Extremadura can be considered an authentic film set . The excellent state of preservation of the Historic Heritage, combined with the conditions of the natural environment attracts the attention of movie producer worldwide. For example, during the last five months three television productions have anchored in the region. Two of them are major international super-productions that are coming by the hand of television chains as prestigious as ABC and HBO.
Silence … filming in Extremadura
In recent weeks Cáceres has become the capital of the sun set: The landing of the King in Game of Thrones, also for XVI century Verona in the television series Still Star Crossed and for the middle ages of the XIV Century recreating the history of Cathedral of the Sea.
Three film shootings have overlapped in the calendar and these will give international impact to the streets and the monuments of Caceres, but also to other historic scenarios such as Plasencia and Trujillo and to natural corners like the natural monument of Barruecos in Malpartida de Cáceres.
To see them on film we will have to wait until the television series are aired. These are scenarios that have given life in fiction to love affairs, betrayals, brawls and battles. Meanwhile we can go to the places that have been part of these films, series and documentaries in Extremadura. Here there is no need for props or stone board because the sets are real, like life itself.
Series with historical flavor like Isabel, Charles V or Hispania also choose Extremadura
The imposing historical legacy of Extremadura has allowed historical production to take advantage of the region. The Spanish series Isabel needed two different shooting occasions in Extremadura, at the lands of Cáceres. The Plaza of Santa María, the plaza of San Mateo, the narrow passages of the wall, the Arco de la Estrella (Arc of the Star), the Palace of Carvajal, the street of the Amargura, the Gardens of the Ulloa, or the Church of Saint John in Cáceres can be easily identified in the series. Also, the Castle of Trujillo and the façade of the Cathedral of Plasencia can be spotted.
The life of Emperor Charles V has also been taken to a television series and the crew filmed the last days of the life of the Emperor at the Monastery of Yuste. The actual place were the monarch died.
Presently, La Vera is also the set for the filming of a documentary that is about Carlos V, Roads of the Emperor in Extremadura.
To visit la Vera is to immerse oneself in the Roman Empire. The Spanish television chain Antena Tres produced a series called Hispania, the Legend, with natural scenarios at Torremenga, Jaraíz de la Vera or Cuacos in Yuste.
The very first shooting, with Buñuel at Las Hurdes
Extremadura is now fashionable as a movie scenario, especially since the Extremadura Film Commission started promotion the region as a movie location since 2008. However, much earlier in 1932 the region was already in the spotlight of filmmakers and producers. Luis Buñuel filmed his famous documentary called Las Hurdes, tierra sin pan (The Hurdes, a land without bread). It was the first time the floodlights came to the region to portray a reality that was uncharted at the time and the natural landscapes of that time remain the same today. Touring the farmhouses and the steep mountains of the Hurdes, as Buñuel and his team, is with-in the possibility of any interested person.
From Alain Delon to Ridley Scott to La Lozana Andaluza to The Celestina to Saint Teresa de Jesús, all went through a set in Extremadura
Alain Delon dazzled everyone from Cáceres with his film The Back Tulip, which in 1964 turned the Capital city historic monumental city into revolutionary France, being the first major movie production done in the region. After, came others like the Lords of Steel who also shot the old town in 1984
This same corner of Extremadura was converted into Rome of the XVI Century, thanks to the director Vicente Escrivá, director of the film La lozana andaluza.
Ridley Scott director of Alien and Blade Runner, stirred up the city of Cáceres during the production of Kingdom of Heaven in 2005. Cáceres then became the Granada of Columbus and the British filmmaker was the first guest of the Hotel Quinto Centenario.
The streets and the religious buildings of Cáceres were once again dressed, as they became the scenario for The Celestina, filmed in 1996. The stars of the film were two young actors: Juan Diego Botto and Penelope Cruz.
Cáceres returned in 2005 to the XVI Century, under the director Ray Loriga, who filmed Paz Vega as the star of the film based on the life of Santa Teresa de Jesús. The streets of Cáceres and the church of Santa Ana in Trujillo were some of the scenarios.
Rural scenarios that were designed for Joselito or The Santos Inocentes in Extremadura
The Monastery of Guadalupe, its cloister, its sacristy and its main façade and a thousand other scenarios in Extremadura were the witnesses of the songs of Joselito, in his mythical film El Pequeño Ruiseñor, and that was back in 1956. Mario Camus narrated in 1984 the hard story of The Santos Inocentes at the farm of Zajarrón in Albuquerque, Zafra and Mérida. Camus was able to capture with his camera the special light of a pastureland in Extremadura, during autumn.
The end of Átame in Granadilla
An other film Átame, was able to evidence the rural society of Spain while showing scenarios of Extremadura. This film was first exhibited in the Astoria Theater of Cáceres in 1988. The famous Spanish film director, Pedro Almodovar, also chose the land of Cáceres for one of his films. We are talking about Átame, starring Antonio Banderas and Victoria Abril. The end of the film gives us a spectacular view of Granadilla and the Gabriel and Galan Reservoir and the Extremadura pasturelands.
Films setting in Extremadura
Not only period films have been produced in Extremadura, but also films that occur in our present time. Many films have been set in modern Extremadura, entirely in our cities. Without going any further the film Personal Guarantee, a recent production, was set in Extremadura, entirely filmed in Plasencia, Hervás and the Valley of Ambroz. This film has just started its distribution.
Also, recently, the film nominated for the Goya Un novio para Yasmina was entirely filmed in Extremadura. We can see many of the streets of the city of Cáceres in the different scenarios.
The Spanish director Juana Macías elected Cáceres as the only stage for her recent movie Planes para mañana. As we watch the film we can see recognizable places in the city, such as the Paseo Canovas and the Kiosko de Música. The film obtained an important recognition at the Goyas: the best novice actress for Aura Garrido.
The magic of the movies has touched Extremadura from north to south and form east to west. At the movies we can see, live and enjoy this magic.
Original article by Ainhoa Miguel
Translated by Susana Windt
Published on December 2016