Gutiérrez, Chus


Gutiérrez, Chus
(1962- )
   With Gracia Querejeta, Icíar Bollaín, Azucena Rodríguez, and Isabel Coixet, Chus Gutiérrez belongs to the first strong generation of women directors to gain prominence in the 1990s. She was born in Granada and moved to Madrid when she was eight. As a child she fantasized about being an actress, but she only found her vocation as a filmmaker after a short period in London when she was 18. She moved to New York to study film-making and joined as a singer in the pop group Xoxonees. Some of her experiences trying to deal with the strangeness she felt in the big city are reflected in her first feature. Sublet (1991), shot on a shoe-string budget and with nonunion personnel, was funded with the help of Fernando Trueba and starred Bollaín herself as the director's alter ego.
   It took over a year for the film to get limited release, and in that time Gutiérrez put into practice an inspiration she got from a dream "where a lot of people in a room were talking of nothing but sex." The result was Sexo oral (Oral Sex, 1994), a series of edited interviews in which individuals share sexual experiences. This was followed by Alma gitana (Gipsy Soul, 1996), a love story between a young aspiring dancer and a gypsy woman across cultural divides. Problems with plotting and characterization made for unenthusiastic reviews. Insomnio (Insomnia, 1998), a story about women at crucial junctures in their lives, however, was well received. For four years she worked in television, within the limited conventions of the soap opera, and it was only in 2002 that she came back to feature direction with Poniente (Sunset), a project based on a script co-written with Bollaín.
   In 2005, Gutiérrez directed El calentito (El Calentito Pub), an engaging film that looked back on the early 1980s, a period of change and challenges for nonconformists. It told the story of a woman discovering her freedom against the background of pop music and "la movida," at a time when, momentarily, that freedom was threatened by a reactionary coup d'etat.

Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. . 2010.

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