Francisco Lombardi, born in 1949 in Tacna, Peru, began to cultivate his interest in film in 1968 when he studied at the Institute of Cinematography at the El Litoral University in Santa Fé, Argentina. After the University was shut down the following year, Lombardi returned to Peru to complete his film studies, where he also worked as a film critic at the Diario Correo
(Daily Mail) and wrote for the Hablemos de Cine
(Cinema Talk) magazine.
However, Lombardi’s career really took off in 1974 when film legislation in Peru was altered and he was able to create his very own production company, Inca Films. From 1974 to 1977, the Peruvian film producer made a succession of short films under Inca Films, for which he won a number of awards. In 1977 in particular, Peru experienced a feature filmmaking boom and the emergence of many inspiring producers and directors. It was during this year that Lombardi wrote and directed his first feature film Muerte al Amanecer
(Death at Dawn).
The Peruvian director was rewarded for his hugely successful debut and went on to write and direct the episode “Los Amigos” (“The Friends”) in the film Cuentos Imorales
(Immoral Stories). It seemed that, in the late 1970s, Lombardi was beginning to carve an important foothold in the production industry and was even said to be “the most important film director to have arisen from the Film Law” of 1974.
Despite the proliferation of rising talent in Peru throughout the 1970s, it was Lombardi who managed to nurture his position as a well-respected producer and director during the years which followed. In the 1980s, Lombardi came forward as the “chosen one” in Peru’s filmmaking world, directing Maruja en el Infierno
(Maruja in Hell) in 1983 and La Boca del Lobo
(The Wolf’s Mouth) in 1988 alongside Spanish filmmaker Gerardo Herrero. The cinematic icon also turned his hand to producing film adaptions of respected Peruvian literature. For example, he wrote and directed Caídos del Cielo
(Fallen from the Sky) based on Julio Ramón Ribeyro’s novel Los gallinazos sin plumas
(The Featherless Buzzards), which received the Grand Prize at the Montréal International Film Festival, as well as successfully adapting two Mario Vargas Llosa
novels for the cinema: La Ciudad y los Perros
(The City and the Dogs) and Pantaleón y las Visitadoras
(Pantaleón and the Visitors).
For the former, he even went on to win the highly prestigious Silver Shell award for Best Director. Throughout his lengthy career, Lombardi has earned substantial recognition for his work, collecting major global prizes such as the Irene Diamond Award in 2004 for his contribution to human rights promotion in cinema, particularly in his film No se lo digas a nadie
(Tell No One), which was the first picture released in Peru to deal with the concept of homosexuality.
The Peruvian filmmaker also picked up the 2010 Gloria Award for his support of women’s causes due to the strong female presence in his cinematic productions. In total, Francisco Lombardi has directed over 15 feature films and is widely considered to be symbolic of Peruvian cinema, with many critics referring to emerging directors in the 21st century as the “Lombardi generation.” This multi-talented screenwriter, director, and producer is one of the most prominent international film directions of the modern day and continues to inspire and delight audiences with his creative cinematic works.