Spanish screenwriter and novelist Rafael Azcona Fernández (24 October 1926 – 24 March 2008) was born in the city of Logroño, the capital of the Rioja region of north-east Spain.

Azcona began his career as a writer for the satirical magazine La Codorniz. His novels and screenplays were characterised by the surreal and the bizarre, and belonged to the Spanish surrealist tradition of Federico García Lorca, Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel, Rafael Alberti, Luis Cernuda and Joan Miró.

Azcona’s first two screenplays were adaptations of his novels:

  • El Pisito (The Little Apartment, 1958), an anti-bourgeois black comedy which centres on a middle-class man who marries a crotchety, dying octogenarian in order to inherit her apartment so he can marry his fiancee.
  • El Cochecito (The Wheelchair, 1959), a sardonic study of geriatric revolt, in which an elderly but fit man becomes obsessed by the desire to own a motorised wheelchair like those of his disabled friends.

A scene from El Cochecito

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Azcona received international acclaim for his movie screenplay Belle Époque which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1994. He died at his home in Madrid, Spain, on 24 March 2008, at the age of 81.

 

Stamp from my collection. Information from Wikipedia and Azcona’s obituary in The Guardian, Thursday 10 April 2008.