Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura, who earned three Academy Award nominations for Best Foreign Language Film, has died aged 91.
Spain’s Cinema Academy said Saura died on Friday, a day before he was to receive an honorary Goya award for his prolific career.
He was a popular director among arthouse cinema enthusiasts.
He earned international recognition for his 1965 movie La Caza (The Hunt) which was awarded the Silver Bear at the International Berlin Film Festival. He later earned another two Silver Bear awards for his work.
While Spain was under the rule of dictator General Francisco Franco until his death in 1975, Saura tried to evade censorship while addressing social issues that were unpalatable to the ruling regime.
His three films that earned Oscar nominations for Best Foreign Language Film were Mama Cumple 100 Anos in 1979, Carmen in 1984 and Tango in 1999.
Saura focused in recent years on traditional music, producing several movies featuring flamenco singers and dancers, as well as fado or jota, the traditional song and dance of his birthplace, the Aragon region.
Spanish film star Antonio Banderas was among a host of artists who mourned Saura’s loss.
“With Carlos Saura, a very important part of the history of Spanish cinema dies. He leaves behind him an indispensable work for deep reflection on the behaviour of the human being,” Banderas said.
Saura was active until his final days.
His most recent film documentary about the origins and evolution of plastic arts, Las Paredes Hablan, was released in cinemas a week ago.
“It shows his tireless activity and his love for work until the last moment,” the Film Academy said in a message, describing him as a fundamental and irreplaceable filmmaker in the history of Spanish cinema.