VITAE

LIFE AND MIRACLES

 

 

Spanish author Carlos Atanes came into life in Barcelona in 1971 and lives in Madrid since 2007. Throughout his serene childhood he developed his talent drawing comics, creating theater performances at school, encouraging his friends to shoot a film in Super 8 mm and founding a very transgressive punk music band. When he was 12 years old was severely reprimanded in the school by Piarists Fathers, threatening him with expulsion in retaliation for providing his classmates with photocopies of pornographic comics that he written, drew and published (it was a well organized distribution with which he does well out of a deal).

 

He started to write and direct independent films in 1987. In late 1988 he began film studies in Barcelona, culminating after a few years with fireworks in a four-week stay in the south of France, shooting a short film in 35 mm in collaboration with the universities of Bristol and Montpellier. Atanes was the director of photography of the film. His protests against the very poor conditions of stay are rewarded with the immediate expulsion of Atanes and two colleagues. Inevitably the filming finished with the emergency hospitalization of several crew members due to the reported weariness and malnutrition.

 

Throughout the 1990's Atanes made many short films, documentaries, experimental videos and video installations, publishes underground magazines, organized events, lectures and participated in debates (some of them were memorable, like the one held at CCCB that ended in riot and the police arresting two naked speakers who seek to flee climbing a nearby building facade), and founded several associations successively: of short film directors, video artists, pseudo-situationist artists and even a group of Galician filmmakers (Atanes himself is of Galician origin on his mother's side). All these efforts inevitably failed. Towards the end of the decade his films were gaining more transgressor hints progressively. Distaste samples at public screenings and even ashtrays flying towards the screen were not uncommon. The anthology Codex Atanicus collects the most significant works of this period.

 

After the turn of the century, he decided to settle down and focus on writing novels, plays, essays (like the film direction handbook Los Trabajos del Director) and making feature length movies, of which he has written and directed four to date: the dystopia FAQ (2004), the space adventure PROXIMA (2007), the weird fetish fantasy Maximum Shame (2010) and the unclassifiable pornophilosophical delirium Gallino, the Chicken System (2012).

It should be noted that, as an exemple of Atanes' clairvoyande, rocky planet "Proxima b" (discovered in August 2016 in the orbit of Proxima Centauri) coincides both in location and characteristics to the planet featured and visited in the science-fiction film PROXIMA.

 

Another feature movie project is deserted due to lack of funding, Aleister Crowley in the Mouth of Hell, although the script has been published as paperback in 2013. It is based on the life of famous British magician and his Sexual Magick (Atanes is a recognized expert in Sexual Magick as he revealed many times, including his appearance on popular Spanish TV program Cuarto Milenio). A first attempt of making a film about Crowley, Perdurabo (Where is Aleister Crowley? (2003) was just 33% filmed and released as medium-length film.

 

Atanes's filmography is an odd mix of fantasy, surrealism, eroticism and weirdness. The audience's reception is always polarised and his films are systematically and permanently ignored by Spanish media and film festivals. But it also achieves European and American film festivals recognition (Great Prize from the Athens Panorama of Independent Filmmakers and nominations from European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation, the Tel-Aviv's Icon, the BUT Film Festival in The Netherlands, and so on) and acclaim from American underground film reviewers. Atanes' style (very singular, commonly known as atanic) is indebted, in his own words, from a variety of art and literature sources. But the principal film one is the 1970s movies, a decade that he admires because he feels it gave the most daring and amazing movies. Werner Herzog, Federico Fellini, David Lynch, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Brian de Palma, Marco Ferreri, Ken Russell, Luis Buñuel, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ivan Zulueta, Roman Polanski and John Waters, among others, made during those years their films more visceral, extravagant and visionary. Not to mention the genre of science fiction of that period, with which Atanes maintains an indelible emotional bond.

 

From 2011 to 2018 he sinks into a theatrical frenetic activity, writting (and often directing) several plays, as La cobra en la cesta de mimbre, El hombre de la pistola de nata, El triunfo de la mediocridad, La quinta estación del puto Vivaldi, Un genio olvidado (Un rato en la vida de Charles Howard Hinton), La línea del horizonte and the succesful short play Necrofilia fina, among many others. His plays have been done in Madrid and sometimes in other places like Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia, Buenos Aires, Mexico City or Miami.

 

At present he lives in Madrid writing plays, essays (Demos lo que sobre a los perros, Magia del Caos para escépticos...), preparing new movies and trying not to get into too much trouble.

(See the Agenda).

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