Miguel Picazo

Miguel Picazo de Dios (27 March 1927 23 April 2016)[1] was a Spanish film director, screenwriter and actor.[2] He is best known for his first feature film La tía Tula (Aunt Tula) (1964).

Miguel Picazo
Miguel Picazo de Dios

(1927-03-27)27 March 1927
Died23 April 2016(2016-04-23) (aged 89)
Guarromán (Jaén), Spain
OccupationFilm director
Years active1960–1997


Born in Cazorla (Jaén), Picazo was raise in Guadalajara and studied law.[3] Interested in filmmaking, he entered Spain's national film school, Intituto de investigaciones y Experiencias Cinematográficas, graduating as director in 1960 with a practice film entitled Habitación de alquiler (Rented Room).[4] He then became a teacher in the newly restructured Escuela Oficial de Cine (EOC) and eventually he was able to direct his first film, La tía Tula (Aunt Tula) (1964).[3] An updated adaptation of the well known novel by Miguel de Unamuno, portraying the oppressive and puritanical environment of provincial life in Spain. The film, helped by a strong performance in the lead by Aurora Bautista as the sexually repressed title character, was a critical and commercial success and brought Picazo to the forefront of the new Spanish cinema.[3]

Despite the success of his debut film, it took Picazo three years to make his second film, Oscuros sueños de agosto (Dark dreams of August) (1967), a film marred by cuts by the censors and the death of the film's producer, Cesáreo González which hampered commercial distribution.[3] This failure put Picazo away from filming for the next nine years.[5]

Meanwhile, Picazo devoted his creative energy to scripting and directing a series of short films for Spanish television, including children's films and adaptations of literary works, making more than seventy programs for Spanish television. He returned to directing with El hombre que supo amar (The Man Who Knew Love) (1976) a biopic of John of God that was produced by the saint's religious order which also backed the film's distribution. Nevertheless El hombre que supo amar fared poorly commercially. Picazo's fourth film, (Los claros motivos del deseo) (The clear motives of Desire) (1976), about adolescence life in the provinces, fared no better at the box office.[5] This new commercial failure brought the director back to his work on television until, thanks to the Miró's law, he was able to shoot his fifth film Extramuros (Outside the walls) (1985), adapted from the novel of the same name by Jesús Fernández Santos. The film, starring Aurora Bautista as tyrannical mother superior of a convent of sexually repressed nuns whose authority is challenged by two younger women, played by Mercedes Sampietro and Carmen Maura.[5] Extramuros became Picazo's last film.[3]

Besides being a film director, Picazo played some small roles as an actor in few films, most notably in Víctor Erice's The Spirit of the Beehive (1973) and Alejandro Amenábar's Thesis (Tesis) (1996). After his retirement, Picazo was a juror in many film festivals and received an Honorary Goya Award for his life’s work in 1997.[2]

Filmography as director

Year English title Original title Notes
1964 Aunt Tula La tía Tula Based on the eponymous novel by Miguel de Unamuno
1967 Dark dreams of August Oscuros sueños de agosto
1976 The Man Who Knew Love El hombre que supo amar
1976 The clear motives of desire Los claros motivos del deseo
1985 Outside the walls Extramuros Based on a novel by Jesús Fernández Santos


  1. Muere el director Miguel Picazo, retratista del dolor de ‘La tía Tula’ (in Spanish)
  2. "Miguel Picazo". spainisculture.com. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  3. Torres, Diccionario Espasa Cine Español, p. 375
  4. D’Lugo, Guide to the Cinema of Spain, p. 188
  5. D’Lugo, Guide to the Cinema of Spain, p. 189


  • D’Lugo, Marvin. Guide to the Cinema of Spain. Greenwood Press, 1997. ISBN 0313294747
  • Torres, Augusto M. Diccionario Espasa Cine Español. Espasa Calpe, 1994, ISBN 84-239-9203-9
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