Javier Aguirre was born on June 13, 1935 in San Sebastian (Spain). With fifteen years he starts to collaborate with film magazines ("Radiocinema", "Imágenes", "Film Ideal", "Nuestro Cine", "Temas de Cine", etc..
In 1955 he founds and directs the San Sebastian Film Club. In 1956-1957 he organizes the III Week of Cinema Learning, the I Course of Film Studies and the National Festival of Amateur Cinemographic art.
In 1961 he won the “Concha de Oro” (golden shell) for his short-film “Pasajes Tres” (passing three) in the International Festival of Cinema in San Sebastian. The very same year he is honoured by San Sebastian’s Cine-club.
He lives in Madrid Since 1956. There he studied at the IIEC (Institute of Cinematographic Experiences and Investigations). He worked as a second assistant director with Eugenio Martín and Cesar Ardavín. Since 1960 directs short films professionally. Since 1964 he directs long feature films. He has directed over 40 long films.
As movie director, he has worked in almost all kind of genres: documentary ("España insólita"), musical ("Los chicos con las chicas"), terror ("El jorobado de la morge"), comedy ("Los que tocan el piano "), thriller (" Volveré a nacer "), historical (" Daphnis y Chloe "), drama (" Carne apaleada "), children ("La guerra de los niños"), etc.
He´s a unique case in which the same director achieves great commercial success with the movies he´s hired for, and at the same time he directs avant-garde short films and long films (always with final copy in 35 mm), that search for the limits in the film language. With is avant-garde long films he has adapted the works of Fernando Pessoa ("The Sailor"), Samuel Beckett ("Company"), Jorge Luis Borges ("Le regret d´Heraclite"), Rafael Alberti ("About Angels"), Seneca ("Medea"), etc. .., and has several projects about works of Federico Garcia Lorca, Vicente Aleixandre, ...
With his avant/garde-experimental short films he has been awarded in film festivals like: Venice, San Sebastián, Valladolid, Bordighera, Strasbourg, Bilbao, .. Since 1967 he radicalizes his experiments with a group of short films called "Anti-Cine" the audiovisual possibilities of the cinema are explored with special focus on the abstraction.
In 1971 he published a book ("Anti-cine" Fundamentals Editorial) in which he sumarizes his cinematographic theories. From 1972 he goes ahead in this experimental line and exhibits his avant-garde films in “cine-clubs” and filmotecs in Spain and abroad.
In the epigraph “The Cinema in the Street” on 13th June 1972 he releases “Pluralidades seis un espectáculo callejero en plena Verbena de San Antonio” (Pluralities six, a street spectacle during the Saint-Antoine open-air celebration) through the screening of six “avant-garde” films and using six projectors placed “at an angle to the kerb” for the occasional passer-by to choose watching at only one projector or taking advantage of the contrasts of all those different films screened at the same time.
Since 1980 he broadens experimentation to long films, with the filming of "Vida/Perra", a film with only one character. Its protagonist, Esperanza Roy receives seven awards for this film. Aguirre keeps on shooting both experimental and “mainstream” films for which producers call him. Among the experimental ones is "Continuum", a film shot in one long take, about a literary work by Fernando Pessoa, with the camera is continuous and imperceptible movement.
On 13th February 1981 he signs the Fundamental Chart of FERA (Fédération Européenne de Réalisateurs de l’Audiovisuel) as a Spain representative along with Luc Moullet (France) and Peter Fleishmann (Germany).
From October 17th until December 6th 1987 his short film " Uts Cero "is shown at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, in an exclusive room, within Europalia and along side of Christian Boltanski, James Coleman , Jan Fabre, Gilbert and George, Rebecca Horn anda Jannis Kounellis.
In 1992 he published the book "The Trace of American cinema in the Spanish cinema" within the collective work "The Trace of American in Spain", published by the Valenciana Generalitat.
From 1992 to 1994, he directs the monologue play "I love Shirley Valentine" by Willy Russell, with Esperanza Roy as actress. It´s shown in more than 100 cities and obtains the awards of Best Performance in Bilbao and Best Show in Alicante.
In 1995,he starts at Paris the shooting of the long film "Cinema/100". This film hasn´t been finished already because of its complexity. Also in 1961 he is honoured in both the Week of Experimental Cinema of Madrid and the Week of Spanish Cinema that took place in Estepona (Malaga, Spain). In 1997 he directs the International Film Festival of Madrid. A book about titled "Entre-Ante-Después del Anti-Cine" is published, written by Francisco Ayala, Javier Maqua, Pablo del Barco and Javier Maderuelo, published by Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas and Semana del Cine Experimental.
In 1997 he passes the film “Sin Film II” (No film II) in the Filmoteca Española (Spanish Film Library) a courtmetrage using a 35-mm projector and a screen but no film. Some ad-libbed shapes are projected in the screen just in front of the light of the projector. The music is also a live performance and was created by Javier Maderuelo and Jesús Villa. The same year a new performance (as it can never be the same) is given in the Museum of Fine Arts at Bilbao, this time with the collaboration of Alberto S. Insúa and Pedro López.
In 1998 he directed a video for an audiovisual show projected for a week on the street as a homage to Miguel de Unamuno. in the city of Salamanca and written by the university teacher Daniel Sánchez.
In 1999 and 2000 he directs the long film "Voz" ("Voice"), adapted from "Company" written by Samuel Beckett and played by Fernando Fernan Gomez. This film was shot in one only take with no movement at all (in 35mm as usual).
In 2000 two books are published in editions Fancy / Juan Julio de Abajo: "My talks with Javier Aguirre and Esperanza Roy " and "Novela / Cine: Vida/Perra" with the script of “Vida/Perra”- Life/Dog and writtings from Camilo José Cela , Carmen Laforet, Jorge Guillen, Terenci Moix, Emilio Sanz de Soto, Salvador Espriu, Vicente Molina Foix, Ramiro Pinilla, etc.
In 2001 he shoots "Zero / Infinito," a perfection of his personal innovations in the continuous movement of the camera in which the transformations in size and color are absolutely unperceptible. It Includes literary works of over 100 classic and contemporary writers.
In 2002 - 2003 Aguirre completes “Variaciones 1/113” (Variations 1/113), a film starred by Javier Barbem and Inés Sastre, about a poem ofJorge Luis Borges.The poet recorded with his voice the text of the poem exclusively for this film. It´s only a take, repeated 113 times, but always looks different because of its multiple transformations, analogics, digital or both.
His next long film is done in 2005 and is titled “Dispersión de la luz” ("Dispersion of light").It´s inspired by “Sobre los ángeles”("About Angels") by Rafael Alberti, and shows a complex visual structure with over ones thousand manipulated takes.
"Medea 2", shot in 2006, is based on the play by Seneca and combines the classic text with its adaptation as a dance.
His last film completed film is “Sol”, a documentary about Puerta del Sol in Madrid, in which two different times are opposed: the one shot by the author among 1967/1970 in black and white, and filmed in contemporary 2005 and 2009 in color.
For six years he has been in the chair of the International Jury in the “Abstracta” Festival, which was designed by Massimo Pistone, and which has been taken place in Rome from 2006 to 2011.
Roberto Terán publishes a book and the scholar, Antonio Pelaez, specialized in the works by Javier Aguirre makes a film called “Cómo empezar una película sobre Javier Aguirre…” (How to start a film about Javier Aguirre…).
He´s actually finishing another documentary (started in 2005) about 13 different cities around the world titled “Latidos” (“Heartbeats”).
His short films “Anticine” were bought recently by the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Reina Sofia (Contemporary Art Museum Reina Sofia, Madrid) and are shown as part of its permanent collection.
In 2013 he is honoured by the PNR (platform of new producers/directors) and the Association of Cinema Historians, respectively in Madrid and Bilbao.
Javier Aguirre keeps on working, also, in different projects to be developed in the next future.