The Spanish film industry is legendary, and many Spanish directors and stars have become a legend in the UK. Think of actors Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, and director Pedro Almodovar. As well as this the different regions of Spain offer great locations for filming, whether the urban cityscapes of Barcelona or the almost desert like appearance of the Ibizan islands. And it’s not just Spanish productions that have taken advantage of these backdrops: international film crews are often found using Spanish locations to great effect.
Sex and Lucia – Formentera
The Balearic landscape is the star here, as this steamy film takes full advantage of the idyllic beaches to show scenes of sex in the sea and a great deal of other sex, too. As well as this it is a film of romance, intrigue and friendship, and has been a massive hit worldwide.
Morvern Callar – Ibiza
Morvern Callar is the excellent adaptation of the book of the same name by Alan Warner. A Scottish supermarket clerk and party girl, played by Samantha Morton, wakes up one Christmas to find that her boyfriend has committed suicide. So she passes off his unpublished novel as her own and, taking out all the money from his bank account, goes to party in Ibiza with her friend and later finds herself wandering through the arid island landscape. The film captures the contrast between her down at heel life in Glasgow and the hedonism she enjoys in the scorching sunshine of Spain.
Benidorm – Benidorm
This ITV series, depicting Brits Abroad, is immensely popular and now filming series 8, to be broadcast later this year. The cringingly funny comedy enters around a family, the Garveys, who return year after year to the fictional Solanas holiday resort, and the antics of the staff and other holidaymakers who visit. It has a great ensemble cast, including Steve Pemberton and Johnny Vegas, with a guest starring role for Joan Collins last year. It’s all actually filmed in Benidorm while real holiday makers mill around, and the hotel where it’s set is a huge draw for tourists, who like to book rooms there.
All About My Mother – Barcelona
Pedro Almodóvar is one of Spain’s best known directors, and his films are generally camp, funny, strange, and compulsively watchable. All About My Mother is no exception – a romantically labyrinthine movie starring Cecelia Roth as a mother who has concealed the identity of her son’s father from him. It won an amazing 57 awards, including an Oscar for best foreign film in 2000. Most of the action is filmed on location in Barcelona.
Summer Rain – Malaga
Directed by Antonia Banderas who is a native of Malaga, Summer Rain, Banderas’s second film is like one big advert for Malaga. It meanders through the historic streets at the centre of the city, and visits picturesque locations such as the rambling Bodegas el Pimpi bar. It will make you long for sunshine and tapas.
Now when you watch a Spanish film and everybody comments afterwards “The locations were so great! I wonder where it was filmed?” you’ll be able to fill them in!