Juan Antonio Bardem

02.07.1922, Madrid, Spain - 30.10.2002, Madrid, Spain


Bardem is a Spanish director and screenwriter. He studied agriculture but began a film career in 1946 after getting a job in the film department of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture. Afterwards he enrolled in the Instituto de Investigaciones y Experiencias cinematográficas (IIEC), from which he never graduated. He wrote critiques and in 1953 founded the film magazine Objetivo, was banned by the government two years later. With a colleague from his studies, Luis García Berlango, he directed the short documentary Paseo Sobre una Guerra Antigua. Together they wrote the screenplay for the feature film That Happy Couple (Esa pareja feliz, 1951). They also co-wrote the screenplay for Welcome Mr. Marshall (Bienvenido, Mr. Marshall, 1952) directed by Berlanga. Bardem’s screenwriting and directing debut was the film Comedians (Cómicos, 1953). Since his films were often harsh critiques of Francisco Franco’s regime, he often had problems with the government and censorship. During the shooting of the film Main Street (Calle Mayor, 1956) he was arrested and while in prison won the critics’ award (FIPRESCI) for his previous film Death of a Cyclist (Muerte de un ciclista, 1955) at the Cannes Film festival. He got the same award at the Venice Film Festival for the film Main Street (Calle Mayor, 1956). His other films include The Player Pianos(Los pianos mecánicos, 1965), Foul Play (El puente, 1977) and Seven Days in January (Siete días de enero, 1979).


Films by this director

Death of a Cyclist

(Muerte de un ciclista, Spain, Italy, 1955)

Directed by: Juan Antonio Bardem
PHOTOGRAPHY: Alfredo Fraile

There is an accident on a village road; a car has hit a bicyclist. Instead of helping the bicyclist, the driver and his passenger flee. Hoping to avoid uncomfortable questions and the possibility of their affair being discovered, María José and Juan choose to sacrifice the life of a stranger…

b/w, 88'

Main Street

(Calle Mayor, 1956)

Directed by: Juan Antonio Bardem
PHOTOGRAPHY: Michel Kelber

Isabel is a kind and sensitive old-maid who lives with her widowed mother. She has already given up on her dreams of ever getting married, but everything changes when she meets Juan, an attractive man who seems to like her. While her dreams of love emerge again, she does not realize that she is the object of a practical joke by Juan and his immature middle-aged friends.

digital, b/w, 99 min



Directed by: Juan Antonio Bardem
PHOTOGRAPHY: Gabriel Figueroa, Cecilio Paniagua

Marquis Bradomín lives a leisurely and monotonous life until the women surrounding him inspire him to commit acts of greatness. First he falls in love with the wife of a Spanish nobleman. After that he falls for the lover of a Mexican dictator and then decides to join the Mexican revolution…

digital, color, 103 min

The Innocents

(Los inocentes / Cronica negra, 1963)

Directed by: Juan Antonio Bardem
PHOTOGRAPHY: Alberto Etchebehere

This is a critique of the bourgeois told through a story of two adulterers. While Bardem’s Death of a Cyclist begins with an accident caused by adulterers, this film begins with the death of the adulterers themselves. What were an older member of the elite and the young wife of a bank clerk doing alone in a car?

35 mm, b/w, 105 min

The Player Pianos

(Los pianos mecánicos, 1965)

Directed by: Juan Antonio Bardem

Vincent, a sensitive young man from Paris, travels to a friend’s house in a Spanish coastal town to find some peace. He soon meets Jenny, the owner of a local club with whom he has a relationship, and Pascal Regnier, an alcoholic with writer’s block who is spending his summer vacation there with his son Daniel.

35 mm, color, 94 min
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