Categories
Period

2000-2009

THE NOUGHTIES

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Espionage Escapades (2000)

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: My First Adventure (2000)

Love and Basketball (2000)

Sexy Beast (2000)

Faust: Love of the Damned (2000)

One of the Hollywood Ten (2000)

Helter Skelter (2000)

Kevin & Perry Go Large (2000)

Don Quixote (2000)

Sabotage (2000)

The Pilgrim factor (2000)

Where is the Chesterfield King? (2000)

Happy Days (2000)

Off Key (2001)

Moulin Rouge (2001)

The Others (2001)

Gaudi Afternoon (2001)

Dagon (2001)

The Discovery of Heaven (2001)

Arachnid (2001)

Stranded (2001)

Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 (2001)

Intact (2001)

Baby Blue (2001)

Sword of Honour (2001)

Is Harry on the Boat? (2001)

Hemingway, the Hunter of Death (2001)

Hornblower: Mutiny (2001)

Die Another Day (2002)

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002)

Callas Forever (2002)

The Dancer Upstairs (2002)

Food of Love (2002)

Come Together (2002)

Darkness (2002)

Welcome 2 Ibiza (2002)

The Bourne Identity (2002)

High Speed (2002)

Second Name (2002)

Incubus (2002)

Morvern Callar (2002)

Chopin, Desire for Love (2002)

Lost in La Mancha (2002)

L’Auberge Espagnole (2002)

Bear’s Kiss (2002)

Angel of Death (2002)

Mystics (2003)

The Galindez File (2003)

The Emperor’s Wife (2003)

Face of Terror (2003)

The Life of David Gale (2003)

The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John (2003)

Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

The Tulse Luper Suitcases (2003)

Imagining Argentina (2003)

Kombi Nation (2003)

Jericho Mansions (2003)

Oh Marbella! (2003)

Seeing Double (2003)

Are We There Yet? (2003)

Cambridge Spies (2003)

A Talking Picture (2003)

The Reckoning (2004)

The Bridge of San Luis Rey (2004)

The Machinist (2004)

It’s all Gone Pete Tong (2004)

Ae Fond Kiss (2004)

Rottweiller (2004)

Art Heist (2004)

Blueberry (2004)

Fakers (2004)

The Birthday (2004)

Crusader (2004)

Glitterati (2004)

Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt (2004)

People (2004)

Merlin (2004)

Visions of Europe (2004)

Within the Way Without (2004)

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

Sahara (2005)

Fragile (2005)

The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

Soldier of God (2005)

Americano (2005)

Beneath Still Waters (2005)

The Business (2005)

The Secret Life of Words (2005)

The Nun (2005)

Wannabe (2005)

Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005)

Runt (2005)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2005)

A Sound of Thunder (2005)

One Day in Europe (2005)

The Kovak Box (2006)

Goya’s Ghosts (2006)

Perfume: the Story of a Murderer (2006)

Cargo (2006)

Tirant Lo Blanc (2006)

Backwoods (2006)

Mysterious Creatures (2006)

The Deal (2006)

Moscow Zero (2006)

Find Her, Keep Her (2006)

The Stoning (2006)

The Cheetah Girls 2 (2006)

The Fall (2006)

Ride Around the World (2006)

Xavier (2006)

The 9/11 Commission Report (2006)

Karol: the Pope, the Man (2006)

Savage Grace (2007)

El Greco (2007)

Body Armour (2007)

Four Last Songs (2007)

Velocity (2007)

Intergalactic Combat (2007)

Blackout (2007)

Irina Palm (2007)

The Heart of the Earth (2007)

Hidden Camera (2007)

Goal 2 (2007)

Never Sleeps (2007)

The Matador’s Mistress (2008)

 Vantage Point (2008)

The Bourne Ultimatum (2008)

Che: Part 2 (2008)

Vicky, Christina Barcelona (2008)

The Garden of Eden (2008)

Deception (2008)

Little Ashes (2008)

Unnatural Causes (2008)

Black Forest Gateau (2008)

The Twisted Tale of Bloody Mary (2008)

Ser o Estar (2008)

Donkey Punch (2008)

The El Escorial Conspiracy (2008)

The Crew (2008)

Reflections (2008)

Stevie (2008)

Sing For Darfur (2008)

Goodnight Irene (2008)

Telstar: the Joe Meek Story (2008)

My Life in Ruins (2009)

Green Zone (2009)

The Limits of Control (2009)

Triage (2009)

Tetro (2009)

Open Graves (2009)

The Frost (2009)

Paintball (2009)

The Damned United (2009)

The Third Testament: The Antichrist and the Harlot (2009)

Nothing Personal (2009)

My Last Five Girlfriends (2009)

The Lost (2009)

Original (2009)

Just Shy of Being (2009)

Justice/Vengeance/Iron Cross (2009)

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Espionage Escapades (2000)

Not only Indiana Jones but also Terry Jones as director of the Barcelona parts and in a cameo in an attempted comedy combining scenes from World War I in Barcelona and later Prague.

The film opens with a homage to Barcelona, and especially Guadí, with images of Casa Batlló, Parc Güell, Sagrada Famila, as well as the port and the Arc de Triomph.

Casa Batlló

The ballet scenes were shot in the Gran Liceo theatre, later destroyed in a fire and rebuilt.

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: My First Adventure (2000)

Indiana Jones meets Lawrence of Arabia and so it’s logical that the desert action should take place in Almería, although we are led to believe that it’s the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.

Love and Basketball (2000)

Quincy and Monica are both basketball players, but whereas he enjoys the fame and glory, she has to struggle to get ahead in a male-dominated world.

The film, like a basketball match, consists of four quarters, and deals with the problems of choosing career (or sport) over love. The fourth quarter begins in Barcelona, where Monica has to go to play in a serious competition.

A few street scenes of the city are seen, with an aerial view of the port including the emblematic statue of Christopher Columbus, the Monumental bullring and, inevitably, Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia Cathedral.

Monica is also seen entering the Palau Blaugrana basketball stadium where her coach’s complex, tactical speech in Spanish is translated to her by a team mate as “he says to give the ball to you”.

Sexy Beast (2000)

Agua Amarga is a Mediterranean fishing village, hidden away in the Nature Reserve of Cabo de Gata on the Costa de Almería. Actor Ray Winstone (Gal) described Agua Amarga as absolutely stunning, the genuine article, which had restored his faith in the country. The production team found Gal’s villa, which is in reality an architect’s home, perched high above the perfect beach cove in the tiny village of Agua Amarga on the site of an old coal mine, 30 miles east of Almería.

It’s the typical film of an English criminal finding the peace and quiet he needs, apart from a boulder that scrapes past his head before crashing into his swimming pool.

Hot on the tail of the boulder is Don, played by Ben Kingsley trying to shake off his wimpish image from ‘Gandhi’ by playing a psychopath.

Despite the peace and quiet, weapons are always on hand when hares or unwanted visitors need to be shot.

Faust: Love of the Damned (2000)

The film raises an important moral issue; does seeing your girlfriend murdered justify selling your soul to the Devil; and even more important, can the Devil be trusted?

Filmed in and around Barcelona, the elegance of some of the architecture contrasts with the gruesomeness and gore.

One of the architectural gems of the film, which appears in the opening credits and later as the scenario of Jasper’s suicide bid and meeting with the Devil (or M as they call him with perhaps a nod and a wink to Bond, James Bond) is the Bach de Roda bridge, which crosses a train line and joins Felipe II and Bach de Roda streets in the Barcelona district of Sant Martí.

Although the bridge has its ground supports augmented by digital techniques, the basic structure of Santiago Calatrava’s first important bridge is intact.

Barcelona port is briefly seen as we loom in on Jasper’s hideout, and scenes were also shot around Barcelona at Terrassa (for the hospital scenes), Argentona, Alella and Granollers.

Line 2 of the Barcelona underground system was the location of the scenes where Jasper (or Faust if you prefer) makes a barbeque of some American policeman.

The film is in fact supposed to be set in an anonymous American city, although the modernist architecture of Gaudí’s Palau Güell gives the game away when we enter the lobby of the Devil’s quite tasteful lair.

This is definitely not a film for those who can’t stand the sound of blood: pitter patter, pitter patter.

One of the Hollywood Ten (2000)

Jeff Goldblum stars in a film about the victims of McCarthyism in the 50s, with shooting in many parts of Spain. Spanish actress Angela Molina also participated in this film about the problems of making a movie about workers, originally entitled ‘The Salt of the Earth.’

Mines which have been exploited since Roman times in Portman, Murcia, became a silver mine in New Mexico with a little help and three months work from the production team, and the crew also used the mining zone of La Union and the casino of Cartagena.

The church scenes were shot in San Nicolas de Bari, Estrecho de San Ginés, Murcia.

The New Mexican scenery of Almería, with some filming around the Rodalquivir mines, the San José beach representing California and Finca El Romeral, and the 50s style interiors of Madrid added to the atmosphere of an epoch of elegance and inequality.

Filming took place between 31st January and 30th of March 2000.

 Helter Skelter (2000)

Tired porn filmed in a flat overlooking the beach at Málaga. Saved from the fires of Hell only by the narrative from the work of the Marquis de Sade and an acceptable jazz soundtrack.

Kevin & Perry Go Large (2000)

Harry Enfield explores the minds of modern adolescents with hilariously unpleasant results.

A family holiday in Ibiza allows us to see the perfect beaches, although our heroes are more interested in the discos, such as the Amnesia Nightclub.

Kevin and his Mum and Dad stay at a holiday flat above Nina’s bar, which exists, and is to be found in the town of Santa Eulalia.

The cove where Kevin swallows his pride and something else, equally unpleasant, or more so, is Playa Benniras, recognisable because of the strangely shaped offshore rock. The beach is a hippy hangout and is considered one of Europe’s top ten beaches.

Ibiza airport was another location where, amazingly, our heroes arrive in a plane.

Don Quixote (2000)

If they won’t let you play Hamlet, the next best mad role must surely be the Don.

“En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme,” are the famous opening lines to this classic, which is Spain’s equivalent of ‘Ulysses’ or ‘War and Peace,’ a tome that everyone has on their bookshelves, although few can attest to reading the whole damn thing.

Unfortunately the makers of this version didn’t enter into the spirit of things and shot the whole film in Málaga province; perhaps because of the superior golf courses.

The actors stayed in Ronda, and at the beginning and end of the film we see what is supposed to be the view from Quixote’s home, which is in fact the gate and city wall at Puerta de Xijara.

The fencing scenes were filmed in the cloister of the Palacio Mondragon, and the church scenes in the cathedral.

Authentic Bob Hoskins plays Sancho Panza. Enough said.

Sabotage (2000)

An eccentric comedy about the Battle of Waterloo, with Stephen Fry as the Duke of Wellington, a role he also played in ‘Black Adder.’

Our thanks to Denis Murphy, who was dialogue coach and script editor on this film for providing most of the information below.

Filming began on the 2nd of August 1999 and continued until the 6th in the Colegio Seminario de San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, from beyond whose walls a view of the city can be seen. Inside they created the set for the operetta in which a cock and a damsel perform until Napoleon arrives to address his gathered troops.

Before we enter the theatre, we see troops milling outside, although the exterior is in reality the Church of Los Santos Juanes in Bílbao, Vizcaya.

Next they moved to Álava and stayed in an old schoolhouse at Izarra, near Abornikano, where the interiors of Wellington’s tent were filmed.

On the 7th filming took place at the Urrúnaga Reservoir at Legutiano, just to the north of the Basque capital Vitoria, where they shot the scene with Armani coming out of the water and Napoleon telling him to look for Lady Edwina.

On the 9th and 10th they shot in the woods of Monte Grande near Abornikano, where the French camp was established, supposedly at Waterloo, and on the 11th at Victor Meabe, Goiuri Ligny, where they filmed the scenes of the French army attacking and being massacred as the false Napoleon takes charge of the battle plan.

Between the 12th and 17th they filmed the interiors of Napoleon’s tent at K2000 Galdakano Studios in Bilbao and then returned to the Monte Grande woods between the 18th and 20th to film the French camp.

Back to the woods of Abornikano on the 24th and 25th where we see Napoleon’s wagon escaping the pursuit of two Prussian cavalrymen, after which they went to Bilbao’s Palacio de Artaza situated in Leioa at Avenida Txikia Etorbidea, 20, between the 26th and the 31st for the scenes of the mansion and hothouse (where Napoleon discovers his true destiny as a gardener) of the allied headquarters two days after the battle, where a trial decides that Napoleon isn’t himself. The palace, inaugurated in 1918, belongs to the Basque government.

Between the 1st and 4th of September they filmed at Abornikano, in the fields of Victor Meabe at Goiuri, Alava for the film’s most violent scenes, and on the 5th of October they were back in Bilbao at the church of Los Santos Juanes to shoot the exteriors for the theatre.

The film’s director, Esteban Ibarretxe, informed us that the Guadalajara scene in the movie was the one where they launched the chariot, in which Napoleon was escaping from the Prussians, into the inland waters of the Embalse (reservoir) de Sacedón.

The reservoir in question is the Embalse de Entrepeñas, just north of the town of Sacedón.

Ironically, much of the filming of Waterloo took place just around the corner of the site of a real defeat by Napoleon’s troops at the battle of Vitoria near the village of Tres Puentes as the French forces were being chased out of Spain on the 21st June 1813. For this reason there is a statue of the Duke in the main square of Vitoria.

The Pilgrim factor (2000)

This Spanish production, usually entitled ‘El Factor Pilgrim,’ includes scenes shot in London where English is (from time to time) spoken.

Rumour has it that when they finished filming in London, they realised they needed more shots from there and so, to economise, they used the English neighbourhood of Huelva, known as the Barrio de Reina Victoria, where the Rio Tinto Mining Company had built British-style houses for its employees.

Where is the Chesterfield King? (2000)

A kind of Monkees/Beatles type spoof featuring an American band, one of whom is kidnapped by an alien.

The other members circle the globe trying to get him back, save the world and play a few tunes.

Among the bits of the globe trotted was Madrid, for which 1997 footage of The El Sol Club and the Bilbo Club was used.

Happy Days (2000)

A woman buried up to her waist and then her neck on a volcano in Tenerife; it could only be Samuel Beckett.

The island does in fact have other attractions and some very nice scenery.

Off Key (2001)

Although the stars of the film are American, this is really a Spanish film with a Spanish director, Manuel Gómez Pereira, and various Spanish actors, including Ariadna Gil, who appears with blue hair.

The scene with the ambulance rushing into a French village was shot at Ayllón, Segovia, where the local Romanic church of San Miguel was transformed into a restaurant and the buildings around the main square became bakeries and cafés.

Scenes were also shot in the Teatro Calderón de la Barca in Valladolid, where the final concert was held with 500 local extras posing as a sophisticated New York audience at the Lincoln Theatre. Scenes were also shot at the Palacio de Congresos in Madrid.

Moulin Rouge (2001)

Don’t get excited, you won’t be able to visit the rooftops of Paris nor the orgiastic dance hall. The whole film was made in the studio, mostly at the Fox Studios in Sydney. When the makers passed their deadline however, they had to leave orbit so as to make way for the filming of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), and so some finishing touches were made in Madrid, which was convenient (or not if you enjoy conspiracy theories) for Nicole Kidman, whose next film, ‘The Others,’ would be made in Spain.

The Others (2001)

It’s not unusual that a film by one of Spain’s top directors, Alejandro Almenábar, should be filmed in Spain; what is unusual is that it stars Nicole Kidman, was produced by Tom Cruise and filmed in English.

The action supposedly takes place on the island of Jersey, although the haunted house, which is the true star of the film, is in fact in Cantabria.

The house in question is the Palacio de los Hornillos at Las Fraguas in the Arenas de Iguña region of central Cantabria, and it was chosen after permission was refused to use a house in Jersey itself, where the natives apparently don’t like to mention the war, during which some of them were apparently somewhat accommodating with the occupying Nazi forces.

Almenábar looked at about 100 houses in the UK before finally finding something typically English in the green, northern belt of Spain.

The house was in fact constructed in ‘the English style,’ as all the local guide books will tell you, and was designed by an English architect, Selden Wornum, and built between 1899 and 1904.

When we arrived in Las Fraguas we checked out the Ocho Hermanas hotel and on seeing a book about The Others in reception, which was in fact the script of the film, decided to check in, which was a good idea, as the owner turned out to be very knowledgeable, informing us that the spooky house was inhabited not by a ghost but by a Duke.

The Duke’s family also apparently built (or had built) a mini Parthenon just across the road.

The house is not open to the public but is easily seen from the road and very photographable, and the spookiness is alleviated by a herd of very placid white cows and a lake.

Those who wouldn’t mind snoozing with Nicole Kidman, or at least spending some time in the same bed (though not at the same time) could do worse than stay at the El Jardín de Carrejo, an example of the trend in rural accommodation that has become so popular now in Spain, and where Kidman was lodged during filming.

According to Isabel, one of the hotel’s owners: “Nicole stayed in our hotel, which was especially dedicated to her team and to her, including her personal trainer, personal assistant and cook. Although we were ready for her in September 2000, an injury to her leg delayed her appearance here until mid October.

She lodged at the hotel for 20 days, during which time she took over the hotel, using the ground floor gym, dining room and offices, and on the first floor taking up each room for massages, changing room and her own bedroom (number 5).

The second floor was used by her staff”.

Almenábar spent 4 months studying English in London so that he could charm Kidman and the 2 English kids whose performances really make the film.

A special delight in the film is Eric Sykes’s performance, a return to Spain for him after the making in Almería of ‘Shalako’ with Sean Connery in 1968, and a pleasant surprise to those of us who had thought he must surely be dead, (don’t worry; in the film, he is!)

Kidman’s character is called Grace, which is Almenábar’s homage to Alfred Hitchcock, whose favourite actress was Grace Kelly. Almenábar’s admiration of Hitchcock led him to emulate the maestro’s custom of making a brief appearance in his own film. He appears as a corpse in one of the photos of dead people (the one with three men lying on a bed). In fact the other two were his flat-mates in real life.

In the film Kidman lives in a large house with her children, who suffer from a rare disease called ‘xeroderma pigmentosum,’ which makes them allergic to light. Anyway, that’s her alibi.

The music that Kidman hears playing is Chopin’s Waltz Number 9 in A flat.

Gaudi Afternoon (2001)

Where else could a film with this title be set if not in Barcelona, where the 19th century architect Antoní Gaudí created his greatest works?

Judy Davis, one of Woody Allen’s favourite neurotic actresses, (‘Celebrity,’ ‘Deconstructing Harry,’ ‘Alice,’ ‘Husbands and Wives’) plays an American writer based in Barcelona, who receives a plea from a stranger for help.

The first location we see is the Plaza del Pi, where Cassandra (Judy Davis) takes a walk with Frankie, the woman who wants to hire her as a detective and turns out to be a man, although in the film he is played by a woman.

Actually all the characters are a bit bizarre, even more so than Allen’s, and if he liked this film that would explain why he used so many of the same locations in ‘Vicky, Christina, Barcelona.’

When Frankie confesses to her first of many lies, she and Cassandra are strolling in Paseig Born, with the famous church of Santa María del Mar behind them.

Ben, who we at first think is a man but turns out to be a woman played by Lili Taylor, is living with Hamilton, who we believe to be Ben when we first see him, and straight, then gay and finally bi. Ben is living in Gaudí’s La Pedrera in Paseig Gracia, although some of the interiors are taken from Gaudí’s Casa Batlló. The fight between Ben and Frankie, who actually love each other, takes place on the famous turreted roof of La Pedrera.

Before we discover who Ben is, Cassandra follows the man who is not Ben to Gaudí’s Parc Güell, where we see the real Ben and her lover April, played by Juliette Lewis, and who doesn’t really love her. During these scenes we see the famous ceramic dragon fountain, the terrace overlooking the city and the colonnades, fortunately free of the thousands of tourists who are usually draped all over them.

When her cheque bounces, Cassandra seeks Frankie out at her hotel, which is the Hotel Avenida Palace located in Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 605.

Cassandra accidentally on purpose meets Ben, who is really Hamilton, at a café in the Plaza Reial, and then pursues him through the short and winding streets of the Gothic Quarter.

When Cassandra goes for a walk with April they are at one of the four beaches just north of the Olympic Village, a stone’s throw away from the Hotel Arts, where the crew for this film stayed, as did Woody Allen when making his own homage to Gaudí.

The prostitutes of the Raval district also appear in both films.

One of Cassandra’s meetings with Frankie takes place in the Crypt of Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, the facades of which are seen on various occasions, such as when Cassandra is on her way to the meeting in the crypt, walking along Avinguda Gaudí, with the towers of the Cathedral in the background.

After the daughter is kidnapped, Cassandra and Ben look for her in the Franca railway station, where they meet a couple of policemen who turn out to have extraordinary typing abilities.

Later there is another visit to Parc Güell, where Frankie chases April.

When Cassandra finds the girl at the nightclub, she takes her for a banana, as one does, in the Plaza Sant Felip Neri, another location repeated by Allen.

Finally, at Barcelona airport, the postcard Cassandra chooses is a photograph of Gaudí himself.

One of the things I like about Gaudí is that he didn’t do too well in school. Like Einstein, he was no more than an average student. In 1875 Gaudí was expelled from an examination in which he was supposed to be designing a cemetery gate; but the dreamy, young man devoted far too much attention to details of the mourners’ faces or the branches of the cypress trees for the liking of his professors.

But what I really like about Gaudí is that he was a mean, badly dressed religious fanatic, a humourless celibate and a teetotal misogynist who was notoriously bad company. So there’s still some hope for the rest of us.

The city of Barcelona finally demonstrated its undying affection for Gaudí by having one of its distinctive municipal tram cars run him over on Monday June 7th 1926. He died 3 days later on June 10th.

Dagon (2001)

Galicia is Spain’s Cornwall, with similar scenery and similar maritime traditions, like piracy and smuggling.

Onto the Galician coast two couples are hurled by the sea and the American male lead entertains us with his version of the Spanish language: “Roomo, pleaseo, upstairso.” He does after all have a Spanish wife.

Filming took place in the Galician village of Combarro in Pontevedra province, and the film is based on a story by H P Lovecraft called ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth.’ The Spanish village in the film is called ‘Inboca,’ which literally means ‘in mouth.’

The little church which appears is Igrexa Vella de San Roque.

The film gives a whole new meaning to ‘Pulp Fiction’ (‘pulpo’ means ‘octopus’ in Spanish) and the nasties in this horror movie are half human, half tentacle.

Incidentally ‘Pulpo a la Gallega’ is an excellent local dish of boiled octopus with paprika, although I’d wait a few days after seeing the film before trying some.

The village hotel is admittedly not up to modern standards, although the green tap water is not as bad as it looks once you get used to it.

Filming also took place in Barcelona at Capella Romànica del Poble Espanyol and in the Sala de les Columnes the large hall with 36 Romanic-style sandstone columns, located at the Jardins de Ca n’Altimira, a park in the Sant Gervasi district of Barcelona. It also features some manmade underground caves and through these caves our hero makes his way to the sacrificial room of the worshippers of Dagon.

The Discovery of Heaven (2001)

Although a Dutch film, and largely made in Holland, the film stars British actors such as Stephen Fry and is all about God’s wrath, which is never a bad plot device.

The Spanish parts were shot in Carmona (Sevilla), and Coronil (Cádiz).

Also in Sevilla the Fundación Lara building in Calle Fabiola was employed.

Arachnid (2001)

A man with strange bites is taken to a small clinic in Guam. A group of men and women, en route to his island to investigate the causes, crash on the island.

With a title like this, you won’t have to be a genius to know what they find…..or what finds them…..

Mind you, Guam is quite a way away from Fira de Montjuïc (Palau Victòria Eugènia) and the Font Groga (Parc de Collserola) or the Can Catà private estate in Barcelona, where some scenes were shot.

The film holds few surprises, and most of the victims and survivors-to-be are obvious from the beginning, especially when they wander off alone accompanied by sinister music and copious webbing.

The best moment for me was the line: “the more guns I have, the safer I feel.” Classic.

Stranded (2001)

Lanzarote is out of this world, and especially in this Sci-fi movie where it represents Mars.

It is of course Mars through rose-tinted glasses and so everything looks pink, but nevertheless you get an idea of the lava harvest to be found on the island.

The film itself, a wholly Spanish production, follows a failed attempt to explore Mars in a craft resembling a series of Coca Cola cans stuck together. When the going gets tough, the crew turn out to be a bunch of bickering manic depressives and fatalists who sound as if they are reading the scripts for the first time ever.

Visitors to Lanzarote will be pleased to learn that the chances of survival and a return flight home are considerably better than the scenario portrayed in the film.

El Golfo (with the famous green lake that the astronauts reach at the end of the film), Timanfaya and the Volcán (volcano) del Cuervo are some of the locations, with studio work at Plató Valencia and in Hollywood, where they used the same space ship as Clint Eastwood in ‘Space Cowboys.’

Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 (2001)

The follow up to the ‘Omega Code’, and which also featured Michael York, was partly shot in Madrid.

Intact (2001)

Four people with tortured pasts are brought together by fate and consequently don’t really get a chance to enjoy the exquisite locations on the island of Tenerife.

The blindfolded race through moss-laden pine trees takes place in the Bosque de La Esperanza at El Rosario.

The director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, probably not coincidentally, comes from the Canary Islands, and would later direct Clive Owen in an Anglo-Spanish film ‘Intruders,’ which also swings between English and Spanish.

Max Von Sydow is the reason why the film is partially made in English, and everyone who talks to him does so in the language of Shakespeare, although it’s Shakespeare with a Cervantes accent.

Max lives in a casino nestled amid the moonscapes of Las Cañadas del Teide in a building that is a touched up version of the local Parador.

The airport scenes were shot at Tenerife Sur airport.

Baby Blue (2001)

Theo Van Gogh is mostly famous for being the great grandson of Vincent Van Gogh (or Kirk Douglas if you prefer, who is famous for being Michael Douglas’s father) and for having been assassinated by a Muslim extremist.

The film is far less controversial and deals with tension in an insurance company.

Half the film was shot in English and half in Dutch, and is set mainly in Holland, though the nice bits were filmed in Ibiza.

Sword of Honour (2001)

Not strictly a film, this two part, four hour television production starring Daniel Craig attempts to encapsulate Evelyn Waugh’s trilogy.

Parts of Mallorca became Crete, Egypt, Yugoslavia, North Africa, France and Italy.

Bellver castle in Palma, or at least the rooftop terrace, became Fort Sidi Bishir, the military headquarters in Egypt, where Guy comments Trimer’s apparent heroism.

The disastrous commando raid on a beach to capture an enemy head was filmed on a southern cove of the island called Cala S’almunia

The scenes representing Yugoslavia, where Guy (Craig) befriends a Jewish couple and saves a train-load of refugees, were shot in the village of Sineu, in the centre of the island.

Is Harry on the Boat? (2001)

A TV film based on a TV series; or maybe it’s a TV series based on a book…..whatever it is, Ibiza provides the beautiful backdrop to a comedy about tour reps.

Hemingway, the Hunter of Death (2001)

Albert Finney plays Hemingway on safari in Kenya, although he also finds time to pop into Ronda, Málaga; no doubt to fight a few bulls and stare mystically into the town’s famous gorge.

Hornblower: Mutiny (2001)

Although he doesn’t have Gregory Peck’s irritating cough, or an easy to pronounce name, Ioan Gruffudd gives a good performance as C S Forrester’s Hornblower in his younger days in this version of ‘Mutiny on the Bounty.’

The terribly British Spanish island of Menorca is among the locations, and we were informed by Núria Sintes of the Menorca Tourist Board that most of the shooting took place at La Mola, in a country house on the road to Fornells.

One well known location is the Castillo Fortaleza de Isabel II or de la Mola, where Hornblower is imprisoned in Jamaica, and is gazing out of his cell window when Sir Edward visits him.

Die Another Day (2002)

The spa where Bond meets Jinx (Halle Berry) is in fact the Castle of San Sebastián in Cádiz, and the wide sweeping Bay of Cuba is Cádiz Bay too. Curiously Fidel Castro’s government wasn’t too keen to let Bond do his stuff in the original locations.

Filming took place between 3-12 April 2002 and made good use of 600 local extras.

The castle is situated on a small island at the end of La Caleta Beach, where Halle Berry walks out of the sea in a bikini, wearing a white belt and a diving knife, just like Ursula Andress did in ‘Dr. No.’

After Bond comes through the window of the medical facility in Cuba, he grabs a few grapes as he did before making his exit from a room in the medical centre in ‘Thunderball’, although this time the ever-present Spanish actor Simón Andreu is on hand as Doctor Alvarez.

The spot where Bond arrives in Cuba is ‘el Campo del Sur’ and the road he drives along goes to the Camposoto beach at San Fernando.

Bond’s hotel is in reality the spa ‘Balneario de La Palma y del Real’ at la Caleta beach in Cádiz. The place where Bond and Berry drink a ‘mojito’ together is in Cádiz’s other beachside castle, Santa Catalina.

The Torre del Sagrario of the old Cathedral and the area around the new Cathedral appear, as does the Plaza de Abastos, which becomes a tobacco factory in the film.

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002)

When Anakin Skywalker and Padmi Amidala arrive on her home planet of Naboo we see an impressive exercise of digital invention mixed with real images of Sevilla’s impressive Plaza de España, one of Spain’s best-loved tourist attractions, built as part of the Spanish-American Exhibition of 1929.

The Plaza is constructed as a semi-circle with buildings around the edge that are reached across a moat by bridges. In the centre is a large fountain. Around the inner walls are various alcoves, each representing a different province of Spain in ornamental ceramic tiles.

Callas Forever (2002)

Fanny Ardant, Jeremy Irons and Joan Plowright star in Zeferelli’s tale of the last years of Maria Callas.

One scene, representing the filming of ‘Carmen’ by Bizet, shows the procession towards the bullfight, which was shot in Calle San Pedro in the town of Osuna in Sevilla province, with the collaboration of El Coro de Opera de Córdoba. Osuna’s Collegiate was also used for some scenes.

Osuna is also a Game of Thrones location; its bullring was used to represent the fighting pit of Meereen. The Roman ruins of Itálica, in the same province, became the location for the Dragon pit summit.

Zeferreli and his stars spent 6 weeks in the Hotel Palacio Marqués de la Gomera, and the Italian director also shot scenes there.

Carmen’s murder in the opera took place at the Plaza de Capuchinos y Cristo de los Faroles in Córdoba.

The Dancer Upstairs (2002)

Filmed in Spain (Madrid), Portugal and Ecuador, and based on the story of the Maoist terrorist group from Peru, Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), this was John Malkovich’s first film as director, with Spanish actor Javier Bardem taking part.

In the time spent in Madrid the crew and actors stayed at the Hotel NH Alcalá, Hotel Santo Mauro and Hotel Wellington.

Food of Love (2002)

A story of music and homosexual love set in New York, San Francisco and Barcelona, in which a famous musician and an aspiring one have a brief affair while the younger is on holiday with his mother in Barcelona.

Food of Love is the first English language film by Catalan director Ventura Pons.

The young boy goes on a walk around the city and visits Plaza San Felip Neri, the Picasso Museum and Plaza Real, and later, his mother on a tour bus passes the Sagrada Familia cathedral.

Come Together (2002)

A romantic comedy set in Hollywood Hills and directed by Graham Theakston but with villa scenes shot in San José, Almería.

Darkness (2002)

A Spanish film in which an American family moves to a haunted house in Spain, and in which filming took place in Barcelona and Lleida.

The idyllic, American-style country house where it all happens was built for the film, which is probably just as well, considering all the nasty things that went on there. It is a haunted house, with a haunted father. Some people may think that a man who takes out his rage on inanimate objects is insane, although most of us have long realised that that is precisely what inanimate objects are for.

The country house, apart from our first visit there for a sunny drinks party, is in a permanent storm, in all senses, and the victims occasionally visit Barcelona for a bit of light relief, or to find a library with some books on the occult. It is in fact immediately before this that we see an aerial view of the port area of Barcelona with Columbus’s characteristic statue.

The hospital in which the father of the family’s fits are dealt with is in reality a school, situated in Sant Cugat, and the street where his first fit occurs, and where the film-makers created their own traffic jam (on a Sunday fortunately) was in the Via Laietana, between Plaza Urquinaona and Plaza Antonio López.

Many of the interior shots were done in Casa Burés, built between 1900 and 1905 by the modernist architect Francesc Berenguer i Mestres for the textile magnate Francesc Burés i Borràs on the corner of Calles Ausiàs Marc and Gerona.

Welcome 2 Ibiza (2002)

The film really only has two good things about it; the enviable scenery of Ibiza and the appearance of Gary Busey, a man who was born to be a film villain (with apologies to his parents).

An American girl tries to turn around her life and an inherited dilapidated beach bar.

While the credits are still running we discover that she’s quite clumsy, provoking a cascade of water melons on the narrow winding streets.

We also see both an aerial and ground level views of the castle, crowning the capital.

The Bourne Identity (2002)

Clive Owen is ‘The Professor,’ a Treadstone assassin based in Barcelona. We briefly see the statue of Christopher Columbus in the port and the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, started, and still unfinished, by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, when Clive is contacted by the villains (or parallel American government), as you prefer.

High Speed (2002)

The world of motor bike racing with footage from circuits in Italy and Spain, where our hero Raf competes on the Valencia circuit located at Cheste.

Second Name (2002)

Another production by the Catalan company Filmax with a Valencian director, Paco Plaza and an English speaking cast filming in and around Barcelona.

Like Richard Cory, a rich man blows his brains out, although this time in a forest, and his biologist daughter visits her catatonic mother to find out what it’s all about.

The film is based on the book ‘Pact of Fathers’ by Liverpudlian Ramsey Campbell. Happy go lucky it isn’t.

Incubus (2002)

Spanish director Jess Franco worked with Orson Welles, although his themes tend to lean towards gore and tit, and preferably both.

The moral is that if you make a pact with evil, you’d better read the smallprint.

Filming took place in Málaga.

Morvern Callar (2002)

It may not be a total coincidence that ‘callar’ means ‘to shut up’ in Spanish, because that’s pretty much all Morvern Callar does throughout this insufferable, self-indulgent chic-pic.

It begins when she finds her boyfriend’s body, after his suicide; so she quite naturally goes out for a drink, takes a bath, steals his money, steals his book, cuts him into pieces and buries him on the heath with a trowel!

Obviously a bit knackered after all that, she goes on a package tour to Spain with a friend.

The hotel where they stay is the Hotel Aguamarina at Almerimar in Almería. After purchasing snorkels, they immediately go off to a bar to get pissed and pick up boys. Morvern shows how volatile and interesting she is by moving out of the package mind set and they end up in a village festival in the mountains, where everyone dresses up for San Fermín and looks a bit angry.

The village is in fact Ohanes, where the locals even brought forward their traditional festival of San Marcos, with most of the villagers celebrating their status as extras.

The festival has all the drumming and bull running you would expect; the only thing missing is the goat being tossed from the church steeple.

The marvellously unspoilt Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata-Níjar can also been seen briefly during a car trip.

Chopin, Desire for Love (2002)

Filmed mainly in Poland as you would expect, but Chopin also lived in Paris and Mallorca, where he explores his passion for George Sand.

In the film, and in real life, the couple take up residence in a monastery at Valldemossa, where the relationship with the locals was far from cordial. Today however, the town largely lives off this brief stay and you can’t turn a corner without wading through a sonata.

Valldemossa

Actually it’s a lovely place, especially when the tourist buses head back to the coast every evening.

Lost in La Mancha (2002)

Despite being dated as 2002, this documentary, shot in August 2000, was released in 2011.

Like Orson Welles, Terry Gilliam took on Don Quijote and lost, in a production jinxed by bad weather.

Only a few scenes made it into the can, the rest went down the can (as Americans like Gilliam would say).

Nevertheless, among the few scenes shot were some using the arid wastelands of the Bardenas Reales in Navarra and the waterfall at the Monasterio de Piedra located in Zaragoza province.

The film would eventually get made as The Man who Killed Don Quijote (2018) with some of the same locations.

 L’Auberge Espagnole (2002)

Although a French film, almost half of the dialogue is in English.

A group of Erasmus students share a flat in Barcelona and in the brief intervals between sex, drugs, rock and roll and more sex, they study.

Xavier from Paris is the main character and, not content with having pre-‘Amelie’ Audrey Tautou as a girlfriend back home, he decides to start an affair with the wife of a man who has shown him nothing but kindness and trust.

When Xavier arrives in Barcelona looking for a place to live, we see him at the Urquinaona underground station just north of the Gothic Quarter. We also see him briefly in the Plaza Real.

On his first date with Anne-Sophie, he takes her to the famous ceramic terrace of Parc Güell, where he returns with her later to ravish her. Keeping in with the Gaudí trend, he also takes her to the Sagrada Familia cathedral.

He visits the Barceloneta beach a couple of times and takes her (in the non-sexual sense this time) in the cable car that traverses the port.

Despite his two-timing, he is shocked to see flatmate Wendy making out with an American who is not her boyfriend on the pedestrian bridge to the Port Vell leisure complex.

Bear’s Kiss (2002)

Girl loves bear, bears loves honey; a relationship doomed from the beginning to be syrupy.

A mixed grill of Bambi and Prince turned into frog set in a circus.

Arcos de la Frontera appears when the circus travels to Spain. We see them approach, with a stunning aerial view of the town perched on its spectacular rocky crag.

The castle is the home of the Marqués de Tamarón. His son, Diego de Mora-Figueroa kindly informed us about the history of his home.

The castle, like so many in the area, is of Arab origin and was conquered in 1253 by Enrique, the brother of King Alfonso X. In 1264, after a revolt, the remaining Arab inhabitants were expelled.

In the XV century the powerful Ponce de León family took control of the castle, whose importance waned once Granada was conquered by the Catholic Monarchs.

The castle was affected by the great earthquake of 1755, which destroyed Lisbon.

Between 1809 and 1811 the castle was occupied by French troops during the Napoleonic War. From the castle they controlled guerrilla activity in the mountains of Ronda.

As a parting gift, they blew up part of the castle.

In 1922 the castle was auctioned as a ruin and Violeta Buck, daughter of British wine maker Walter J. Buck (1843-1917), bought it.

Buck ran the Sandeman & Buck distilleries and was a pioneer in protecting natural spaces such as Doñana.

Violeta moved in and began the restoration of the castle.

Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, similarly in the province of Cádiz, were locations and Spanish actress Ariadna Gil participates.

Arcos de la Frontera

The film was written in English by a non-native speaker, with other languages having their say.

Angel of Death (2002)

Mira Sorvino stars as a Spanish detective trying to catch a serial killer in Sevilla during Holy Week, with caped, hooded penitents adding a touch of colour and the city inevitably providing its architecturally sublime backdrop.

At the beginning we see some Easter religious parades and then a girl drives past the Maestranza bullring.

She arrives at a cheap guest house and goes up on the roof for a view of the city, including the cathedral, and then the murders begin.

Mystics (2003)

Ghosts, gangsters and Guinness; what more could you ask for in an Irish film that doesn’t begin with ‘g?’

Although mostly shot in Ireland, there is a window for Sitges, Barcelona at one point, where our séance con-men David Kelly and Milo O’Shea can be seen on the beach in front of the emblematic, beach-side San Bartolomé y Santa Tecla church. Our thanks to Paco Griñán again for identification.

The Galindez File (2003)

A student researching the disappearance of a Basque Nationalist FBI collaborator is searching for clues as to his fate, continually thwarted by FBI agent Harvey Keitel.

She visits Madrid and the Basque Country as part of her investigations.

Early on in the film she discusses her quest with two men in the painted forest of Oma at Kortezubi in Vizcaya.

The Emperor’s Wife (2003)

Starring heart-throb Jonathan Rhys Meyers, this fantasy was partly filmed in La Peza in Granada province.

The Emperor’s fairy tale castle is none other than La Calahorra Castle, scene of so many films.

Face of Terror (2003)

A wholly believable plot in which an American police officer travels to Barcelona looking for his lost sister, who may have become a victim of a terrorist cell using girls as bombs.

This is another collaboration between the Catalan producer (Drimtim) and American actors, using the streets and monuments of Barcelona as a backdrop.

At various stages the scenes are interspersed with views of the city, the first one including the Sagrada Familia Cathedral and La Rambla. After a brief interlude in Los Angeles to meet our star, we are back to aerial views of the port and our hero checking into the Hotel Colon. He visits his missing sister’s flat, which we are supposed to believe is in Gaudí’s famous Pedrera building, and then we meet the villains, who hold their rendezvous in Montjuïc Castle, overlooking the city. There are really two sets of villains, or rather one group and one lone wolf terrorist, who likes to enjoy his villainy at Montjuïc Castle.

Montjuic Castle

After enjoying the view and the artillery, the lone wolf shoots two thugs to emphasise his disagreement with the deal, and then follows their boss into the castle moat to discuss terms of disagreement with a further bullet.

Another location is Plaça Palau, where the Barcelona Nautical School (posing as the American National Bank) is cleverly blown up behind our hero.

The city’s Gothic quarter is used for many scenes, and the police woman’s flat (in reality the Hotel Colon) is located right in front of the Gothic Cathedral.

After a night of passion, our hero and his heroine are machine gunned and begin a car chase round the wide avenues of the city, passing through the Arc de Triomf, a favourite car chase scenario for Catalan film makers, before continuing in the nearby Parc de la Ciutadella, where the zoo is located, and ending up in a lake.

For the second visit, after a spectacularly unbelievable car chase, we return, by cable car this time, to Montjuïc Castle for another meeting between villains, where agreement is reached; the usual thing, plastic explosives in exchange for “taking care of the girl.”

The climax takes place in front of and around a seaside hotel, the Gran Meliá, at the nearby tourist resort of Sitges just south of Barcelona; a point that is made clear when the ambulance drives away with the town’s name on its rear.

Hotel Gran Meliá

It is on the steps of the hotel that the villain (who has his misunderstood side), is foiled in his plan to blow up the hotel using a suitcase bomb, before being pursued and vanquished down at the beach.

It is appropriate that the hotel should appear in a film, because it is here that the Sitges International Film Festival is held every year in October.

If you are not so lucky, you might bump into a zombie, as one of the highlights of the festival is the Zombie Walk, which actually starts at the hotel before moving off into town to scare the locals.

The Life of David Gale (2003)

An American film with a European finish; specifically in the Plaza Real, Barcelona, where Dusty (Matt Craven) is seen walking through a square with the briefcase at the end.

The rest of it is a will he, won’t he be executed thriller with Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslett.

Also seen briefly in Barcelona is the Gran Teatre del Liceu, where the public watch a performance of Turandot.

David Gale’s wife has left him and taken their son to Barcelona after he rapes and murders someone and is sentenced to death. After a lot of did he or didn’t he; save yourself some anxiety; he didn’t, and Kate doesn’t get there on time to save him.

Winslett’s meeting with Gale’s wife takes place in Casa Ramos, located in Plaza Lesseps. The same modernist flat was used by Pedro Almodóvar for a scene from Todo Sobre Mi Madre.

The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John (2003)

Apart from Jesus Christ, the big star here is narrator Christopher Plummer. Jesus is Henry Ian Cusick, better known for his role in the TV hit show ‘Lost,’ but now he is found!

Although the studio work was done in Canada, you can’t find a better, more peaceful Galilee these days than Almería.

The cave scene was shot at Tabernas and other scenes were filmed around San José for the sermon on the mount, and around the Sierra Alhamilla for the scenes of the death and resurrection of Christ.

Málaga also added some locations, specifically at the castle of Gibralfaro, which became Jerusalem.

Gibralfaro

Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

Another Spanish production made in Spain, but in English and with a mixture of foreign and Spanish actors.

Practically all of the action takes place inside Arkham State Penitentiary, although the film was made in Valencia’s old Modelo Prison, during its closure and before its conversion into an administrative complex.

It is here that Doctor West, a modern-day Frankenstein, as you can guess from the title, is incarcerated and where he continues to carry out his experiments with horrific effect. Or at least the effect would be horrific if it weren’t so amusing.

On a couple of occasions the camera gives us an aerial view of the prison and we can see behind it the green swathe of the Turia Park, built in the old river bed of Valencia’s river, which was rerouted around the city after the disastrous flood of 1957.

It is now the city’s green lung, brimming over with cyclists, joggers and sports facilities.

Spanish comedy actor and director Santiago Segura participated in typically manic style, while less restrained was Simón Andreu as Warden Brando.

Also participating is Elsa Pataky, real life wife of super hero Chris Hemsworth (Thor).

The Tulse Luper Suitcases (2003)

The film has three, or possibly four distinct parts, and is probably what some people would call ‘artistic’ cinema.

In the section ‘From Vaux to the Sea,’ the Benedictine Monastery of Sant Benet de Bages near Manresa in Barcelona province was used. Founded in 960 AD, it is now a leisure and educational complex.

We were helped by Montse and shown around by Bernat, who helped Greenaway with his props, including 70 cabbages provided for a scene filmed in a patio. Fortunately for Greenaway, Bernat tends the vegetable gardens at the monastery.

Greenaway also required some baths to be placed in the chapel.

Use was also made of a garden terrace, where some women were sewing. As Bernat pointed out, Greenaway’s films are largely incomprehensible, but he was a very nice man.

In another part of the series director Peter Greenaway took advantage of the Franca railway station, Barcelona, which he transformed into the station at Anvers during the 30s.

Another emblematic jewel of Modernist architecture featured was the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

In the first part ‘The Moab Story’, he also filmed in Almería, taking advantage of the terrace of the Balneario (Spa) de Sierra Alhamilla among other locations.

Imagining Argentina (2003)

This distressing film about the ‘missing’ during the Argentinian dictatorship, with Spanish actor Antonio Banderas and Emma Thompson, was filmed largely in Argentina, although the scene where Banderas dives to the bottom of the sea contemplating suicide was shot at the marvellously unspoilt beaches of San José in Almería, including the coves of Mónsul, Carbón and Borronal.

Some filming also took place at the Puerto Deportivo de San José and in the Hotel Don Ignacio.

Interiors were shot in Madrid at Estudios el Alamo, and the hospital scenes at Hospital Clinico San Carlos.

Kombi Nation (2003)

Some young New Zealanders ‘do’ Spain, and various other bits of Europe, in a camper van with a film crew, and doesn’t this sound like ‘Big Brother?’

As they try to prove their lack of redeeming anything, they drive into the Basque Country, heading for Pamplona, Navarra to run with the bulls at San Fermín, then on to Buñol, Valencia, to discover they are a month early for the Tomatina festival.

After some time on the Costa del Sol, and Sevilla, for an argument in front of the cathedral, they make for Barcelona to discover that one of them has drugs in the van in front of the Sagrada Familia.

The relationships continue to deteriorate in Parc Güell.

Jericho Mansions (2003)

An interesting story exploring the bowels of a building and those who dwell within, with veteran actor James Caan and Spanish star Maribel Verdu; made mostly in Canada, but with Spain and particularly Almería threading through the story as a series of flashbacks finally reveal the truth.

A younger version of Caan finds himself in the middle of a gunfight at Fort Bravo and then makes his way through a village to his hotel, the Esperanza, situated in Tabernas.

Fort Bravo

According to local expert José Enrique Martinez, the locations were Las Salinillas, Lanújar and El Cautivo.

Rambla Salinillas

The director Alberto Sciamma lends a tasteful eccentricity to the film, especially the opening scenes, as he did in ‘The Killer Tongue’ in 1996.

Oh Marbella! (2003)

You won’t be surprised to discover that this comedy about time-share scams, mob murders, prostrate problems and animal rights was made in Marbella, Málaga, a place where even the rich and famous sit around pointing at the rich and famous.

The film starts and ends at Málaga airport as the various characters arrive. Their paths finally cross at Silks by the Sea restaurant, situated on the Rio Real Playa estate on the Cádiz road.

The goat that is not hurled from a steeple scenes were shot in the village of Montejaque with the help of angry locals charging through the streets and olive groves. The young couple meet up on a terrace in front of the 17th century Hotel Palacete de Mañara. The village is located in the Sierra Grazalema mountains north of Ronda.

The assassin and his prey meet up at the Don Miguel Hotel, while the nudists cavort at The Caché Club.

Seeing Double (2003)

Perhaps the irony is too subtle for some, but in this film the youthful members of a pop group are cloned.

This happens while they are on holiday in Spain, where we see them in various emblematic Barcelona locations in a film that reaches its climax at Cardona, with its Parador Hotel Castle.

Cardona represents Victor’s castle in the film and includes the dining room scene where they sing ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ just before preventing an explosion. Long shots of Cardona are a prelude to taking us inside the castle where Victor Gaghan, an evil scientist, creates and trains his S Club clones among others.

Cardona. Photo Courtesy Mark Yareham

The climax of the film also takes place there, with Victor’s failed attempt to escape by helicopter giving us some good shots of Cardona.

Are We There Yet? (2003)

An American comedy set in Barcelona and employing every child’s favourite car back seat expression.

An embarrassing travel agent father attempts to bond with his embarrassed family on a trip to Barcelona, including a ham negotiation in the Boqueria market, leather negotiations in La Rambla and various locations in the Gothic Quarter.

Cambridge Spies (2003)

This four hour series tells the story of Maclean, Burgess, Philby and Blunt, four Cambridge University students who worked for the Soviet Union.

The BBC chose the village of Granyena de les Garrigues in Lleida province to take the place of Gernika for the scenes showing the Civil War bombing of the town in the Basque Country, although the budget only seems to have allowed for a solitary biplane instead of the Condor hordes.

The town of Vic, Barcelona, portrays Vienna in the 1930s as the film’s producers pay their own particular homage to ‘The Third Man;’ ironical considering that Philby would acquire that sobriquet.

A Talking Picture (2003)

John Malkovich plays the captain of a cruise ship travelling from Lisbon to Bombay.

Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira collects a multi-national cast speaking five different languages and all of whom, being civilised, cultivated people, understand each other perfectly. Really only Malkovich speaks English, when not showing off his French.

The only Spanish site seen, and from a distance at sea, is Ceuta (a Spanish enclave on the North African coast), whose Portuguese connection is explained by a mother to her daughter.

The Reckoning (2004)

Rodalquilar in Almería saw its goldrush in the 20th century, not in the 12th when this film is set. Its scenery bears little comparison with England either, so the landscapes were shot in Wales and, after a long search, an abandoned gold mine at Rodalquilar, frequently used in films, was chosen to build a 12th century castle and village in Northern England, blanketed in cyber-snow.

If you visit the gold mine today there is no sign of the sets built for the film, only the ruined buildings of the mine on the face of the cliff. At the foot of the cliff there is however a pleasant botanic garden to spend an hour enjoying the scents of flowers and trying not to recall the scenes of murdered (and worse) children in the film.

If medieval England was a prison for the poor, oppressed by French-speaking nobles and Latin-speaking priests, it is perhaps appropriate that the castle, which in the film is covered in scaffolding, was constructed for the movie by inmates of the nearby El Acebuche prison.

The villain, a Norman paedophile noble plotting against good King Richard the Lionheart (not exactly a gentleman himself by all accounts) helps identify himself by speaking with a French accent and dressing diabolically. The good Normans of course speak perfect English, although no English king would again speak something approaching English after the Conquest in 1066 until the reign of a Welshman, Henry IV.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey (2004)

This film, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Thornton Wilder, was a remake of a remake (1929, 1944), and its promotion campaign was not harmed when Tony Blair quoted from the book in a speech following the September 11th terrorist attack.

Filming started in Madrid in April 2003, using medieval locations such as Talamanca de Jarama and also the Monastery at Úcles in Cuenca.

This time the Monastery is the Convent where Geraldine Chaplin attempts to instil a little moral rectitude in an epoch that didn’t really want it too much. A lot of her shots were taken in the cloister.

La Granja palace in Segovia was used as it was in the Musketeer Trilogy. Among its lush gardens, ponds and fountains we see F Murray Abraham twirling his curls and enjoying the benefits of absolute power.

Together with American medieval stars such as Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel, Spanish actress Pilar Lopez de Ayala played a key role in a story, which was set in Peru, but was filmed entirely in Spain.

Many of the religious scenes (including a burning at the stake) were done in Málaga’s Cathedral and Plaza Mayor (where they still grumble in the bars with a fantastic view of the portal about all the custom they lost), and for the theatre scenes they used the Cervantes Theatre.

Where a bit of genuine, lush Peruvian ‘tropicality’ was called for, the cast drove north from Málaga city to the botanic garden of La Concepción, Carretera de las Pedrizas (a garden in the ‘English style’ according to the guide book).

The crew stayed at the Hotel AC Málaga Palacio and the Hotel Byblos (Guadalpín), and Robert de Niro dined among other places in the Café de París.

The Real Colegiata de Santa María of Antequera, also in Málaga, was used for some interior scenes and provided many period manuscripts from its own library for the film. The scene in the bullring was also shot here, and Harvey Keitel enjoyed himself dining in the well-known Plaza de Toros restaurant.

The mountains of El Torcal, a local nature reserve, served as the Andes, with a small leap of the imagination and some nifty camera work.

In Toledo we visit the often used Hospital de Tavera and find the Marquesa, played by Kathy Bates, praying for her daughter’s love in a church. As she leaves she passes a sarcophagus, which belongs to Cardinal Juan Pardo de Tavera, who commissioned the building and ran the Inquisition; probably not a coincidence considering the role of the Inquisition in the film.

The scene where the five victims of fate tumble from the broken bridge into a ravine was shot at El Chorro canyon, Málaga province.

The Machinist (2004)

Filmed in Barcelona, and featuring Spanish actress Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, the port of Barcelona and the old fairground at the top of the mountain, El Tibidabo, are featured, as is a ghoulish Christian Bale in his very own slimming movie.

The film was set in Los Angeles, which meant that they had to create all kinds of American cars, signs and traffic signals.

The plot concerns a lathe operator who has suffered from insomnia for a year.

In Barcelona the extravagant Montjuïc cemetery appears, as does the refurbished port area, now an entertainment centre called Port Vell.

Can Tunis, a poor area of the city, is also used as is Clavegueram, a museum dedicated to the city’s sewers. Barcelona airport is briefly seen too, and some scenes were shot in the neighbourhood of Sant Cosme.

Old industrial estates in Sabadell and Sant Adrià de Besòs added their gloom to the general melancholy, and the final scene was shot at the beach between Badalona and Sant Adrià.

It’s all Gone Pete Tong (2004)

A famous DJ in Ibiza begins to lose his hearing and, he fears, his way of life.

Ibiza locations used in the movie include the classic discothèques Pacha, Amnesia, Privilege and DC10, as well as the historic Pike’s Hotel.

The hotel is a bit of a legend; named after a globe trotting adventurer who decided to build his home there, it has become a favourite place among rock stars.

Astonishingly this is a movie with a message…..wait for it…..money can’t buy you happiness and taking drugs is bad for you.

Thank God somebody told me!

In fact I have time for any film that ends with ‘Good Vibrations,’ and the unexpected redemption of the main character and his moral stand surprise and revindicate his initially unpleasant character.

When Frankie begins his lip reading exercises at a beach bar, he is, as the signs tell us, at the Cala Llonga restaurant on the south eastern corner of the island, ordering scotch by the bottleload.

After losing his hearing completely, Frankie runs to the cliffs and stands screaming at the magical islet of Es Vedra of ‘South Pacific’ fame.

We also catch glimpses of the fortress walls of the old town of Eivissa.

Ae Fond Kiss (2004)

A bit of a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ of a film, except that it’s set in Scotland, so maybe it’s a bit more like Macbeth. In fact it’s not much like either as there’s only one family raising objections to the relationship and nobody murders anybody else, although an irate Pakistani father does tear a strip out of a house extension, which is not unfunny.

With the incompatibility (according to some) of a Pakistani boy and a Scottish girl it could almost be Othello, except that Othello and Desdemona didn’t grab a package holiday in Nerja, Málaga, halfway through the story to get away from rainy Scotland in order make the beast of two backs and then have a major row when the boy mentions, as one does afterwards, the trivial detail of his engagement to somebody else.

Rebecca O’Brien of Sixteen Films, who participated in the filming, informed us that they shot in Nerja for two days; 4th and 5th July 2003. 

They filmed at the Portofino Hotel (Calle Puerta del Mar, 2), Cafe Cavanna, on both beaches and on the Balcón d’Europa.

Rottweiller (2004)

The film is actually set in Spain, or it least we are told at the beginning that we are in South Spain and that the date is 2018.

This is however a dark, futuristic version of that fine country, with a robotic dog that has an excessively faithful bent and a desire for revenge more Sicilian than Spanish.

It should be made clear that this is a film with a message, with a hero called Dante and a villain called Rott, which means we can be forgiven for thinking that this will be a story of paradise lost and damnation found.

It is certainly a warning to actors who take on the no-win scenario of sharing screen space with small animals.

The philosophical depth of the film is revealed in highly quotable phrases such as “I don’t believe in destiny;” this briefly before the first of a long run of victims is eaten alive by the true star of the film.

“Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose” and “what’s real?” are two more breathtaking examples of the scriptwriter’s subtlety and finesse.

When the dog conveniently helps our handcuffed hero escape by eating his partner, he finds himself wandering around some magical mountains, which are in fact one of Catalonia’s holiest of places; Montserrat, a 1,236 metre high jagged mountain near Barcelona with a Benedictine Abbey at the top (not seen in the film), which can be reached by cable car.

In his flight from Rover, Dante inevitable finds himself in a foggy cemetery with a ghost. The cemetery, the first to be built in Barcelona, in 1775, is the Cementeri de Poblenou.

The action returns from time to time to an industrial area with a power station, which is in reality the Central Tèrmica FECSA at Sant Adrià de Besòs.

An alley behind a warehouse in Calle Valencia was used to create the impression of a forbidding urban landscape teeming with prostitutes, pimps and pushers.

I think that, philosophy aside, my favourite part is when Dante asks the little girl, who has just seen Rott eating her mother, “are you ok?” Such empathy certainly won me over.

Art Heist (2004)

A very valuable El Greco painting is stolen from a Spanish gallery, specifically the Museo Nacional de Arte Contemporáneo of Barcelona, and a New York art expert Sandra Walker (Ellen Pompeo) is called in. Sandra is divorced from Bruce (William Baldwin), an NYPD detective, and she persuades him to look after their daughter while she’s away. When several people connected to the case are killed, Bruce flies to Spain to help with the investigation.

William Baldwin is the star, although it is Barcelona that shines, with scenes shot in Parc Güell, particularly in the colonnaded Sala Hipóstila,

as well as Montjuïc, Tibidabo amusement park, Pedralbes, Raval and La Rambla, where the spectacular car chase was filmed near the market of Boquería, as well as MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya) and Barcelona port.

A further robbery takes place inside Barcelona’s gothic cathedral.

Simón Andreu expands his international cachet by playing a Russian art collector under suspicion.

Blueberry (2004)

‘Easy Rider’ meets ‘2001’ with actors from ‘Reservoir Dogs’ (Michael Madsen) and ‘Joan of Arc’ (Vincent Cassel) in a cowboy film where nothing is what it seems, especially if you sit around a camp fire with the Indians, who are mostly too stoned to scalp, apart from one or two not terribly effective exceptions.

Although mostly shot in Mexico and produced in France, the township scenes were filmed in old favourite Texas Hollywood western town near Tabernas, Almería, where sheriff Ernest Borgnine rules from his wheelchair with a sawn off shotgun.

There’s a lot of falling over sand dunes too, which suggests they paid a visit to the spectacular and often filmed dunes of Cabo de Gata.

Fakers (2004)

The film is set in present day London and the Sicily of 1911. Consequently, as Italy looks nothing like 1911, they chose Girona for the Italian job, as Spain can look like any epoch or scenery type that you like.

The opening sequence took place in a remote Catalan village, Pau, east of Figueres, which doubled as a remote Sicilian village, where a tale of art and violence begins.

Children play in the cobbled streets, a solitary fruit vendor takes care of his wares, stone and cast iron railings speak of centuries of permanence, an artist tries to sketch a nude but is distracted by her lasciviousness, and her father just happens to be the local Mafia boss. Oops!

The Birthday (2004)

Despite being set in a hotel in Baltimore, USA, the ‘set’ was built and the whole film made in the Ciudad Audiovisual de Terrassa, in Barcelona.

An entirely Spanish movie made in English with a number of international actors, this film could be an attempt to create a whole new genre, somewhere between ‘Twin Peaks’ and ‘The Shining’ but without the nice mountain scenery. In fact the entire film gives the impression of being an extended avant garde drama class, where everybody is allowed to ‘express themselves’ without the inconvenience of a script or a plot.

Crusader (2004)

A thriller featuring Michael York and Bo Derek and exploring, as if we didn’t already know it, the corrupt, decadent world of the media.  The message is made clear by Michael York, a seedy media Mogul: “the Internet is dangerous” and must be controlled by Big Business.

Filming took place around La Maquinista shopping centre, with a shoot out and pursuit involving the deaths of millions of pieces of popcorn in the installations of Barcelona Football Club, Camp Nou (including some shots of a game where players Etoo and Iniesta stand out) and at various locations in the city of Barcelona.

The connecting shot between the different sections of the film is an aerial view of the city, although in general there is no outstanding use of famous monuments, except in the scene where our hero meets the policeman who turns out to be a villain, at a garden party with a maze, the Parc del Laberint d’Horta.

The film studios of the Antena 3 TV station at Sant Just provide the media backdrop.

Glitterati (2004)

Another story of a young American whose ‘find myself before I accept that job at the corporation’ European trip includes an obligatory visit to Hemingway’s Pamplona, Navarra, as well as Barcelona and Cadaques (Girona).

Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt (2004)

It’s not easy believing that Julian Sands is Spanish, especially if you’ve seen ‘A Room With a View,’ but in this film he plays a Spanish travelling salesman serial killer werewolf with an original approach to liposuction and environmentally-friendly soap manufacture; which is far more credible I suppose.

In his defence he claims that he was born the 9th son of his father, and therefore the Devil has a claim on him; an alibi that would strengthen the arguments of many a legal aid lawyer or social worker today I suppose, although his many victims would no doubt have begged to differ.

Based on a true story from 19th century Spain, and filmed in Lugo, in Galicia, and in Barcelona, most of the filming takes place in rural Galicia, with its mysterious misty woods, moss-cladden trees and semi-permanent drizzle. Among the Galician scenery we can find Folgoso do Courel, O incio, Seceda, Samos, A Fonsagrada, Esgos, Sierra de San Mamede and Allariz.

We are told that it is 1851, which may explain why the local people’s best form of entertainment is a Punch and Judy show that the village children happily watch before being devoured by the werewolf.

The tiny, rustic church with twin bells that we see after the market scene with happy, frolicking villagers, is the church of Cereixido in the province of Lugo. The tiny, rustic church with twin bells that we see after the market scene with happy, frolicking villagers, is the church of Cereixido in the province of Lugo. Here Romasanta, Teresa and Maria are seen praying in front of the church.

The waterfall scene, which is also when we first see Sands transformed, leading to the deaths of Teresa and Maria, was filmed at Cascada de Vilagocende (A Fonsagrada), in Lugo province.

In Barcelona province, some of the filming took place in the mountain range of the Parc Natural de Montseny as well as the Parque de Collserola, and the hospital where Doctor Phillips attempts to introduce enlightened methods of medicine such as acupuncture and hypnotism, is the 12th century Monastery of Sant Benet de Bages near Manresa.

We see the cloister when the police inspector and Pataky visit the hospital to speak to Antonio, Romasanta’s sidekick.

The wine cellars (an essential feature for any group of monks) were used for the scene where the doctor and policeman examine the victims of Romasanta, whose existence has been concealed.

Our thanks to Montse and Bernat for showing us around the monastery and identifying the locations.

People (2004)

People as in Beautiful People.

Suave Englishman Rupert Everett adds a touch of class as the jet set seek out the matching sunset for their Guccis in all the best places, including Ibiza.

The film moves among the white villas, colourful streets and especially the vibrant nightclubs such as Privilege in four languages including English.

Merlin (2004)

This opera by the Spanish composer Isaac Albénitz was written with an English libretto and this filmed performance was given in Madrid’s Teatro Real.

Teatro Real

Visions of Europe (2004)

25 directors from the 25 nations of the old continent each made a five minute statement about Europeanism.

Spain’s contribution came from Miguel Hermoso and was called ‘Our Kids.’ It consisted of images of a school in Mijas, Málaga, where north European immigration has brought a lot of fair haired kids to the deep south.

Within the Way Without (2004)

The way referred to is the Camino de Santiago, narrated by Richard Attenborough and directed by Laurence Boulting.

Three pilgrims find their way to Santiago in three different seasons and for three different reasons; which pretty much sums up what the Camino is all about.

It’s certainly not about cycling or sending your rucksack on by taxi or just doing the last 100 kilometres, but a personal quest with or without rewards, and always a journey both within and without (a much better title than the Spanish ‘Tres en el Camino’).

There are scenes shot at Roncesvalles in Navarra, where most Spanish pilgrims begin; and at Arleta, Eunate and Puente de la Reina.

At the end of the Camino, in the province of A Coruña, we of course visit the Cathedral of Santiago, Monte de Gozo, where pilgrims first catch sight of the Cathedral, and Fisterra, the end of the Camino for those of Pagan persuasion and the end of the world in olden times.

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

Ridley Scott discovered the 12th century Castle of Loarre (Huesca) while he had been searching for locations to film his ‘1492: Conquest of Paradise.’ The scene showing the castle was originally to be shot in France and is supposed to be France in the story, but the French castles available were not authentic enough to portray France, and Loarre is supposed to be the best preserved castle of the epoch in Europe. This magnificent castle can be seen at the beginning and end of the film, looming over Orlando Bloom’s humble blacksmith’s abode with some humbler mud huts added by the production team.

Loarre: Photo Courtesy Mark Yareham

Scott said of Loarre that the sunsets there were the most beautiful in the world (Spielberg said the same about Trebujena in Cádiz when filming ‘Empire of the Sun,’ so perhaps film directors are prone to exaggerate). Orlando Bloom described the castle itself as “breathtaking,” while Liam Neeson, whose participation supposed his first trip to the Spanish mainland, said that he found the country “mind-blowingly beautiful.”

The stars and director of the film spent their free time in the Hotel Villa de Ayerbe, seven kilometres from Loarre, where various press cuttings referring to the filming abound in the hotel.

Built between the XI and XII centuries, Loarre castle was for a long time on the border between hostile Christian and Muslim forces.

In 1020, Sancho el Mayor (1063–94) re-conquered the area from the Muslims and started serious building. In 1073, King Sancho introduced a community of Augustinian monks, and used Loarre as his base for the conquest of Huesca in 1094.

The outermost walls of the castle and their eight towers were built between the XIII and XIV centuries.

Extensive restoration work took place in 1913 and later in the 1970s. Today it is fortunate to have an association of friends to protect its interests and a campaign to have it declared a UNESCO site.

The stars and director of the film spent their free time in the Hotel Villa de Ayerbe, seven kilometres from Loarre, where visitors today can find ample evidence of their stay.

The attic rooms occupied by Scott and Bloom each have a collage of images and press cuttings related to the movie, while Neeson’s room has a similar one outside in the corridor, and two more are to be found in the small bar next to reception.

The owner Antonio proudly shows the guestbook with the thanks given by all who stayed there.

Loarre castle appears twice in Kingdom of Heaven and so it is appropriate that it should have two ghosts; Count Julián and Doña Violante de Luna.

At the battle of the Guadalate River in 711 Julian supposedly betrayed the Visigoth king Don Rodrigo. Julian probably had good cause, as the King had impregnated his daughter, Florinda.

After the defeat the Count and his daughter retreated to Loarre. She committed suicide by throwing herself from one of the towers and the count, after dying, was buried at the entrance to the church of San Pedro so that anyone who entered would step on the traitor.

Since then Julián’s ghost wanders around the castle’s outbuildings weeping disconsolately on nights with a full moon, lamenting his betrayal, which enabled the Arab conquest of Spain.

Some years later in 1410 the King of Aragon, Martín el Humano, died without descendants, and Fernando de Antequera became the new sovereign, with the support of Benedict XIII, better known as Pope Luna. Some nobles, such as the Count of Urgel, Jaime de Aragón, and the Infante Antón de Luna, refused to accept him.

When the Pope learnt that his niece Violante de Luna, abbess of the convent of Trasobares, was having an affair with Antón and supporting the rebellion, he ordered the burning of the convent and the scattering of the nuns.

Violante took refuge in Loarre, which after two months of siege was conquered by Fernando’s men. Violante was arrested and imprisoned, and since then appears on the night of San Juan upon a balcony looking for the reinforcements that her lover would bring to free her. When the moon is full, she can be seen, all in white.

It must get a little crowded on the battlements some nights.

The film was shot during six weeks all over Spain. The Cathedral of Ávila was transformed into a temple of Jerusalem, where both coronation ceremonies are held.

The Catholic Church forbade filming inside the famous Mosque in Córdoba, alleging it would be too disruptive. Perhaps the anti-religion message of the film also had something to do with it.  Lacking Córdoba, the crew went to Sevilla in order to film in the Casa de Pilatos for scenes of the court at Jerusalem. The Jerusalem interiors are a fusion with the exquisitely decorated Real Alcázar of Sevilla.

One of the curiosities of the film is that while Orlando is in the Holy Land, trying to find forgiveness because his wife committed suicide and he killed a priest, his home is at the Palacio de Portocarrero, situated in Palma del Río, halfway between Córdoba and Sevilla, where he teaches the Arabs how to irrigate; curious considering that it was precisely the Arabs who taught Europe this clever trick. His home is attached to the cheap and pleasant Santa Clara hotel and is signposted as a film location with guided tours.

The Celtic castle of Las Cogotas, ten kilometres from Ávila is employed in the scene where Godfrey’s followers are en route to Messina and come across a ranting pilgrim who informs them that killing Muslims is a not only a good thing, but also the road to Heaven. It is here that Bloom first meets his enemy Guy, with Los Cogotas reservoir in the background representing the Med.

Las Cogotas: Photo Courtesy Mark Yareham

The Segovian Boca del Asno forest in the mountains of Valsaín was used for the ambush scene where Liam Neeson is mortally wounded. The exact location is known locally as Los Asientos.

The butchery on the field of battle is only comparable with Scott’s butchery of history, and the film really should carry a History Health Warning. Orlando’s character Balian was not from France, was not an enemy of Guy, did not steal Sabina from Guy and was present at the Battle of Hattin. He was allowed to return to Jerusalem to collect his family and leave, but broke his promise. Whatever, whoever, however; who cares about accuracy?

Sahara (2005)

Although the film was made mostly in Morocco, with emerging Spanish star Penelope Cruz in the line up it was hardly surprising that some scenes should be filmed across the cradle of civilisation in Spain.

In fact the crew spent a month, mainly in Catalonia’s 320 square kilometre wetland and rice growing zone the Delta del Ebro, Tarragona, specifically in the Peninsular de Fangar, which is famous for its dunes of white sand and mirages. The area is very popular with bird watchers due to the presence of almost 100 species of breeding birds.

It is at the Fangar lighthouse that Cruz is attacked and rescued by Matthew McConaughey, supposedly in Nigeria.

Fangar

While filming there the crew made good use of the Restaurant Figueres, situated on the road to Fangar. Here they did all the make up for the actors and carted food (paella, local mussels and salad) and drink down to the isolated beach for filming.

Two hundred African immigrants from Barcelona were employed in making the film, which ends with a lesson in practical morality. The old dilemma of how to achieve anything in a world where diplomats abort any effort by intelligence agencies to use their means to bring about the ends of the baddies is overcome during one of the final scenes shot in the Hotel Claris in Barcelona, where the baddy in question is given a glass of the very same lethal water that he’d been polluting in Africa.

The film itself is about as believable as an American Civil War ironclad turning up in the middle of the Sahara; but the main thing is that Penelope, as always, got her leading man; for a bit.

Fragile (2005)

Barcelona is the main location, with Clarissa Flockhart as the star. Clarissa’s presence in the city did not go unnoticed, especially when her partner Harrison Ford popped in to say ‘Hola.’

The old Hospital del Torax in Terrassa was used in this thriller, in which things go bump in the night shift, although the interior scenes of the hospital were shot in studios in Barcelona. The Residencia Infantil Emmanuel of Sant Just Desvern, a children’s shelter in Barcelona, allowed the film makers to record children’s voices in their hospital to be used in the film.

The old Torax hospital was an appropriate place to seek help from beyond, as it is beset by rumours of haunting and paranormal activity according to local people. It is now the Parc Audiovisual de Cataluña, where films are made and promoted, although its many ghosts, many of them patients who committed suicide by jumping from the ninth floor, continue to haunt the wards and play with the equipment.

Filming also took place in Sabadell near Barcelona, although most of the exteriors were filmed on the Isle of Wight, including a genuine IOW ferry.

The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

Definitely one of the greatest books of all time, although the film probably had too much to live up to for fanatic adherents to the world as perceived by the late, lamented Douglas Adams.

The pre-title sequence about dolphins (narrated by Stephen Fry) was filmed at Tenerife’s Loro Parque. The dolphins, and even the humans, seem to be having a whale of a time despite the impending end of the world.

Loro Parque

The beautiful moon, against which they flip and dive, is of course false, as is the part of the scene where they fly off into space, although the claim that they are more intelligent than humans is an open question.

Soldier of God (2005)

A very politically correct film about Muslims and Crusaders, made in California, where everyone gets on so well because of the nice weather, but with some scenes shot in Spain, which is also a very friendly country, where there have been no religious wars for a very long time.

The Spanish scenes were shot in Málaga province, notably in the Alcázar Moorish Castle, which takes on the role of Syria in the 12th century. The scenes shot here on the 14th June 2004, and seen at the beginning of the film, narrate the arrival of a Templar Knight, Tim Abell, in 1187, to announce the coming war with Saladin.

We see the same castle in some flashbacks, such as when the Templar Knight arrives at an Arab woman’s tent. The castle should look pretty new in the film, as it was actually built in the 11th century.

The Alcázar has a fairly modern ancient ghost, who started throwing stones at a group of women who had taken refuge there during the early days of the Civil War in 1936. Many believe the ghost may have been a Muslim misogynist who had occupied the castle during the Muslim occupation.

Americano (2005)

From the very beginning we are plunged into the wild exuberance of the San Fermín festival of Pamplona, which takes place every July, as the film opens in front of Pamplona’s Town Hall with the opening ceremony.

This is Hemingway country, and an American travelling around Europe inevitably Hemings his Way to Pamplona, where he meets some people who will change his life; at least until the end of the film, as the festival of bulls, red scarves and white shirts, fireworks, wine and giant twirling cardboard heads unfolds.

Unfortunately a grinning youth steals our hero’s rucksack and the chase is on, although Ryan loses him at the Caballo Blanco restaurant crashing into some tables.

Adela captivates Ryan and leads him on a trail of sensuality, stopping first for a lunch of bull’s tongue and testicles in the legendary Bar Iruña in Plaza del Castillo, whose décor remains as it was during Hemingway’s time, and which has a separate bar filled with Hemingway photos and a bronze statue of the man himself leaning appropriately against the bar, erected in 2006.

Ryan also spends a drunken moment embracing Hemingway’s other statue, next to the bullring that the great man felt so at home in.

Dennis Hopper, eccentric owner of a nightclub called ‘Americano,’ which is in reality the Boulevard Jazz Club, Plaza Félix Huarte, 6, plays alongside his daughter Rhuthanna in this story, with some very Hemingway fly fishing filmed among the mountains of Navarra.

Our group of friends leave the city on bicycles, passing through the city gate and past the city wall, and before they know it have reached the village of Zubieta, where Adela has her country house and swimming pool.

Here we see simple village pleasures as the natives consume the local cheese, ham and wine of Navarra and emanate rural bliss.

There are various scenes involving fishing and swimming, filmed in places such as Indurain, Dantxarinea and Muskitz, as well as the natural parks of Urbasa and Andia, until the sojourn ends with the group emerging from the Foz de Lumbier canyon, with its tunnels carved through rock and its colony of vultures, which is actually quite far away from the other locations.

While absorbing nature, they also catch a glimpse of the Camino de Santiago (Saint James’ Way), which passes through Pamplona, and the seed of an idea is planted, as Ryan will finally follow that trail, which we see him beginning up on a ridge, which is actually the Sierra de Urbasa, which separates Navarra from the Basque Country, and dry from green Spain.

Beneath Still Waters (2005)

The film tells the story of a ghost town in northern Spain, one of many in Spain that have been flooded to build a reservoir. An American journalist played by Michael McKell joins in the investigation, hampered by corrupt officialdom. The flooded town is called Marienbad, which shows that either somebody likes 1960s French films or that nothing good can be expected.

The filming took place around Madrid at Boadilla del Monte, Navas del Rey, San Martín de Valdiglesias, Pelayos de la Presa (which as the name suggests is where the reservoir is located) and Villanueva de la Cañada, with studio work at Estudios Telson, Madrid.

The Casa de Campo, Madrid’s massive park was also used, as were the villages of Buitrago de Lozoya and Villaviciosa de Odón.

Contributions were also made by the Central Hydroelectrica de San Juan, where hopefully the cracks in the dam have since been repaired

Spanish swimming star David Meca participated in the film and demonstrated that as far as acting is concerned, he is an excellent swimmer.

If you like pints of blood with your severed limbs then this is the film for you, although you might hesitate before drinking tap water near Madrid in future.

The common problem of why everybody speaks perfect English all the time is resolved by giving the Spanish actors an accent.

The Business (2005)

What is it about criminals and sunshine? Why do they all dream about lying around on a sun bed under a palm tree in Spain. In this case Almuñécar in Granada province.

Writer director Nick Love spent four weeks sweating over a keyboard in Marbella writing the story.

They spent 8 weeks in Almuñecar, which was chosen because it looked like a village from the 80s.

The Secret Life of Words (2005)

A story of people with wounds; on the inside and on the outside.

Tim Robbins plays the American patient who has an accident on an oil rig, where he is cared for by a mysterious nurse with a soap fetish.

This Spanish production, which takes place mostly on the rig, used three different sites to recreate it, including Bilbao, Vizcaya. The rest of the rig used images from Belfast and studio work done at Navalcarnero, Madrid.

The hospital where Robbins completes his recovery is in fact the Hospital Universitario de Getafe, Madrid.

Julie Christie makes an appearance as a Danish psychologist; I imagine she took up medicine after Doctor Zhivago’s death.

I still haven’t worked out what the goose is supposed to signify.

The Nun (2005)

Another tale from Barcelona based Filmax, specialising in English language films.

In this case a nun has been murdered by her own students in a boarding school, and quite rightly sets out to get her revenge. If only education were always so conclusive!

It only takes a few minutes to realise that the schoolgirls in question are fairly repulsive, their English rarely going beyond four letter words.

There are views of the city of Barcelona, especially the port area as the plot thickens, and a brief view of La Rambla as the heroine goes off in a taxi.

The Parc de Collserola is used for the grounds of the boarding school where the nightmare begins.

Wannabe (2005)

A comedy about a Boy Band singer trying to make it in California, with some footage from Spain.

Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005)

Cala Sardina (Sardine Cove), aka Playa El Cabrero or Cala Taraje, a beach with dark sand near Torreguadiaro, San Roque, Cádiz, was one of the locations for the film, as was Estepona in Málaga province.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2005)

This theatrical performance of Shakespeare’s play with music by Benjamin Britten was acted out and filmed on the stage of the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona.

A Sound of Thunder (2005)

Once again we have to thank cinema expert José Enrique Martínez for tracking down the brief scene from this film shot in Almería, starring Ben Kingsley and Edward Burns.

When Burns travels back in time alone, he finds himself in arid scenery and on the point of being run over by Native Americans on horseback. He is in fact in the Rambla de Búho, under attack from employees of the nearby Fort Bravo western theme park.

One Day in Europe (2005)

One Day in Europe is a film about football and about the Camino de Santiago.

Various people are in some way affected by the transmission of a football match between the Turkish team Galatasaray and the Galician team Deportivo La Coruña.

One of them is Gabor, a Hungarian photographer on the Camino who is robbed in the Plaza de la Quintana, just next to Santiago’s Cathedral.

The Kovak Box (2006)

A writer, played by Timothy Hutton, whose life starts to take on some of the ‘thrills’ of his books, arrives at a conference in Mallorca.

The conference centre is in reality Son Marroig, the estate that belonged to the 19th-century Archduke Luis Salvador of Austria. Good use is made of the emblematic, cliff-top temple, built with Italian Carrara marble.

The film was written and directed by Majorcan native Daniel Monzón, who spent eight weeks filming on the island, as well as another three weeks in Madrid.

Among the locations used was Palma’s Son Sant Joan airport, one of the busiest in the world, where the central fountain is the scene of one of the many suicides of the film. The site of the fountain is now an unattractive sand pit; perhaps to dissuade further high divers.

Next to the airport is the AC Ciudad de Palma Hotel, where Hutton and co-star Lucia Jimenez stay while trying to sort out the plot, and where the planes taking off and landing almost touch their balcony.

Lucia spends a night with a local DJ before her nightmare begins and we see them picking each other up at a famous local disco called Tito’s.

The seaside promenade in the island’s capital of Palma and the district of Sa Calatrava in the capital also feature, as do various island roads, including the winding mountain roads around Sóller and the motorway near the Son Rossinyol industrial estate, which was closed down during three successive mornings for filming, much to the annoyance of local workers. It was on this stretch of road that Lucia attempts her second suicide in a taxi.

The clinic where Lucia ends up twice, and where Hutton’s wife dies, is in reality the Clinica Palma Planas, which is no secret as all the actors had it written on their lab coats, and the marina where they are taken on their way to meet Kovak after the morgue doctor’s suicide, is the Cala Nova Port Eportiu.

When Hutton goes by boat to visit the villain, he disembarks at a stone jetty, goes up some stairs and then enters Kovak’s lair, a spectacular clinic which is in reality the Hotel Formentor, an icon of the island with previous guests such as Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin.

To reach Kovak he walks along a corridor with a blue carpet, which is still there just opposite reception.

The climax of the film takes place at some caves, called the ‘Caves of Hell’ in the film, but which were actually a composite of two important tourist attractions on Mallorca; the caves of Drach and those of Artà. The lake belongs to Drach; it is called Lake Martel and is one of the largest subterranean lakes in the world, which you can take a boat ride on while listening to relaxing classical music, although in the film it is the location where a hundred American tourists commit suicide; not the best kind of public relations, but there you are; at least they paid the entrance fee beforehand.

Incidentally, the ticket seller, whose performance of a man who has recently been shot in the head is very convincing, really is the ticket seller at the Artà caves; so don’t complain if he’s a bit slow in serving you.

The Catalan word ‘drac’ actually means ‘dragon,’ and according to legend, a dragon used to live there guarding a treasure.

On his way to the cave, Hutton stops and looks down upon a headland with a small island just off it; this is the Formentor peninsula, location of the lighthouse where he finally shoots Kovak.

The song that triggers off the victims’ suicides is ‘Gloomy Sunday,’ composed by Hungarian pianist and composer Rezső Seress in 1933 to a Hungarian poem written by László Jávor, in which the singer mourns the untimely death of a lover and contemplates suicide.

The version in the film is sung by Billie Holiday, and the song is supposed to have inspired hundreds of suicides. Seress himself committed suicide in 1968, and the song was banned by the BBC during World War II.

Thanks to Harald and Inge Weissling for their help visiting these locations; and for lunch.

Goya’s Ghosts (2006)

In the 1980s, a visit to El Prado museum in Madrid while publicising his film ‘Amadeus’ (set in Vienna and filmed in much more authentic Prague) gave writer-director Milos Forman an idea for a movie about the painter Goya, but it was 20 years before he was able to return to Madrid to turn the idea into reality.

Goya’s Ghosts stars Natalie Portman, who was cast for the part because Forman noticed her likeness to the girl in Goya’s painting ‘Milkmaid of Bordeaux,’ and Javier Bardem, who looks really Spanish.

The film features scenes at the city’s Parque El Retiro, where we see Natalie Portman cleverly playing her own daughter, now a prostitute, as well as at a residence of the Spanish Royal Family, the Palacio Real de El Pardo, on the outskirts of the city.

There were also some scenes in Madrid’s Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida, where Goya is actually buried.

Also featured is the 12th century Monasterio de Veruela in Zaragoza province, which since 1994 contains a museum dedicated to wine.

On our visit in August 2011 we were accompanied by Luis, who told us all about the filming in November 2005.

Apparently Natalie Portman spoke good Spanish, as did director Milos Forman, who surprised all and sundry by turning up dressed as a Madrid dustman!

The monastery church is used for the scene where a French soldier on a white horse (Javier Bardem’s brother Carlos) enters to inform of the abolition of the Inquisition.

In the refectory they shot the scene with the monks analysing Goya’s sketches on the look out for heretical content and for some of the trial scenes.

In the room once used to embalm dead (hopefully) monks, Bardem has his ‘tete a tete’ with a still very much alive Natalie Portman in an asylum run by none other than Simón Andreu.

Another scene featuring French Cavalry made use of the tree-lined entrance to the main buildings.

In Segovia filming took place in Calle Real, Calle José Canalejas, the Plaza de San Esteban and inside the Casa de la Moneda (the Mint), which French troops enter shooting in one scene. The filming in Segovia took place on 29th and 30th September 2005, and represented the French troops sacking and looting in Madrid.

In Segovia’s Plaza de San Martin, the entrance to the Bilbatúa’s house was located, and at the church of the same name and location, French troops show their viciousness by hurling a patriot from the tower.

Just north of Madrid in the Palacio Real de El Pardo, the King receives the news of the French King’s execution in the presence of Goya. In the same royal palace they filmed the scenes where Napoleon consults with his ministers and where Ines’s parents beseech the King on behalf of their daughter.

In the nearby Palace of La Quinta, various scenes with Lorenzo (Bardem) were shot, including the one where Goya confronts him with Ines after her suffering at the hands of the Inquisition.

In Boadilla del Monte near Madrid the crew spent 6 weeks filming, mostly in and around the Palacio del Infante Don Luis. The production team had to restore the façade, spending 300,000 euros in the process. Here they filmed scenes of the interior of the Bilbatúa mansion and some scenes representing the Plaza Mayor of Madrid, where an execution takes place.

The 13th century castle of Viñuelas, built by King Sancho IV near Madrid was used for the scene where Goya paints the Queen and for the King’s hunting episode, as was the rocky nature reserve at La Pedriza. Here, in the Parque Natural Cuenca Alta de Manzanares we see Wellington’s army liberating two wagon loads of prostitutes from the French. Great work boys!

The episode in the tavern where French troops carry away the whores leaving a baby under a table was shot in the Cartuja de Talamanca de Jarama, Madrid.

In Alcala de Henares, Madrid, the trial scenes were shot in the Paraninfo of the Universidad Cisneriana.

According to Susana Redondo at the Ocaña Tourism Office, at Huerta de Valdecarabanos, on the road towards Cabañas de Yepes, Toledo, we see Wellington’s army advancing through Spain, and in the nearby mountains they filmed a scene with a French commander addressing his troops before invading Spain.

In San Martín de la Vega near Madrid, Goya’s studio was created in an abandoned 16th century farm building.

In the same building, in the cellars, the dungeons where Ines was held were built.

In the final scene we see Goya, following the executed corpse of Bardem, along a street, Calle Compañia, in the University city of Salamanca, reminiscent of Oxford with its sandstone buildings. Salamanca also provided the Plaza Concilio de Trento.

Calle Compania

That most English of Englishmen, Wellington, was played by Spanish aristocrat Cayetano Martínez de Irujo y Fitz-James Stuart.

Perfume: the Story of a Murderer (2006)

Women’s perfume has always baffled me; I can’t understand why anyone would want to smell like a fruit, unless of course it’s their wish to attract the attention of bears, simians or the entire insect population.

A book, and now a film, about a perfume maker with no body odour doesn’t sound too promising at first; nor does the fact that it turns out to have been Kurt Cobain’s favourite book and the inspiration of Nirvana’s song ‘Scentless Apprentice’.

The film is ostensibly set in France, although Paris in the film is largely the medieval Gothic Quarter of Barcelona and the scenes in Grasse (the French perfume city) were mostly shot in Figueres and Girona.

In the summer of 2005, 350 crew members spent 29 days in Barcelona, mainly in Calle Ferran, where mass murderer Jean-Baptiste first awakens to the full possibilities of all the scents on his first excursion into central Paris.

Although it was well disguised during filming, the opening scene with the birth (and also the final death) of Grenouille took place in the Plaza de Mercé, which is meant to represent the Rue aux Fers of 18th century Paris, appropriately deluged by large quantities of fish and meat. The baroque church of La Mercé, which houses the gothic sculpture of the patron saint of Barcelona, can be seen.

La Mercé

Grenouille locates a perfume shop by following his nose; today you can do the same and find it in the Calle del Vidre 1, although it sells herbs rather than perfume, and is called Herboristería del Rey, founded in 1823.

The shop is at the corner of Plaza Reial, an impressive arcaded square which was built in 1848 by architect Francesc Daniel Molina; before that it had housed a religious convent. You can still see the lamps there by architect Antoni Gaudí and a fountain with Zeus’ daughters Thalia, Eufrosina and Aglae.

Grenouille meets a fruit seller by the Cathedral wall and follows her to Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, where he inexcusably wastes both a beautiful girl and some delicious fruit by killing one and spilling the other after having followed her around Carrer del Bisbe, Carrer Sant Sever and Carrer de la Pietat for a while.

Plaça de Sant Felip Neri

In October the crew moved to Girona, where they spent 8 days. Madame Arnulfi’s home and perfume factory was filmed at Castell de San Ferran, as were Grimalfi’s tannery and the Paris city gates. Its dungeon was used for the prison scenes.

In the Jewish Quarter (El Call) of Girona we can find the little alley, which is really a tunnel through houses built on the rock of the town centre, where Jean Baptiste awaits in order to kill Laura, only to be foiled by the last minute arrival of her overprotective father, Alan Rickman. (Don’t worry; he gets her in the end).

At another moment in the film, Grasse’s Bishop is celebrating a funeral for a murdered nun’s soul, and we can see the gothic church of Sant Just i Pastor in Barcelona’s Placa San Just, where the nun’s body was also found, although the façade was Girona’s Cathedral.

One of Girona’s most popular places is in fact some steps that appear several times during the film, (such as when Jean Baptiste contracts a prostitute whom he later murders) and which are in reality today a sprawling terrace for a bar with dangerously perched tables where locals and tourists come for a pre-supper drink to admire the church portal above.

The staircase, called the Pujada de Sant Domènec, is surrounded by historical monuments such as the 16th century renaissance Palacio de Caramany, the gothic Palau dels Agullana and the church of Sant Martí Sacosta.

The medieval town of Besalú in Girona province provides the impressively long bridge across which Jean Baptiste runs into the Provenze town of Grasse in pursuit of Laura after he first sees her, although he then keeps running rather cleverly up the steps of the Pujada de Sant Domènec in Girona. Surprisingly the director chose to only show half of this magnificent stone bridge, at the other end of which is the Hotel Els Jardins de la Martana, where the filming crew stayed while in Besalú.

The bridge, which dates from the 11th century, has a tower and portcullis in the middle, unseen in the film.

The mountains across which Jean Baptiste treks can be found on the borderlands between Girona and France, and include the mountain range known as the Montgrí Massif. The inn to which Laura flees to escape Jean Baptiste is in reality a rocky peninsular on the Costa Brava, with the villa super-imposed by digital technology.

Poor old Alan Rickman went to incredible lengths to save his daughter from the murderer, and all to no avail as they are tracked down to the inn, where they spend their last night on this side of eternity.

When they arrive, and are greeted by the innkeeper and his wife, they are in fact inside the castle of Requesens, in front of one of the inner gates.

She had fled there with her fussy father after leaving the family mansion, to which Grenouille had tracked her and stalked her as she celebrated her 15th birthday. The celebration is held in the Parc del Laberint d’Horta, Barcelona’s oldest existing park, situated on the north eastern outskirts of Barcelona in Passeig Castanyers.

The façade and terrace in these scenes belong to the Palau Desvalls, situated in the park. The two gardens are the garden of the ‘insane’ (dels boixos), next to the Palau Desvalls, and the maze, which lends its name to the park.

Another part of Catalonia used in the film was Tortosa in Tarragona, where the wide, meandering River Ebro fulfilled its role as the River Seine in Paris. Specifically, the scenes there were shot at the playa del río Ebro (Ebro River beach), situated in front of the Puente (Bridge) del Estado and the railway bridge, near the Roser Church on the right bank, with the cameras located in the Ferreries district in the Paseo del Ebro. The local rowing club collaborated in the filming according to the organisers of the annual Renaissance Festival.

The failed execution of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, the perfume-making serial assassin, was shot in Barcelona’s Poble Espanyol, a tourist attraction on Montjuïc mountain built in 1929 for the International Exhibition, recreating typical architecture and neighbourhoods featuring 117 buildings, streets and squares from all over Spain.

The opening scene of the film, where Grenouille is led onto a balcony to confront the angry crowd was also shot here; the room and balcony being the replica of Vall-de-Roures Town Hall.

The famous special effects and dance company, La Fura del Baus, helped to choreograph the crowd scenes and subsequent orgy with 5,000 extras. Volunteers were apparently not lacking.

Cargo (2006)

A young German gets himself into a ‘situation’ in Africa and stows away on a cargo ship. The action takes place aboard the ship, which was in fact moored in Barcelona port for most of the filming.

The ship, called ‘Ira’, which means ‘rage’ in Spanish, had been abandoned in the port at the Moll de Contradic (Port de Mercaderies) for three years, making deterioration decorative work unnecessary.

The ship has now sunk, and as such visits by cinema tourists could be a bit awkward.

Tirant Lo Blanc (2006)

Although it is essentially a Spanish film, and one based on one of the most important literary works in the Catalan language- Tirant Lo Blanc by Joanot Martorell- written in the 15th century, the film was made in English with an international cast and actors such as Jane Asher, who plays the Empress, and the lead actor Casper Zafer.

Among the locations used was El Muelle (dock) de las Carabelas in Palos de la Frontera (Huelva), specifically in the Nao Santa Mar, as well as Barcelona, (where some scenes were shot from the balcony of the Palau de la Generalitat in the Plaza San Jaume).

In Madrid the scene, supposedly set in Constantinople, where Leonor Watling and Esther Nubiola whisper to each other over the latter’s bed while she seems to levitate, was in fact filmed in an industrial estate at Fuente el Saz, just outside the capital.

The 18th century castle of Sant Ferran in Figueres, Girona was used between 20th and the 23rd of June 2005. Tirant’s soldiers’ camp was set up in the moat there, whereas the castle where Tirant rides out (twice) to defeat the Turkish foe, is the oft used castle of Calahorra in Granada province. On the second occasion, the snowy peaks on the Sierra Nevada are clearly visible.

Tirant’s death occurs returning from his strange victory in the Rambla de Búho, Tabernas, Almería.

The whole film is a bit unusual; while the men fillet each other on the battlefield, the women come and go in their palaces, whispering and conspiring during the breaks in the fighting. Nothing ever changes!

Backwoods (2006)

This film will almost certainly do for rural tourism in northern Spain what ‘Straw Dogs’ did for Cornwall, or what ‘Deliverance’ did for White Water sports.

The backwoods in question are in northern Navarra, where two holidaying couples discover the dark side of human nature amongst the extensive beech forests.

The story begins however in the Basque Country near Hendaya, where the two couples are to be found bickering, as couples do on holiday, during a drive along the beautiful coastline of Guipúzcoa province.

Filming took place around Artikutxa and Arantzeta in Guipúzcoa. The former claims to be the rainiest place in the Iberian Peninsula, and certainly there are bucketloads being thrown about, especially at the end of the film.

In Navarra they filmed near Itxaso, just south of Lekunberri and Erasun to the north of the province near the French border.

But the real stars are the beech forests of Navarra, which initially attract and later trap the two couples, led by ‘Dracula’ himself, Gary Oldham.

In Navarra you can lose yourself, with or without shotguns, in the Irati Forest, the second largest and best preserved beech and fir forest in Europe, consisting of 17,000 hectares spread over hills and mountains.

Unlike the film, in real life the people are friendly and welcoming and there are plenty of nice hotels and guest houses or reconverted farmhouses known as Caserios, where they don’t actually lock their children up in coal cellars like in the film.

Mysterious Creatures (2006)

A story about a couple with a daughter suffering from Asberger’s syndrome. Unable to cope they enter into a suicide pact, which only half succeeds.

The place they choose to end their lives is the popular Los Cristianos beach, Tenerife.

The Deal (2006)

An American living in Sitges, near Barcelona, loses her wine making husband and her daughter in a fire. What Oscar Wilde would call ‘clumsy.’

She decides to investigate and uncovers the usual conspiracy involving Interpol and the Colombian underworld.

According to local cinema expert Francesc Borderia, the film includes a car chase that reaches the San Sebastià beach promenade at Sitges and continues through the narrow streets of the historic centre, including the Town Hall square, climaxing in the square in front of the church.

The Augustus Cavas vineyard, owned by the unhappy couple, is the scene of the explosion that destroys its idyllic main building. The vineyard is situated at Carretera Sant Vicenç El Vendrell, Tarragona.

The cemetery where Laura thinks she is burying her family is in Poble Nou, Barcelona. The gallery where Laura meets the Colombian mafia is an antique gallery in Barcelona’s Eixample, and the FBI raid in Miami was in fact filmed at the marina in Puerto de Llaverneres.

The park, which I think is supposed to suggest the Retiro in Madrid with its boating lake, was in reality a park in Cornellà.

The Escoles Pies in Barcelona is supposed to be the school in Madrid where the wife goes to investigate her husband’s past and talks, while children play behind them in the playground, to the director, who like all Spanish headmasters (and Police Captains and Colombian Mafia) is fluent in English.

During her visit to Madrid, we see some of the landmarks such as the Puerta del Sol and the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, home of Real Madrid. The emblematic leaning towers of Kia also get a brief cameo.

This may be what they call a spoiler in the business, but personally I find it difficult to suspend disbelief when a man who has been shot four times, makes an upbeat speech to his wife and daughter and then dies with apparent satisfaction and a smile on his lips.

Moscow Zero (2006)

Although set in Moscow, and largely underground at that, the Spanish production team took advantage of the tunnels being built for Sevilla’s underground system for some scenes. They also shot some scenes at nearby Carmona, where the Roman Necropolis was used.

The church of San Luis de los Franceses of Sevilla, an 18th century ornate building which passed into the hands of the state when the Jesuits were expelled from Spain, was used for filming the scenes inside the church.

A snazzy website enables you to explore the church with its ornate interiors, although don’t expect to see panels sliding away and refugees emerging from the walls!

It’s a claustrophobic film, during which we barely see the light of day, and when we do it’s the frozen wastes of Moscow in winter.

Down underground everybody is worried about the Gates of Hell being opened, which is a pity because Sevilla is a happy city with amazing architecture and glorious sunlight most of the time.

Although nearly all the actors are Spanish, everybody speaks English or Russian (I’m guessing) fluently. The exception is Val Kilmer making a cameo appearance and looking in need of a nice shave and shower.

José Manuel Lara from Villanueva de las Minas told us that he was an extra in the film, and that on the 13th and 14th of December 2005 he shivered along with other extras in the galleries of mine number seven in the abandoned Minas de la Reunión playing one of Kilmer’s cohorts.

Find Her, Keep Her (2006)

We know that it was filmed partly in Spain and in the UK, but very little else.

The Stoning (2006)

This German film about Iran was shot largely in Spain and Malta, and has a surprise reappearance of Suzannah (is she still alive?) York.

The Cheetah Girls 2 (2006)

You’ll be surprised to know that this is the follow up to The Cheetah Girls 1. It is also known as ‘When In Spain,’ and is set in Barcelona.

The all girl pop group sing and dance their way around Barcelona and during the song ‘Strut,’ which starts in a bar that is the gothic patio of the Palau Dalmases, we see some rather nice views of the Plaza Born with the Santa María del Mar church in the background, the ceramic terrace of Gaudí’s Parc Güell and the Plaza España with the gardens, fountains and Palau Nacional behind them.

Another song, ‘Performance’ is performed in the Plaza Reial.

Thanks to Margarida Araya for her help on this one.

The Fall (2006)

Tarsem Singh normally makes ads and pop videos, one of which was REM’s ‘Losing My Religion.’ He took advantage of his travels to knock together this film, which was shot over a period of four years and includes footage from over 20 countries, including India, Indonesia, Italy, France, Namibia, China and Spain.

The Spanish contribution was filmed in Toledo province, next to the famous Don Quijote style windmills which continue to draw tourists.

The windmills stand on the slopes outside Consuegra near the 12th century castle, which was a stronghold when Consuegra was the seat and priory of the Knights of San Juan, the Spanish branch of the Knight’s Hospitallers of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

The windmills are seen ever so briefly during the witch doctor dance scene when the corpse turns into a map (it makes more sense when you see it).

A suicidal stunt man tells a fantastic adventure story to a little girl with a broken arm and a serious attitude problem, interweaving real and fantasy characters.

The aesthetics make viewing worthwhile, as does the inclusion of Beethoven’s less commercial 7th Symphony.

The heroes are flawed and the villain, Governor Odious, is Spanish. Charles Darwin makes an appearance and gets shot dead for his troubles.

This must, therefore, I’m guessing, be fiction.

Ride Around the World (2006)

The horses are definitely the stars in this film, which Hitchcock would have loved as he once described actors as ‘cattle’.

The film takes us to locations in Morocco, all over the American continent, and to Badajoz.

Xavier (2006)

Liam Neeson narrates the story of 16th-century Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier, who was born in the family castle at Javier, Navarra.

The film is a documentary-style reproduction of the Saint’s life using actors.

The castle’s history is one of defaulting on a loan. It was collateral on money borrowed by a noble from the King of Navarra, Sancho VII el Fuerte in 1223, which was never repaid.

In 1516 the castle was badly damaged in an assault by Castilian troops, seeking revenge because Xavier’s brothers bore arms against the King. It is at the moment of the telling of this tale, at the beginning of the story, that we see the castle and its ‘beautiful tower’, as described by an interviewee.

The 9/11 Commission Report (2006)

This dramatization of the report raises questions about whether the Twin Towers attack could have been prevented, and features among the locations Algeciras, Cádiz, which represents Pakistan, where two terrorists are planning their evil deeds until one sells out the other.

Karol: the Pope, the Man (2006)

This dramatization of the story of Pope John Paul II includes the assassination of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador and the Pope’s later visit to pay him homage.

In both cases the cathedral of Guadix, Granada was used.

We also see the assassins walking up the famous ramp used by Leone in Duck You Sucker, on the way to do their dastardly deed, and as the Pope arrives, he is driven into the arcaded main square.

Savage Grace (2007)

Many film producers assure their audiences that no animals were hurt in the making of the film, although they rarely mention babies.

In Savage Grace, the baby in question spends a lot of his time in his parents’ smoke shroud as they lean over his cot, ash-dangling fags in mouths. It may explain why he ends up as a dope-smoking hippy in Mallorca.

It’s good to have a film with a message, and the message here is that you shouldn’t introduce your attractive Spanish girlfriend to your bored but still not unattractive father, otherwise you’ll end up alone; or with your deranged mother and her Bertolucci lunar complex.

Although set in New York, Paris, Mallorca and London, the entire film was in fact shot in Spain, and mostly around Barcelona. Spanish habitual Simón Andreu this time tries his hand at playing a Frenchman, Jean Pierre Souvestre.

The platja de les Assutzenes, which belongs to the village of Colera, Llancà, in Girona province represents Cadaqués in 1967, the genuine summer holiday Costa Brava location for the rich family, which is based upon the true story of the American dynasty of the ‘Bakelite’ fortune. It is here that Tony first meets Blanca.

Sitges, just south of Barcelona, was also used as a location; it is here that we see father Brooks seated with his son Tony and then Julianne Moore with Spanish actress Belen Rueda in flashbacks on the terrace of a restaurant with large windows overlooking the sea. The restaurant in question is El Viver, located above the San Sebastià beach just to the north of Sitges’ historic centre, just below the cemetery.

Owner Margarita Sanchez informed us that the filming actually took place on the roof of the restaurant on a single day’s shooting in August 2006.

Margarita had to feed between 50 and 60 actors and crew from 5 am onwards. The restaurant is very popular, and rightly so, with the stars, who frequently eat here during the Sitges Film Festival. Among the special guests that have dined here are Ralph Fiennes, Anthony Perkins and Anthony Hopkins.

If you eat there, as we did, try the local dish Xatò (absolutely delicious).

El Greco (2007)

Those were simpler days, when a Greek artist living in Spain was referred to simply as ‘The Greek’ (El Greco), although presumably there weren’t many of his compatriots about, otherwise it could have got confusing.

Visitors to one of Spain’s most monumental cities, Toledo, can visit El Greco’s famous paintings there, particularly in his house, now the El Greco House Museum where, among his furniture and artefacts you can see some of his paintings such as ‘Apostolate,’ ‘San Bernardino,’ the famous ‘View and Map of Toledo,’ ‘The Tears of San Pedro’ and ‘The Redeemer,’ although his most famous painting in Toledo is probably ‘The Burial of Count Orgaz,’ in the church of Santo Tomé.

Mostly shot in Greece and Rhodes, the film also used some exteriors in Manresa, Barcelona and the 12th century Santa María de Santes Creus Monastery (Tarragona) and Solsona (Lleida).

The monastery was founded on murder. Legend tells us that in January 1194 the Archbishop of Tarragona was murdered by Guillém Ramón de Moncada, who was ordered by the Pope to pay for this sin by building the monastery; hence the expression: business is business.

So popular with tourists is Toledo that the film makers didn’t use it, and had to use the Cathedral of Manresa (Basilica de la Seu) to represent both the cathedrals of Toledo and Madrid. Filming took place inside the cathedral, with El Greco praying, and outside.

Forty extras from local theatre groups were employed in Manresa, where the scene in which Francesca appeals for clemency for El Greco from the Inquisition was filmed.

Queen Sophia of Spain, who was born in Greece, attended one filming session in Manresa.

El Greco, or Domenico Theotocopoulos, as his parents preferred to call him, was born in Crete in 1541.

Body Armour (2007)

The film opens in LA and closes in NY, but all the interesting bits were filmed around the city of Barcelona, where an assassin must be protected from other assassins.

There are plenty of good opportunities to see the sights, such as the cemetery of Montjuïc, at the beginning of our visit to the city, where the villains meet to plot dastardly deeds among the gothic tombs, just to let us know that they are indeed villainous.

Before that the plane lands at Barcelona airport and we can see the Barcelona skyline with the impressive Sagrada Familia Cathedral designed by Antoní Gaudí

The assassin turned informer, played by Chazz Palminteri, is holed up in the Hotel Rey Juan Carlos I, Avenida Diagonal 661, and, like all authentic gangsters, is listening to Opera when we meet him.

The plot is so shaky that it would register on the Richter Scale. The US government would hardly cut a deal with someone who’d killed a US Presidential candidate (at least not a Republican one!) and the buses in Barcelona don’t normally drive around town with their doors open.

The streets of Barcelona are used for some nice car chases, and the Barcelona version of the Arc de Triumph is the location for a chase and crash, which sends flower sellers fleeing in all directions. The arch was built by Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas for the 1888 Universal exhibition, to which it was the main access.

During this sequence we can hear some authentic Spanish taxi driver insults: “¡Capullo!” to be exact (it actually means ‘bud’; possibly an oblique reference to Citizen Kane).

The next in a series of fluffed attempts to kill the killer takes place at the Pacha Disco with its famous cherry logo, situated in Avenida del Doctor Mariñon 17.

Here they finally kill the obligatory Vampire bitch killer, who arrives late at all the shoot outs because she has to pose for ten minutes each time.

Next we go up to the Tibidabo amusement park on one of the hills overlooking Barcelona for more shooting and a chance to enjoy the quaint attractions of this popular park, especially the red aeroplane that has continued to fly in small circles over the city since 1901.

Still alive, our heroes escape to a country house that is a tribute to bad taste and which is located near Cardedeu.

With all the baddies dead, it only remains to have a final murder on the steps of the NY courthouse in great American tradition, and for everyone to exclaim “but didn’t he fall to his death in the previous scene?”

Four Last Songs (2007)

‘Four Last Songs’ is a piece of music by Richard Strauss, and these songs form part of the soundtrack in a comedy all about music and the beautiful lifestyle of beautiful people in Mallorca.

Filming took place around the idyllic locations of Deia and Sóller, on the northern coast of the island, with Stanley Tucci, Rhys Ifans and Hugh Bonneville as the stars

Velocity (2007)

A thriller set in the world of professional car racing and featuring the Russian mafia as well as location shots in  Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Russia, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

Intergalactic Combat (2007)

The usual ‘beat the Aliens at martial arts or lose your planet’ scenario, with location shots in Barbados, UK, Japan, Korea, Portugal and Spain.

Blackout (2007)

A film that will either give you a lift or ensure that you never get into one again.

Set in the USA but filmed largely in Barcelona, and particularly using the facade of Casa Burés in Carrer Girona 12; three people who urgently need to be somewhere else end up trapped together with horrific consequences.

Irina Palm (2007)

Marianne Faithful survived the sixties, in which she was a sexual icon, to play a grandmother in this film. Unfortunately her grandson doesn’t look like he’ll survive and so Marianne decides to lend a hand.

She looks for employment until she finds an apparently sleazy entrepreneur from the gentlemen’s pleasure industry, whose vocabulary extends to the word ‘euphemism.’

Crafty camerawork means that we never get to see the object of her handicraft, although it becomes pretty clear why she is given the pseudonym ‘Irina Palm;’ and it’s nothing to do with swaying trees on balmy beaches.

In fact the only sight we catch of Spain is a photograph of the entrepreneur’s dream house, which he is having built for his well earned retirement in Mallorca. And this in spite of the fact that, according to the credits, a complete Spanish crew participated in the film, which was also shot in the UK, Luxembourg and Germany.

Despite some sordidness, contrasted with large doses of utter boredom, the film is a surprising celebration of the power of love, and will bring a tear to your callous heart and a re-evaluation of the usefulness of OAPs.

The Heart of the Earth (2007)

Evil British mine owners pit their wits against Spanish miners in the Rio Tinto mines of Andalucía. And when that doesn’t work there’s always bullets!

The film is based on a book that is based on the true story, known in Spain as ‘el año de los tiros,’ ‘the year of the shots,’ in which 14 miners were officially killed, although the real number is believed to be greater.

In Huelva the British influence, from the days when the mines of Rio Tinto were exploited, can still be seen. There is a whole neighbourhood called ‘Barrio de Reina Victoria’ that looks just like a little bit of Brighton or Westward Ho transplanted in the middle of this otherwise not very attractive city, which was destroyed by the same earthquake that devastated Lisbon in 1755.

There is also the Rio Tinto pier, now an attractive venue for young couples hoping to see the same splendid sunsets that attracted Stephen Spielberg to the nearby village of Trebujena, where he filmed the prison camp scenes of Empire of the Sun.

The pier appears in the film, with a superimposed train on top of it. It is from the pier that the bodies of the victims of the massacre are dumped into the sea.

The film was made mainly at the Rio Tinto mines of what is now called Linares de la Sierra. Among the locations is the Barrio (neighbourhood) de Bella Vista which was where British staff, who worked for the Rio Tinto Company and lived a lifestyle more reminiscent of India or Borneo, were accommodated. They had their own Protestant church and the kind of club that would have banned Lawrence of Arabia.

Over 5,000 local people participated as extras and were duly massacred for their trouble.

One of the houses is now the Mining Museum with British colonial furniture to be lounged about in.

Rio Tinto mine was founded by British venture capitalists in the late 19th Century and exploited mainly for its copper. This is the main reason why Huelva is one of several Spanish towns that has a British cemetery. Today the mine has been converted into a theme park, and also a filming location.

The train station used was that of Los Frailes at El Campillo.

Some of the beach scenes were shot at Playa Mazagón, near Palos de la Frontera.

Trigueros is the hometown of the film’s Spanish director Antonio Cuadri, many of whose friends participated as extras in the tavern scenes shot there.

The house of Blanca Bosco (Catalina Sandino) was also filmed there, although it was digitally transferred to the beach of Mazagón.

Hidden Camera (2007)

Yet another thriller from the Barcelona production company ‘Drimtim’

A famous journalist is killed in Barcelona, and his brother trashes this very beautiful city to avenge him.

As the credits roll we see an aerial view of some of the city’s landmarks: the Torre Agbar, the Sagrada Familia cathedral, the National Art Museum, the port, Montjuïc castle and Parc Güell among them.

Somehow North Korea gets involved, but let’s not worry about how.

Among the Barcelona locations were Edificio Principal de Correos (Post Office), Mercado (Market) de la Boquería, La Rambla, Plaza España, Hotel Ritz, the Francia railway station and Palau de Pedralbes.

Goal 2 (2007)

The cunningly titled follow up to ‘Goal 1.’ The film’s story involves a David Beckham style move to Real Madrid, where real Real players like goalkeeper Iker Casillas, Raul, Zidane and Beckham make cameo appearances as the action moves between Newcastle, London and Madrid.

When the move takes place, the Spanish capital gets its cameo with shots of the Puerta de Alcalá and an aerial view of the stadium.

Never Sleeps (2007)

A man delivers parcels to Berlin, London, New York, Reykjavík and Barcelona, but his life consists of hotels and airports. Mustn’t grumble.

The Matador’s Mistress (2008)

The distance between Spain and the Anglo-American world of the cinema has become almost non-existent as Spanish and foreign actors, technicians and directors participate in increasingly international projects.

That most Spanish of New York actors, Adrien Brody, plays that most Spanish of macho men, the bullfighter Manolete.

The director is Dutchman Menno Meyjes, who had previously contributed to scripts for two famous films made partially in Spain, Stephen Spielberg’s ‘The Empire of the Sun’ and ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.’

Along for the ride is that most international of Spanish actresses, Oscar winner Penelope Cruz.

The first day’s filming took place at a tiny bullring in the town of Matilla de los Caños del Río in Salamanca province, where Brody is seen with his cape doing some passes. In reality he was coached through the film by two famous Spanish bullfighters, Espartaco and Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez.

Bullfighting scenes were shot in Alicante’s bullring, and the streets of Alcoy, also in Alicante province and home of Spain’s most famous Moors and Christians celebrations, can be seen too when the streets around the San Mateo market, such as Calle San Francisco, become the streets around the Linares bullring in Jaén for Manolete’s entrance there.

Some scenes showing Manolete’s early days were filmed in Matarrubia in Guadalajara province.

Many of the interior scenes were shot in the City of Light studios in Alicante, and also used was the Puerto de Santa María in Cádiz, for Manolete’s visit to Mexico, and filming also took place at the Balneario La Palma at La Caleta beach, which had previously represented Cuba in the James Bond film ‘Die Another Day’. The couple find solace in Mexico, walking on the beaches and talking about having a family, and at the far end of the beach, we can see the castle of Santa Catalina.

In Carmona in Sevilla province, the matador’s funeral was filmed below the battlements of the Alcázar de la Puerta de Sevilla and the mansion of the Marques de San Martín was both Manolete’s patron’s office and the guesthouse where Manolete stayed.

The Alcázar has a lot of history, with a construction started by the Carthaginians between 237 and 206 B.C. Then the Romans arrived as usual.

When they conquered Málaga, the Catholic Monarchs imprisoned the Muslim mayor Amet-el Zegrí there.

A major restoration took place between 1973 and 1975.

Ex-British cabinet member and train enthusiast Michael Portillo has been known to hang around the main square.

Alcázar de la Puerta de Sevilla

The prison scene was shot at the Molino de Marruecos on the edge of town.

At Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Cádiz, where El Palacio de Orleáns, currently the Town Hall, was transformed into the Hotel Sur, Manolete sets off on his last journey, to meet with death in the Linares bullring.

Calle Santiago in Sanlúcar was also used for a scene where Manolete is searching for Penelope Cruz.

Vantage Point (2008)

If you’re going to assassinate the President of the United States, then Dallas seems a rather tacky place, lacking in history. Much better Salamanca, the Oxford of Spain, where the great minds of Europe have gathered for centuries among the sandstone monumental buildings, and where their faces adorn the arcaded Plaza Mayor, including the only non-Spaniard to be found there, the Duke of Wellington, who won the Battle of Salamanca on July 22nd 1812 against Napoleon’s army at the nearby village of Arapiles.

This time it is the leader of the free world who attends a summit on terrorism and addresses the crowds in the very same square, only to be rudely interrupted by shots and explosions.

The aerial view of the car chase that follows was unfortunately the only real opportunity to see Salamanca in all its glory as the Town Hall wasn’t prepared to close down the square for three months’ shooting, which would have deprived the tourists of the free world of the opportunity to sip their sangria around the many terraced bars that make up the square today.

In the rest of the film, that which purports to be Salamanca is Mexico City, and the famous square is a mock up, which is fortunate seeing as how this famous, arcaded tourist attraction is blown up during the film.

William Hurt, Dennis Quaid, Sigourney Weaver and Spaniard Eduardo Noriega star in this film about terrorism. And just to make sure that we understand the subject matter, an ETA graffiti can be seen during the car chase; something that wouldn’t last ten seconds in Salamanca.

This variation on ‘Groundhog Day,’ in which we are condemned to relive the same twenty minutes again and again, with its unrealistic plot, in which a single terrorist can saunter through the President of the United States’ security detachment, is plagued by numerous errors, such as the infiltrated hotel receptionist greeting people in Catalan (“Bon Dia”) instead of in Spanish.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2008)

In true Bond tradition Jason Bourne travels around the world as both predator and prey and is worryingly successful at outwitting the CIA with all its agents and all its expensive paraphernalia.

Madrid was luckier than Moscow, as when Bourne is supposed to be in Madrid he is in Madrid. When he’s supposed to be in Moscow, some of the time he’s actually in Berlin because Moscow got just too damned cold.

In Madrid Bourne foils his pursuers by ringing the police and warning them of the presence of armed Americans. The rapid intervention of the Spanish police and their disarming of the CIA’s agents is gratifying; in real life you’d spend a half hour arguing with some cynical switchboard operator.

The action in Madrid begins at the Atocha railway station before moving to Daniels’ office for Bourne’s encounter with Nicky at a location to be found in Calle de la Virgen de los Peligros. 

Atocha

The meeting between Simon Ross and Neal Daniels takes place in Plaza Santa Cruz, next to the Plaza Mayor.

Matt Damon was so enamoured by Madrid that he stayed on a few extra days with his wife Luciana Barroso to see the sights.

Che: Part 2 (2008)

The second part of Benicio de Toro’s adaptation of Che’s diaries was filmed largely in southern Spain.

The village of Los Navalucillos in Toledo province was taken over by the film makers and turned into the military camp from which Che’s capture was organised.

Among the locations used were the holm oak forests of Huelva province, which served as the backwoods of Bolivia, where the guerrillas trekked from place to place in search of a revolution, as well as ‘El Buitron,’ in the mining district of Huelva, where director Steven Soderberg covered up street lights and electricity lines for authenticity’s sake.

Che’s execution was shot in Corchado, part of San Pablo de Buceite in Cádiz province, referred to as ‘Villa Los Gálvez’ in the film.

The electric substation in El Corchado belonging to the Endesa electricity company was transformed into the interrogation room where Guevara was shot. A local maize field and several ruins in the area were also used.

Alcornocales Natural Park, which covers 167,767 hectares between Tarifa in the south and Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park in the north, extends across the border between the provinces of Cádiz and Málaga, it is the largest cork forest in the Iberian Peninsula and among the most important in the world.

Here filming took place at the Molino (mill) de Felipe Gómez, la Ruta de Gaucín, where various houses were blown up for the scene when the guerrillas are bombarded by the Bolivian air force, and El Dorado, besides the River Guadiaro, where Che is finally wounded and captured.

Another place used was the Plaza Villa de París in Madrid, which became the seat of the Bolivian government, in which Americans and Bolivians plotted Che’s demise. The building used for this purpose is actually the Tribunal Supremo.

Vicky, Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Unsurprisingly this film was largely made in Barcelona and uses many of the city’s landmarks.

But, to begin at the beginning, Rebecca Hall (Vicky) and Scarlett Johansson (Cristina) arrive at Barcelona’s international airport, El Prat. Actors and crew moved into the 1992 Olympic village area, where they put up at the Hotel Arts, situated in one of the two towers that were built to house the Olympic teams. Many of the crew also stayed there, including the Allen family, who had a whole floor to themselves.

In the nearby Port Olímpic there is a scene where Mark and Judy walk along the Moll de Xaloc.

Filming began on the 9th of July 2007 and ended on the 24th of August, using some of Barcelona’s most emblematic locations such as Passeig de Gracia, where some of Gaudí’s incomparable architectural works can be seen. At Casa Milà – ‘La Pedrera’, Vicky, Cristina and Judy admire the views of Barcelona from the rooftop with its amazing chimneys, from where the Sagrada Familia cathedral can be seen.

The façade of La Pedrera in the Passeig de Gràcia appears again when Vicky and Doug meet with two American friends, Sally and Adam.

All the Pedrera scenes were filmed on July 13th.

When Vicky and Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) meet again after their trip to Asturias, the scene features the famous ceramic dragon on the steps of Parque Güell, which Gaudí designed to be a housing estate for the rich in the English style.

The famous ceramic dragon can be seen although the water streaming from its mouth had to be slowed down as it was too loud for the microphones. The gatehouse and Bugaderia viaduct also feature.

Vicky is attending Spanish classes, but her ‘school’ is in reality the Hospital de Sant Pau, whose wrought-iron gate with its floral motifs is seen.

Gaudí’s Finca Güell at the end of Avenida Pedralba, also makes a brief appearance when Vicky is waiting for Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) to arrive in his sports car outside its famous dragon gate.

The visit to a church takes place in Santa María Del Mar, which is the church featured in the famous novel ‘Cathedral of the Sea’ by Ildefonso Falcones.

We also see Vicky and Cristina taking photographs of the Nativity façade of Gaudí’s unfinished Sagrada Familia Cathedral from the Plaça de la Sagrada Família.

The scene with a parade of Devils tossing firecrackers, a typically Catalan festival, was shot in Via Laietana.

The opening scene was filmed on 9th July 2007 in La Barceloneta restaurant in an area near the port of the same name, famous for its seafood cuisine.

One other popular restaurant used was the legendary ‘Els Quatre Gats,’ for the scene of the first meeting with Juan Antonio and the two American girls. It was once frequented by artists like Picasso, although Allen replaced pictures by the old masters with those by modern Catalan painters such as Agustí Puig and Rosa Mujal.

Here Bardem first speaks to his future lovers as the typical Catalan dish, bread with tomato paste and olive oil (pa amb tomàquet) is visible on their table.

The scene was filmed in the main dining room of the restaurant, situated in Carrer Monsió 3, and originally opened in 1897.

The restaurant has been run by the Ferré family for the last quarter of a century, and Silvia Ferré informed us on our visit that the only day the restaurant has ever closed was to allow filming of the scene.

The name, which means ‘4 Cats,’ derives from the fact that it was originally opened by four Bohemians, and that when Spanish people want to say there are very few people present, they say that there are only ‘four cats.’

Picasso was responsible for several posters advertising his favourite eating place, copies of which can be seen on the walls.

Many famous people visit this surprisingly inexpensive restaurant, as can be seen by the photographs on the walls of such eminent diners as ex-US President Jimmy Carter. Many people ask for the table where Scarlett Johansson sat.

Art features heavily in the film, hardly surprising in a city with such an important artistic tradition; one famous artist, Catalonia’s own Joan Miró is honoured when Vicky, Cristina and Judy look at a sculpture by Miró called ‘Girl Escaping,’ a painted bronze created in 1967, on the terrace at the Miró Foundation.

Miró’s work can also be seen at the beginning of the film. When the girls arrive at Barcelona Airport, we see Miró’s ceramic mural outside Terminal B, which was commissioned by Barcelona City Council in 1967.

Furthermore, at what is in reality the Fundació Tàpies the American couple, the Nashes, invite Vicky and Cristina to a private viewing of an exhibition, where we see Javier Bardem for the first time.

In another scene at Plaça del Àngels, where Catalonia’s Contemporary Art Museum (MACBA) is located, Cristina, Vicky and Doug sit chatting at a pavement café and we can see one of the Basque artist Chillida’s sculptures.

Moreover, at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) Vicky and Judy chat on the steps leading up to the museum.

In the Plaça Sant Felip Neri, Cristina and Juan Antonio invite Vicky and Doug to join them for lunch, and after lunch, which was actually on the terrace of the Hotel Neri, an 18th century palace, the four of them visit the old-fashioned Tibidabo amusement park, perched on a hilltop above the city. This scene was shot on 27th July.

In another moment we can see the luxurious Hotel Casa Fuster (at the top of Passeig de Gràcia-Els Jardinets) where Judy and Vicky have a chat while having tea. This modernist building was constructed in 1908 and restored in 2004, having originally been designed by the Catalan architect Lluís Domenech i Montaner.

Two members of the hotel staff, director Ferrán Rojo and assistant director Cesar Royo participated in the film as extras in the scenes where the hotel was used as a set.

While filming, Allen played several times in the hotel’s Café Vienés Jazz Club with Eddy Davis and Conal Fowkes, members of the band with which he often plays in the Hotel Carlyle in New York.

In the Parc de la Ciutadella María Elena (Penélope Cruz) teaches Cristina photographic techniques; scenes that were filmed on August 13th.

In the internationally famous ‘La Rambla’ Cristina has a stroll while she takes photos of the flower stalls.

Allen actually took over a section of La Rambla between the Belén church and the entrance to the Boquería market for this purpose on the morning of the 10th of July.

In one of the final scenes, Vicky and Cristina are seen sitting at a pavement café in the centre of La Rambla between Carrer Aragó and Carrer Consell de Cent.

At the end of the Rambla, at the entrance to the old port area, now a leisure centre, Allen shows us the sixty metre high statue of Columbus, exiled like Nelson to the top of a column, looking cross and pointing out to sea.

The prostitutes of the red light district of Raval get their own cameo and also in Raval we visit the Bar Marsella in Carrer San Pau 65, whose previous customers included Dali, Picasso, Gaudí and Hemingway. The bar, opened in 1820, is thought to be Barcelona’s oldest.

In this district we see the argument between Bardem and Cruz , which was in Carrer de Sant Ramon.

Barcelona Tourist Office has now prepared itineraries to allow tourists to visit these locations and those of other films made in Barcelona.

While filming in Asturias, with its green rolling hills and spectacular coastline, Allen and his stars stayed at Oviedo’s 18th century Hotel de la Reconquista, which is where we see them arriving in the first scene.

The hotel lobby also appears in the film, as do other locations in Oviedo such as the Plaza de la Catedral, the Tránsito de Santa Bárbara, Plaza de Trascorrales, Fontán market, the Confitería Camilo de Blas, where they taste some chocolates, and the Corrada del Obispo restaurant, where Bardem eats with Vicky while Christina is ill.

Bardem takes us to two churches; first he takes both girls to San Julián de los Prados, also known as Santullano, a 9th century church.

Later he takes Vicky to the similarly 9th century Santa María del Naranco, and then they chat by the lighthouse in Áviles.

Santa María del Naranco

In Avilés we can also see el Jardín Francés (the French Garden) of the Palacio de los Marqueses de Ferrera where they attend a night time guitar concert.

In one scene, supposedly in the hills outside Barcelona, when Penelope Cruz gives Javier Bardem a massage, they are in fact in Asturias, on the Naranco mountain.

The Garden of Eden (2008)

Director John Irvin found Valencia’s historic centre irresistible for the authentic feel of 1920s France, impregnated with that certain ‘je ne sais quois’ that is not only Paris but also the Cote D’Azur in the 1920s

The film, based on Hemingway’s unfinished novel of the same name, stars Mena Suvari, Jack Huston and Caterina Murino. When Huston and Murino make a brief visit to Madrid, the facade of the hotel where they meet Richard E Grant is in fact Valencia’s Notary Association in Calle Pasqual y Genis 21, a building that used to house Valencia’s Stock Exchange. Some of the typical French sidewalk bars of Nice are easily disguised bars and cafés in Valencia’s medieval district, the Barrio del Carmen.

Calle Pasqual y Genis 21

Those locals who like their night life to exude a little ‘joie de vivre’ will easily recognise typical Carmen District landmarks that appear, although somewhat disguised in the film, such as the Plaza del Tossal, El Café de Sant Jaume, el Cafetín, el Estanco, el Marrasquino or la Relojería Grau (the watch shop), all of which are bunched together in a very small area. The Café San Jaume with its little, tree-shaded square is a very popular spot for Valencians to sit outside and read a novel or newspaper, or dream of Parisian life in the 1920s.

Various locations in Alicante province were used, including Alcoy (in and around Calle José), Altea (in whose port five old fashioned boats and their owners were brought up the coast from Torrevieja), Playa Racó del Conill, Ibi and Novelda (where the Modernist museum of Novelda provided a sought after 1920s bourgeois house).

Merche, who is in charge of the museum, informed us that filming took place in the cloister, the ballroom and the dining room, and that furniture was brought in from Paris.

In Villajoyosa a Valencian tiling company, Tejas Borja, was contracted to provide authentic roof tiles for the house where actors Carmen Maura, Jack Huston, Mena Suvary and Caterina Murino played out some of their scenes.

In the city of Alicante itself, filming took place around the Patronato de Cultura (which was converted into a liquor factory), and the Plaza Santa Faz, which purports to be a square in Cannes.

Further south in Murcia province, Archena also offered its delights as did Los Alcazares, where the historic Hotel Encarnacion was transformed into a 1920s French Riviera hotel, ‘Des Voyageurs.’

Deception (2008)

This thriller with Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor uses Madrid for some sections, including the Plaza Mayor (the last scene with the crane’s-eye view), the Circulo de Bellas Artes and the Cibeles square, with its famous fountain, in which Real Madrid supporters traditionally celebrate their triumphs.

In the film the colour and architectural curves of Madrid offer a positive contrast to ‘impersonal’ New York, (all straight lines and dark colours), although the researchers must have been distracted when they shot a scene in a bank called Banco Nacional de San Sebastián.

When the would-be bank thieves enter the bank, they are in fact entering the Instituto Cervantes in Calle Alcalá 49, and behind them can be seen (ironically?) the underground stop of Banco de España. The inside of the bank however is not only a different building, but on a different continent; in New York in fact.

The shooting of Hugh Jackman takes place in the Paseo de Recoletos, designed at the end of the 18th century by architect José de Hermosilla on the orders of King Carlos III, most well-known in Spain for his appearance on the label of a very fine brandy.

The name ‘Recoletos’ comes from an old convent of Augustinian Recoleto friars built in 1592 in the area.

Recoletos

If we’re going to be strictly honest, the last scene with Ewan McGregor crossing the Plaza Mayor is a sham; not only is the character in it a stand-in, but the stand-in wasn’t really there either, replaced by a digital insert.

Little Ashes (2008)

The 1920s were one of the highlights of Spanish culture, and in this Spanish version of ‘Brideshead Revisited’ we are told the story of three of its most significant protagonists; painter Salvador Dalí, poet Federico García Lorca and filmmaker Luis Buñuel.

It was made largely in Cadaqués, Girona, and in various locations in Barcelona, such as Paseig Circunvalació, Calle St. Pere Mitjà, Teatre Llantiol, Escola Sant Lluc, Calle Marquesa and Calle Duana, Barcelona’s bullring (where Lorca chats with his would-be girlfriend), Poble Espanyol and Parc de la Ciutadella.

Dalí and Lorca spend an idyllic summer at Cadaqués, and we see the naughty students stealing bicycles from hard-working flat-capped peasants outside the village church and riding them past the strange, rock formations down to the beach around Cap de Creus.

Cadaqués

There are also brief interludes when Lorca visits his native Granada, and we can see the pastoral tranquillity of the area and a brief twilight shot of the Alhambra Palace.

The twilight tranquillity is of course briefly ruffled when Lorca is taken out and shot.

Speaking of ‘twilight,’ Dalí is played by none other than blood-sucking Robert Pattison, the only Briton in a completely Spanish cast.

Although located in Barcelona, Casa Burés was used in the film as the student residence where the three great figures lived in Madrid. It is situated on the corner of Calle Ausiàs March and Calle Girona.

Simón Andreu plays Fernando de Valle this time.

The film is named after a Dalí painting: ‘Cenicitas.’

Unnatural Causes (2008)

An American couple who work in advertising get involved in deception (subtle eh?)

We see them in the first scene making an ad in front of the impressive facade of Barcelona’s Palacio Nacional, now the MNAC art museum, on the Montjuïc mountain.

The meetings between Colm Meaney and his accomplice, a corrupt policeman, take place at a viewpoint also on Montjuïc overlooking the port of Barcelona.

The climax, where Meaney and his man get their comeuppance and Julia escapes death on a clifftop, was shot at the impressive meseta, known as El Puig de les Baumes, at Tavaret, 100 kilometres from Barcelona.

The film stars Tara Reid as Julia and Angus Macfadyen as her talented but doomed husband, drinking his way in and out of the snake pit.

Black Forest Gateau (2008)

A bunch of British expatriates decide to pull the perfect crime (no doubt after one too many gin and tonics) in a home made product starring local people and filmed around Fuengirola and Mijas in Málaga province.

The opening scene in a post-office was shot at El Coto, Mijas, despite the bad weather.

The Twisted Tale of Bloody Mary (2008)

A low budget film telling the story of Queen Mary with a documentary flavour. Mostly filmed in Britain, but with an exotic Spanish location, the famous Alcázar Castle of Segovia, which we see in a long shot once Mary has decided to marry Prince Felipe, while he has his doubts, unhappily debating the question with an advisor in the Throne Room.

Ser o Estar (2008)

A young American tries to resolve his mental problems in Spain, where people are merely quixotic.

Filming took place in Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, where Andy arrives looking for solace in the home town of Cervantes, as well as Barcelona, Dos Hermanas, Sevilla and Toledo.

The title loses a lot in translation.

Donkey Punch (2008)

Although this boating version of ‘I Know what you did Last Summer’ is set in Mallorca, the sequence when the girls are in the cab was filmed on the Costa del Sol, as illustrated by the road sign for Belamadena and Torremuel in Málaga, province.

The El Escorial Conspiracy (2008)

Despite being a Spanish production, the film was made in English, with some obvious dubbing of some of the Spanish actors.

As the title suggests, many interiors and exteriors were filmed in the royal Escorial palace, just outside Madrid, including the library and throne room.

Also near Madrid, the old Monastery of Talamanca de Jarama, now privately owned and used in many films, is the scenario of the assassination at the beginning.

Filming also took place in Segovia, at the Alcázar Castle and La Granja royal summer palace, as well as the forest of Valsaín, where the Constable meets the Moorish girl, who is washing clothes in the stream.

In the square outside Toledo cathedral we see the execution of the Moorish servant girl and the Tavera Hospital is also used there, for the scenes where Julia Ormonde practises her fencing skills in the cloister, as were the Puerta de Bisagra (the emblematic town gate, where the King’s Treasurer is assassinated), and the Town Hall Square (Plaza del Ayuntamiento).

Bisagra Gate

The province of Jaén also lent some architecture to the film, including Jaén’s Arab baths, the Sierra de Cazorla mountain range (whose lake features in the picnic between the Constable and the Moorish girl), and the Plaza Vázquez de Molina of Úbeda, where the Princess of Eboli, played by Julia Ormond, is arrested.

In Baeza the area around the Cathedral and the Palacio de Jabalquinto appear.

Some scenes were shot in Ciudad Real at the Alvaro de Bazan Palace and in the streets of Viso de Marqués.

In Guadalajara the Monastery of Lupiana was used.

The Crew (2008)

Stephen Salter of Benchmark Films informed us that the section of the film made in Spain was shot at Comares near Málaga, although most of the action takes place in Liverpool, where the crew execute their robberies.

The leader of the crew is ripped off by a smooth-talking couple who take his money and flee to a luxurious villa called Villa Tesoro (Treasure), which is also available for rent to non-criminals, infinity edge swimming pool included.

In the last scene the Crew leader arrives at the villa to exact his revenge as the honey sunlight of Spain contrasts with the grim atmosphere of Liverpool. The spectacular views of olive groves do not seem to distract him as he ambles towards the unsuspecting smoothies.

The owners assure us that in fact an insignificant number of their tenants get whacked in a good year.

Reflections (2008)

Timothy Hutton stars in another Barcelona-based thriller by director Brian Goeres. This time a serial killer called ‘Pygmalion’ brings police officer Hutton to the Catalan capital.

Among the locations used were Edificio Fira (Trade Fair) of Barcelona, Forum Barcelona and the Port D’aiguadolç marina in Sitges, where Hutton is informed of Marco’s abduction.

The building with the cloister where Elena works is in fact the Universidad de Barcelona situated in the Plaça Universitat.

There were also various aerial shots both of Barcelona and Ibiza.

Stevie (2008)

Stevie is that ‘imaginary friend’ that most girls grow out of in time, although sometimes he won’t go away without a fight.

All the special effects are there to confuse us as the truth emerges through a series of flashbacks. Before that we can enjoy a haunted sink, a talking fridge and rebellious taps, not to mention a moody doll’s house where Barbie and Ken don’t always get on.

This is one of a number of films shot by American director Bryan Goeres in and around Barcelona.

According to Francesca Ibáñez of Drimtim Entertainment most of the film was shot inside and outside a house in Begues, Barcelona, with other scenes in Valldoreix, in the Port Olimpic de Barcelona, in the Torre Mapfre of Barcelona, in Sant Just Desvern, in the Hotel Hesperia Tower in Barcelona, the Hotel AC Diplomàtic de Pau Clarís in Barcelona, the Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona, which represents the orphanage where the mother finds out some of her daughter’s past, and in Can Cabanelles (Mataró).

Other scenes were filmed in boring old LA.

Sing For Darfur (2008)

Shot during October and November 2007 in Barcelona in black and white, the film tries to send a message about the human disaster in Darfur, relating it to the lives of ordinary people.

Plaza Catalunya is one of the locations.

Goodnight Irene (2008)

This Portuguese film was made mostly in Lisbon, but becomes a road movie when widowed Welsh ex-pat Alex, played by Robert Pugh, sets off with a friend to find Irene.

Their travels take them across the border to Cáceres and the old Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia, built in the second century BC on the coast of Cádiz.

Telstar: the Joe Meek Story (2008)

Telstar was a massive hit in the 60s, although the story behind it is far from glamorous.

Con O’Neill and Kevin Spacey star in a film made mostly in London but with a Spanish cameo when Joe escapes to Mallorca (or at least that’s what he says in the meeting afterwards) to cavort on a beach to the music of one of his hits, ‘Have I the Right’ by The Honeycombs.

My Life in Ruins (2009)

The Plaza Adolfo Suárez in Jávea, Alicante became a Greek market for this light comedy, the (sort of) follow up to ‘My Fat Greek Wedding,’ but only in the sense that it’s the same female lead, this time playing a discontented tour guide.

Although the whole film is supposed to be set in Greece, and some of the country’s best attractions, such as Olympia, Delphi and the Parthenon are used, most of the more interesting scenes, such as coach crashes and ice cream stains, take place in Spain.

The Plaza de España in Alicante had to be closed to traffic for three days, and for two days the production team were to be found in Calle Óscar Esplá, where they took over Bar Michelle, in front of the El Piripi restaurant, and calle de Calderón de la Barca became Katia Neokaeovz.

At one point where the tourists can be seen looking down from a beautiful viewpoint, they are in fact at the village of Guadalest, situated just inland from Benidorm. It is here that Nia attempts an ice cream reconciliation with Richard Dreyfus, who is looking down at the reservoir while two tourists act macho in and around a fountain.

Unfortunately, as Guadalest is supposed to be Greece, we don’t get to see any of its eight museums (the one with the medieval torture instruments is my personal favourite) or its startling 13th century hilltop castle, which has been destroyed by earthquakes and artillery fire during its lively past. Not bad for a village with just over 200 inhabitants!

The tour bus traffic accident was actually shot in the mountains of Sierra Gelada, near Alfás del Pí, and as the driver stands on the cliffs by a ruined watchtower, which is the Torre de les Caletes, waiting for the tow truck and talking philosophy to Nia, we can see the landmark, Peacock Island, in the background, situated in the Bay of Benidorm, and named for its shape.

The promenade of Altea, where a nocturnal scene in an idyllic ‘Greek’ port was filmed, is another popular resort on the Costa Blanca with a delightful medieval hilltop square filled with restaurants and bars with impressive views of the sea. As it is the port that is used for the purposes of the film, we only get to see the hilltop in the background in the last scene when Nia finally kisses the now beardless bus driver, which is apparently the whole point of the film, despite the incursions into culture.

When Nia and her tourists steal Nico’s keys and air conditioning, the coaches are parked in front of the the seafront Hotel Miramar in the port of Javea.

The hospital where Richard Dreyfus recovers from his heart attack is the Hospital Clinica of Benidorm, although it is not usually included in most tours.

1,300 local extras were employed on the project, as well as one ghost. Richard Dreyfus’s dead wife was played glowingly by the film’s producer Rita Wilson, who is Tom Hanks’ real life wife.

Green Zone (2009)

No doubt their favourable impressions of Spain while making ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ led Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass back here in January 2008.

Some scenes were filmed at Fuente Álamo, Murcia, in an area where a new motorway was being built. The exact location was at a section of the new Alhama to Cartagena motorway near the Venta El Campo.

It was here that the scene of an American convoy driving under an overpass comes across crowds fleeing Baghdad in a panic

Also in Murcia Las Alcázares offered its old military airbase for shooting. The base, situated to the south of the town, also allowed the film crew to use the local football stadium to store their material and set up their canteen.

Here the scenes representing the exterior of the Republican Guard and Mukhabarat intelligence headquarters were filmed, although the interiors of the palace were done at Freemason’s Hall, Covent Garden.

San Javier military base, academy and airport in Murcia were similarly used to represent the relative security of the Green Zone of post-war Baghdad. Many of the extras were in fact Spanish soldiers, who attended a casting held at the Hotel Los Narejos in Los Alcázares. The Spanish army also lent a large number of military vehicles to the production team.

During the months of January, February and March 2008 Matt Damon and his family stayed in the Royal Suite of La Manga Club Hotel, enjoying the views of El Mar Menor, a 22 kilometre long lagoon next to the coast.

To bid farewell, Matt held a party for all the crew in a hotel bar and signed the visitors’ book in appreciation of the treatment received by the hotel staff.

The Limits of Control (2009)

The Limits of Control by Jim Jarmusch, with Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and John Hurt was filmed in Almería, Madrid, Toledo and Sevilla.

The story begins in Paris, where the film’s hit man Isaach De Bankolé takes a plane to Madrid, and for his hideout there uses architect Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oíza’s ‘Torres Blancas,’ a bizarre apartment building that had fascinated Jarmusch for decades.

Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum was another scenario for the film; in fact our cultured hit man visits it several times, seemingly being fond of the Picassos, although we don’t get to see Picasso’s ‘Guernica,’ which is there.

The museum used to be a hospital for tuberculosis patients, and before that, a hospital built generously by King Felipe II as a place where beggars could go to expire.

 From 1965 the building underwent 20 years of abandon until the Ministry of Culture took it over.

In 1990 the mummified remains of three nuns were found during reforms, and many spectres have been seen or sensed, such as an old grey haired bearded man who sits on a bench in the garden, or voices on the staircase, although it is in the basement that most underworld phenomena are detected.

It is there that many poor souls were buried and soldiers tortured during the Civil War, and today it is avoided by security staff.

Bill Murray took advantage of a ten day break in filming to tour Sevilla on a bicycle, while staying at the luxurious Hotel Imperial in Calle Homónima. The Sevillian districts of Santa Cruz, La Judería and the Triana bridge offered their traditional atmospheres as locations.

Seville’s Torre de Oro (Tower of Gold) plays a special role, appearing several times in the background, and also being reproduced as a souvenir lamp in the hit man’s bedroom. It is a dodecagonal military watchtower built in the early 13th century by the Berbers to control access to Sevilla via the Guadalquivir River.

The Moorish Alcázar Palace can also be seen, or at least its battlements, behind the square where John Hurt has his meeting with the hit man.

Filming took place in Sevilla in March 2008, and some interiors were shot in buildings used for Sevilla’s Expo 1992. The hit man helps plug the Spanish High Speed Rail system (AVE) by travelling on its first line, built from Madrid to Sevilla.

Spain’s extensive wind farms also get plenty of plugging, no doubt as an oblique reference to Don Quixote, who our Bohemian guerrillas might be imitating in fighting corporate giants.

One Sevilla bar used for the film was El Faro de Triana. The riverside Muelle de la Sal and the Santa Justa railway station also appear briefly.

From Sevilla our message-eating hit man heads by train for Doña María Ocaña station in Almería, but just across the border from Granada province, to meet a cowboy and hand over a guitar.

The strange white house with the vertical garden inhabited briefly by Bill Murray, and where the bloody helicopter finally lands, is in fact on the outskirts of San José in Almería. Its use was recommended by Jarmusch’s friend, the late Joe Strummer of The Clash rock group, who used to pass by the house and think what a good location it would be for a film.

Triage (2009)

Colin Farrell stars as a war reporter, and Spanish star Paz Vega plays his girlfriend.

Christopher Lee returned to Alicante, where he had made two Dracula films previously.

Lee plays Vega’s Spanish grandfather, who collaborated with the Franco dictatorship after the Civil War, a period with its fair share of summary executions.

Apart from the studio scenes filmed at the City of Light Studios of Alicante, location shots were filmed at Xixona, famous for its almond trees and derivatives thereof, where a desert battle scene was filmed, and at Elche, a town famous for its palm trees. The producers went to Elche taking advantage of its rich verdant foliage to shoot the jungle scenes of Africa, while the beaches of Alicante recreated the decadence of old Beirut.

The Palmeral of Elche, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest palm grove in Europe and one of the largest in the world.

It is believed that the palms were originally planted as early as the 5th century BC by Carthaginians who settled in south-east Spain.

Another area of Alicante province used in the shooting was Sabinar Valley in Sant Vicent del Raspeig, which became the site of a hospital in Kurdistan.

Tetro (2009)

Shot mainly on location in Argentina, ‘Apocalypse Now’ director Francis Ford Coppola’s family drama also used the City of Light studio complex in Alicante, where the world famous director finished off the final scenes, particularly the ballet scenes during two weeks from September 8th.

Many Spanish actors participated, such as ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ star Maribel Verdu, and Carmen Maura.

Open Graves (2009)

Shot in and around the Basque Country surfing areas of Getxo, Mundaka and Sopelana in Vizcaya, and in Madrid. This horror version of ‘Jumanji’ stands out mostly because of the spectacular Basque coastline.

The port where the skinned corpse is found at the beginning is Bilbao, and the lumberyard where the massive Mamba attack takes place is at Álava Maderas.

One romantic scene takes place between horrific murders at the seaside church of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, just west of Bermeo, with its winding path reaching up to the church perched on a promontory, just like the one in the wedding scene of ‘Mama Mia.’ It later became a popular screen tourism site after representing ‘Dragonstone’ in Game of Thrones.

The Santa Catalina church above the rocks at Mundaka can also be seen during some surfing scenes.

The Frost (2009)

A joint Spanish-Norwegian effort based on an Ibsen play, ‘Little Eyolf,’ and filmed in Norway and in Norwegian conditions in the Pyrenees, specifically at the spectacular Aigüestortes Natural Park in Lleida province.

Linguistically the film is quite interesting and informative; the Norweigans speak to each other in Norweigan (or at least I suppose that’s what all that noise was), the Spanish and Norwegians speak English to each other and the Spanish speak to each other in Spanish.

Norway is the main setting, although for the mountain scenes involving individuals wandering around and discovering naked bodies in the snow, Aigüestortes was used during a week of filming.

Filming also took place at Gijón in Asturias, for the brief scene at the end when Raúl receives the package and opens it on the seaside prom there.

Ibsen is not the most cheerful of writers and this version hardly radiates joy and well-being. If the cinema is pure escapism, then where can we go to escape from this?

Paintball (2009)

Spain has produced some great painters; Dalí, Picasso, Velázquez, to name but three. None of them appear in this film however.

Those of you who like strolling under a wide canopy of tall trees, enjoying the swishing sway of the branches, could do worse than to visit Collselora in Barcelona province, where they are no longer shooting this film, and where nobody is shooting anybody else anymore.

You could also enjoy Can Catà in the wild forested mountains of Cerdanyola del Valles, without the inconvenience of being hunted down and shot any longer.

Fresh air, flora, fauna, shooting people; the perfect weekend really.

The Damned United (2009)

Is it Tony Blair? Is it David Frost? No, this time Michael Sheen is playing somebody interesting; none other than Brian Clough, described in the film and many places north of Watford as the best manager England never had.

The film concentrates on his brief love affair with Leeds (as in ‘Damned’) United, and he can be seen in the film, as in real life, arguing with Peter Taylor with the crystalline waters of Mallorca as the background, on the Palma Nova beach in front of the Santa Lucia Hotel.

The real argument actually took place there, and in fact Taylor would die on the island years later (although most tourists have a jolly nice time and fatalities are rare).

The Third Testament: The Antichrist and the Harlot (2009)

See the world and change the world! A globe trotting film with stop offs at Menorca, where filming took place at sea, whereas the resort of Torremolinos (Málaga), was used for the scene where Felix encounters Asuka.

Information provided by writer/director Ali Paterson.

Nothing Personal (2009)

Although set mostly on the west coast of Ireland, the film ends up at Vejer de la Frontera, Cádiz, where the film’s enigmatic heroine goes for no apparent reason after sulking through the film to no apparent purpose.

If you thought existential angst died out in the seventies, here it is again in all its excruciating splendour.

Vejer is probably a nice place, although all we get to see is a beach, a typical winding uphill, downhill street and a hotel reception and bedroom.

Watching this with the sound off might make it bearable as the Irish scenery is quite nice.

My Last Five Girlfriends (2009)

A bit like ‘Hi-Fidelity’ plot-wise with a cameo appearance by Michael (how did he get so famous so fast?) Sheen.

When the narrator commits suicide in the first scene, you can be sure of two things; that there won’t be a happy ending, and that there will be quite a few flashbacks.

Actually only one of those certainties is true.

The two scenes in Mallorca, where our hero spends brief, sunsetting, Spanish getaways with both Wendy and Jemma, were apparently shot at Producer David Willing’s villa, proving that making a film isn’t such an unprofitable business if you’re a producer.

An interesting use of toys and dream sequences; although that might have been thrift too.

The Lost (2009)

Nothing to do with planes crashing on desert islands with polar bears, but a Spanish production in English set and shot in Barcelona and directed once again by the city’s greatest fan Bryan Goeres.

A woman misdiagnosed, or not, a desperate sister, or not, and a blackmailed doctor who flies into Barcelona airport to save his reputation.

Among the patient’s nightmare flashbacks is the maze of Parc del Laberint d’Horta, where a house burns down.

Other locations were the salt caves of Cardona, the Barceloneta district near the port and the docks of Barcelona, Montjuïc, Capellades, the Museu d’Història de Catalunya and the secondary school IES Vall D’Hebrón.

Original (2009)

A Scandinavian film in which two characters from the cold north descend upon Barcelona to open a restaurant, looking for sun, sand, sangria and tapas.

English is one of various languages employed.

Just Shy of Being (2009)

Romeo and Juliet in the Holy Land with a Jewish girl and Arab boy trying to make the famous ‘it’ work.

Some of the filming took place in Spain.

Justice/Vengeance/Iron Cross (2009)

Roy Scheider’s last film was mainly shot in Poland, but with a couple of minor scenes, involving an orchard of medlars and a donkey farm located at Tàrbena, Alicante, although supposedly in South America, where Nazis habitually hide from their vengeance seeking victims.