Acclaimed Spanish film maker Bigas Luna passed away at his home in Tarragona, in North East Spain, this Saturday (April 6) and has since been remembered by two of Spain's biggest exports in Javier Bardem and his wife Penelope Cruz, two stars that Luna can claim to have discovered. The filmaker's passing came after his long battle with cancer ended in defeat, but his passing will only serve to further cement his place in Spanish cinema folklore.

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem
Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem led the way in tributes to Luna

Luna worked with Bardem and Cruz together in the 1992 film Jamon, Jamon and naturally these two led the way in remembering the fallen great, with each of the stars issuing their own public statement in regards to the news. A distressed Bardem, who worked with Luna numerous times including his first movie acting role in 1990's The Ages of Lulu, before working again on Jamon, Jamon, 1993's Golden Balls and 1994's Le Teta y la Luna, began his remembrance saying, "I don't know where to begin," but eventually found his voice, adding that he the director brought him "the woman I love" and "a career that I never dreamed I could have."

In Cruz's statement, the Oscar nominee remembered her first encounter with Lunas and detailed her amazement when she was contacted by the filmaker to appear in Jamon, Jamon. She said, "The first thing he asked me was my age [she was 14]. I said I was 17 and he, always very gently and without making me feel too bad, laughed in my face and said: 'Well, you won't make this movie, but I'll call for another when you're older."

Bigas Lunas was one of Spain's first experimental and conceptual film makers following the fall of General Franco and the restrictive censorship laws the then fascist nation had in place. His experimental style would go on to influence a generation of budding film makers and in addition to launching two of the country's biggest stars, he was devoted to his work and never stopped, with Luna allegedly dying whilst working on what would be his latest film, Second Origin. He is survived by his wife, Celia, and three daughters.