Venezuelan filmmaker Diego Rísquez died today of cancer in Caracas at the age of 68. A multifaceted artist, painter and filmmaker, he was of the most significant Venezuelan auteurs of experimental cinema, whose work was featured at the Directors' Fortnight section of the Cannes Film Festival.
Born December 15, 1949 in Juan Griego, Venezuela, Rísquez studied social communication at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello but didn't finish his studies to pursue a career in theater. He worked both as an actor and a photographer and lived in Paris for a few years where he joined the “Paris “N” Theater” under the direction of Peruvian director Emilio Gally.
Back in Caracas in 1975, he started working in painting and sculpture, and made his first super 8 shorts. Rísquez was best known for his experimental trilogy on the European conquest of South America. The first part Bolívar, Tropikal Symphony / Bolívar, sinfonía tropikal (1979) became the first Super 8 film to be selected for Directors’ Fortnight in 1981. The second part of the trilogy Orinoko, New World / Orinoko, Nuevo Mundo was also screened at Directors' Fortnight in 1984. The trilogy was completed with the 1988 feature Amérika, Terra Incógnita. The trilogy was recently screened in Los Angeles last November as part of the series Ism, Ism: Experimental Cinema in Latin America, with the presence of the director.
Rísquez's most recent feature films included Manuela Sáenz (2000), a historic saga about the lover of Simon Bolívar; Francisco de Miranda (2006), Reverón (2011), and El Malquerido (2015) a biopic of popular bolero singer Felipe Pirela.