On February 1, 2009, Jess Franco received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Goya Awards (Spain's version of the Oscars). For those of you who might be asking yourself, “Who is Jess Franco?” you’re not alone. But trust us, the man deserves his moment and is required viewing for any serious student of the genre.
With a career spanning over 50 years and nearly 200 directorial credits to his name (under nearly as many pseudonyms), Franco is a one-of-a-kind cult filmmaker who has carved out his place in history through sheer quantity, if not always quality. He has worked alongside such screen legends as Christopher Lee, Klaus Kinski and Howard Vernon, along with Eurobabes Laura Gemser and Lina Romay. Franco would eventually marry Romay and cast her in over 30 films, often in a state of undress. (Thanks for sharing, Jess!)
Since much of Franco’s output might be considered schlock/exploitation (which, well, much of it is), it is all the more impressive that the Goyas chose to honor him. In the attached YouTube clip of the official ceremony, Franco is introduced by Spanish superstar Santiago Segura (Accion Mutante, Day of the Beast, Beyond Re-Animator), with luminaries Penelope Cruz and Alex de la Iglesia applauding one of their own from the audience.
In the career retrospective montage, offering praise and commentary, are Jack Taylor (Count Dracula, Female Vampire), Ricardo Palacios (Blood of Fu Manchu) and Antonio Mayans (Oasis of the Zombies, Mansion of the Living Dead). And hey, when are the Oscars going to start showing clips with full frontal nudity??? We’re thinking that would pull in a heck of a lot more viewers than those tacky production numbers (or Hugh Jackman, for that matter).
From all of us at WildClaw, hearty congratulations to both Franco and the Goyas for their courage, creativity and spirit. For more info about Franco, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jess_Franco