El Camino: Ana Mariscal’s Neo-Realist Spanish Film

Ana María Arroyo Mariscal,  better known as Ana Mariscal was a Spanish film actress, director, screenwriter and film producer.

She was involved in over 50 films between 1940 and 1968, frequently starring in films she also wrote and directed. She is iconic to 1940s and 50s Spanish cinema. Her brother Luis Arroyo (1915–1956) was also an actor and film director.

Mariscal was born in Madrid in 1923 to a middle-class family. Her father owned a furniture store and a theater , which offered Mariscal her early exposure to acting. While occasionally appearing in theater productions with her brother, Mariscal intended to study mathematics.

She decided to pursue acting after being incidentally cast in her first film role.

Ana Mariscal began her career after accompanying her actor brother Luis Arroyo to audition for El Ultimo Husar. Almost by chance, she was noticed by the director Luis Marquina, who cast her in the film.

This then started a prolific career in acting and directing.

Mariscal starred in over twenty films, becoming a household name in Spain, with such notable films as The Queen’s Flower Girl, Raza, A Shadow at the Window, and The Princess of the Ursines.

After a decade of being typecast, Mariscal began her production company, BOSCO, and wrote and directed her own works.

She made her directorial debut with Segundo Lopez, which she also wrote and starred in. It was a critically well-received comedy with Italian Neo-realist influences.

She later directed one of her best works, “They fired with their lives,” which deals with the Spanish Civil War, an event Mariscal lived through in her childhood.

In her later career she shifted between film, television, and theater, still using her production company to fund her projects.

During this period she directed Occidente y sabotaje, El Camino, and The Other Woman.

She began teaching classes at the IIEC (Institute of Investigations and Cinematographic Experiences) while acting and directing.  She eventually receded from the film world and dedicate her time to the study of literature.

Just a few months before her death, She received the Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts in 1995.