So long to ‘landismo’: screen legend Alfredo Landa passes away at 80

His long line of repressed comic characters came to embody Spaniards' frustrations

Spanish film star Alfredo Landa, who appeared in more than 120 movies.
Spanish film star Alfredo Landa, who appeared in more than 120 movies.JORDI SOCÍAS

Spain said farewell to one of its most beloved screen stars on Thursday as Alfredo Landa, star of 120 films, passed away in Madrid at the age of 80.

He was best known for the long line of sexually repressed comic characters he played in the tail-end and aftermath of the Franco years, in which he came to embody the national and generational frustrations felt by many Spaniards — a comedy subgenre that came to be known as landismo.

“I didn’t coin the word, but I am enormously grateful to the guy who came up with it,” he once said. “Landismo has made its mark and, even though many have referred to it pejoratively, today it is spoken about as a social phenomenon.”

Landa was also a talented dramatic actor, winning (jointly with co-star Paco Rabal) the Best Actor award at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival for his role in Mario Camus’s Los santos inocentes.

Born in Pamplona on the third day of the third month of 1933, he started his career on the Madrid stage before debuting on the big screen at the age of 29 in the 1962 Spanish comedy classic Atraco a las tres, alongside such established names as José Luis López Vázquez.

He was also the recipient of two Goya Awards and received a lifetime achievement award from the Spanish Film Academy at the 2007 Goyas ceremony.

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