Today, Barcelona is at center-stage in the movie market, for both world-renown actors as well as prestigious directors of international prestige. Proof of that is the great many films that have used the city of Barcelona for a set.
The first film to show the city was Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger (1975), starring Jack Nicholson and the wonderful Maria Schneider. The movie catches glimpses of the streetcars of the period, as well as the terrace of la Pedrera, with its chimneys and ‘characteristic’ shapes, quite different from how it is today.
The film that put Barcelona in style was the 7th-art film All About My Mother (1999), directed by Pedro Almodóvar. It marked the first time the director filmed in Barcelona, capturing the city’s natural essence. The film stars Penelope Cruz and Cecilia Roth.
Previously, and far removed from the current cine-mania, Uncovered (1994), from Director Jim McBride, was filmed in Barcelona. A cinematic adaptation of the novel of the same name by Author Arturo Pérez-Reverte, the movie stars Kate Beckinsale, and artfully features the architecture in the Ciudad Condal, particularly, that of Gaudí.
Another recent filming was that of The Machinist (2004), directed by Brad Anderson and with world-renowned film stars including Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and the Spanish Atiana Sánchez Gijón. The film features gorgeous sets from the city of Barcelona, including exterior shots of the Port and the Tibidabo Amusement Park.
In 2005, Fragile, from Spanish Director Jaume Balagueró, presented a horror story filmed in Barcelona and set in the Mercy Falls Children’s Hospital. The film features popular TV star Calista Flockhart and other famous actors, among them, Richard Roxburgh and Elena Anaya.
But Barcelona had to wait until just last year to serve as the set for a major, big-budget Hollywood motion picture– Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006), a cinematic adaptation of the best-seller of the same name by German author Patrick Süskind. Directed by Tom Tykwer and adapted by screenwriter Andrew Birkin, the film stars actors Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman.
The filming of The Perfume went on in rather emblematic parts of the city, particularly featuring the Barrio Gótico and el Pueblo Español (central plaza). Set in the 18th century, the film involved the participation of about 5 thousand extras, while more complex scenes were choreographed by Fura dels Baus Theatre Co.
The top movie-making special event starred Woody Allen, who pays tribute to Barcelona in his latest film: Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona. The film features the wonderful Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. Among the spots Woody most traversed were: the Columbus monument, the Maremagnum commercial center, the Maritime Club, the Barceloneta neighborhood, Pla de Palau, the Sagrada Familia, the striking Santa María del Mar church, Montcada Street, the Picasso Museum, Las Ramblas, and the old city altogether.
Barcelona…. Action! | Barcelona Movie Walks.
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