Jorge Semprun, the Spanish writer and resistance fighter who spent most of his life in exile in France, has died at home in Paris aged 87. (See Related News)
He is remembered for his screenplays in the 1960s-70s, for Alain Resnais, with “La Guerre est Finie” (The War is Over) and “Stavisky”, and for Costa Gavras, with the classic political dramas “Z” and”L’Aveu” (The Confession).
Euronews Announces death of Jorge Semprun:
Tributes by Costa Gavras, Felipe Gonzalez:
Felipe Gonzales Spain’s PM comments on his former Culture Minister, as well as Costa Gavras director of two of his screenplays “Z” and “The Confession” Another Euronews Report:
All but “Stavisky”starred Yves Montand, about whom Semprun later wrote an acclaimed biography.
A Spanish Civil War exile, he joined the French communist resistance and was captured and sent to Buchenwald.
He eventually returned to post-Franco Spain to become culture minister.
While he supported left-wing causes all his life, he rejected Stalinism, and summed up his philosophy in his later years by saying: “The jungle of the market is better than the totalitarian zoo.”
Critics say hiswork was framed by his experience of the Nazi concentration camp and his first major work, The Long Voyage (aka The Cattle Truck), dealt with his capture by the Gestapo and his deportation.
Odd man out
Semprun died “very peacefully” at home, his grandson Thomas Landman said.
He was born on10 December 1923 in Madrid, the son of a leading politician and the grandson of a former prime minister.
The writer was later to recall how, at the age of nine, he saw his mother hang the Republican flag from their apartment window, defending the democracy soon to be overwhelmed by the nationalist forces of Gen Francisco Franco.
Go to 15 :27 for interview with Jorge Semprun ( After another one with German Director Volker Shlondorff) :
After a period in the Netherlands, Semprun spent most of his life in France, settling in Paris.
Following the war, he was involved for nearly 20 years with the communist underground in Spain, using the pseudonym Federico Sanchez, until he was expelled from the party as a “deviationist” in 1964.
His screenplays are associated with the actor Yves Montand, about whom he wrote an acclaimed biography.
With the restoration of democracy in Spain, Semprun became a prominent figure in Spanish as well as French cultural circles, and his stint as culture minister in Madrid, where he served as a non-party member of the Socialist government from 1988, was thelogical culmination of his political career but proved too independent in his views, and returned to Paris two years later to resume writing.
In 1995, purists in the Academie Francaise objected to his candidacy to the prestigious French literary institution.
Backing down, hewas soon elected unanimously to the less lofty Academie Goncourt.
“I thought it would be amusing to be the ‘Spaniard’ in the Academie Francaise, the way I’d been the ‘Frenchman’ in the Spanish government,” here marked jokingly.
His experiences in government were the subject of his memoir “Federico Sanchez vous salue bien”, whose title echoes his earlier account of life in the Spanish Communist party, “The Autobiography of Federico Sanchez”.
His later work included “L’Ecriture ou la Vie” (Writing or Life), inwhich he returned yet again to the problem of finding an appropriate tone for describing the indescribable, his concentration camp experiences.
Related Pictory :
Recommended Watchings :
Series of Videos of Jorge Semprun’s interviews notably his support of King Juan Carlos at the time of the failed Coup of the Colonels in Spain during which the King bravely sided with the Spaniard Democrats which helped put an end to the crisis. Go Here