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Álex de la Iglesia
Born Alejandro de la Iglesia Mendoza
December 4, 1965 (1965-12-04) (age 44)
Bilbao, Spain
Occupation film director and screenwriter
Official website

Álex de la Iglesia (born December 4, 1965) is a Spanish Basque film director.

Most of De La Iglesia's films reached cult status thanks to their weird sense of humour.



Álex de la Iglesia was born in Bilbao, Spain in 1965. He is a philosophy graduate from the University of Deusto who ended up working in the comic book field at a young age. He had a brief stint in television before finding work as production designer on Pablo Berger's 'Mamá'. This little seen short film focuses on a family forced to live in a basement after a nuclear war and features a little boy who wears a Batman costume.

Enrique Urbizu came calling for his production designer services in 1991 for 'Todo por la pasta' (Anything For Bread) a Basque crime thriller which was nominated for 4 Goya Awards, and won 1 (best supporting actress). A good film to get De La Iglesia noticed.

He then met José Guerricaechevarria and together they made the short film, Mirindas Asesinas (1991), in which a boring man, whose mind is gradually degenerating, is on the verge of becoming a psychotic killer. The two men became fast friends and have worked together ever since, writing the screenplays to every one of De La Iglesia's films.

In 1993 De La Iglesia received a big break when Spain's most famous director, Pedro Almodóvar, produced his debut feature Accion mutante (Mutant Action). This tale of a group of crippled and handicapped outcasts in the future taking arms against handsome oppressors, became an independent success globally. It also received two prizes at the Montreal Fantasia Festival, and three Goya's.

The next step he took was 'El día de la Bestia (The Day Of The Beast)' (1995). It won 6 Goya's, the Best Director award amongst them. It also marked his first collaboration with producer Andrés Vicente Gómez.

Wanting to build on the success of 'The Day Of The Beast', Gómez hired Iglesia to direct 'Perdita Durango' based on novelist Barry Gifford's '59 Degrees and Raining; The Story of Perdita Durango'. Barry Gifford helped out on the script also. Isabella Rosselini played Perdita Durango in David Lynch's 'Wild At Heart', also based on a Gifford work.

The film was in English, but did not prove as great a success as hoped; for some it felt too post Tarantino, a barb sure to hurt an original talent like Iglesia. The film was also more nasty in its violence, and confronting (though with typically dark humour), resulting cuts and running times around the globe varying from 95 minutes in South Korea to 126 minutes in Spain. It was rumoured Bigas Luna was originally offered the directors chair for the film.

Back in Spain, Iglesia had success with 'Dying of Laughter' (1999) nominated for 3 Goya's, won 2 (a dark comedy about a Martin & Lewis style comic duo with no love for each other); 'La Comunidad' (2000) 15 Goya nominations, won 3 (a dark comedy/thriller set in an apartment block with a money scamble); '800 Bullets' (2002) 4 Goya nominations, 1 win, (a homage to spaghetti westerns), and 'Crimen ferpecto' (2004), again a dark comedy thriller with a man aspiring to perfection, winning 6 Goya's as a result. All these films have the recipe of dark humour, selfish aspirational characters, and very sexy situations.

De La Iglesia himself also provided the voice of The Underminer in the Spanish language dubbing of The Incredibles (2004).

In 2006 he directed an episode of the TV series Peliculas para no dormir (Films To Keep You Awake) titled 'The Baby's Room'.

He has directed Elijah Wood and John Hurt in The Oxford Murders, which is his second movie in English, released in Spain in January 2008.



  • Los Increíbles (The Incredibles Spanish version, voice)
  • Spanish Movie (2009')


External links



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