Fernando Arrabal en Melia, durante el rodaje de "Arrabal"
Fernando Arrabal en Melia, durante el rodaje de “Arrabal”

The documentary Arrabal was produced for Swedish television. In 1981 represented Sweden in the international television festival Prix Italia. The film paints a portrait of the Spanish novelist, playwright, and artist Fernando Arrabal, starting from the scandal provoked in 1971 by his play The Tower of Babel, which was censured for obscenities by the Malmö Municipal Theatre. This portrait of his is painted with words of the actors and collaborators working on other productions of his play (including Maria Schell); with the interview to Núria Espert (protagonist of Arrabal’s most famous film Long Live Death), and with the illustrious writer Eugène Ionesco (who places Arrabal’s work in the wake of the Theatre of the Absurd); but also with archive footage and the conversations with Arrabal himself (who, at the time of the movie, was in full creative swing).

What emerges from this painting is the portrait of a complex character, a wide-ranging artist, a cosmopolitan constantly exiled from his homeland (especially after being condemned under fascist law for “disrespectful language against the State and God”), yet firmly attached to his origins in the heart of Spain.


Director Humberto Lopez Y Guerra
Screenplay Christina Lopez Y Guerra
Cinematography Ramon Suarez, Ken Legargeant
Sound Yves Zlotnica


Fernando Arrabal,
Eugène Ionesco,
Núria Espert,
Herbert Fische,
Maria Schell,
Luce Arrabal,
Mari Carmen Arrabal,
Jorge Lavelli,
Goran Bengtson (narrator)

Production Sveriges Television