1960s, his first feature (an unlikely attempt at directing a musical), UN, DOS, TRES, AL ESCONDITE INGLÉS (1970), the radical and innovative short films that followed throughout the 1970s, and his masterpiece, ARREBATO (1979). Seen in concert with the 80-plus rolls of film that have been retrieved by Filmoteca Española, these programs constitute a more diverse, vital, and complex image of this indisputable figure in the genealogy of Spanish experimental film culture.

This retrospective is guest-curated by Miguel Fernández Labayen (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid) (who wrote the introduction and, unless otherwise noted, program descriptions), and has been organized in collaboration with the Filmoteca Española. It is presented with generous support from the Cultural Department of the Consulate General of Spain.

The “Unseen Zulueta” programs have been curated by Miguel Fernández Labayen and Josetxo Cerdán (Filmoteca Española, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid).

Special thanks to Miguel Fernández Labayen; Josetxo Cerdán; Virginia López Montenegro; Rodrigo Carlon (Consulate General of Spain, New York); Elena Antón, Domingo Guerrero Borrull, and Noelia Sastre (Filmoteca Española); Victoria Bernal (EGEDA); Andrés Duque; Frank Jaffe (Altered Innocence); and Augusto M. Torres.

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