A Movie Buff's Guide To Barcelona

CCCB Barcelona / © Alejandra Palés / Flickr
CCCB Barcelona / © Alejandra Palés / Flickr
Photo of Anna Paul
4 November 2016

Barcelona hosts an impressive spectrum of film festivals, cinemas and events which are sure to satisfy every celluloid thirst. Perhaps you’re just longing to hear a film in a familiar tongue, or maybe you want to transcend your ordinary film-watching experience, or broaden your filmic horizons: whatever you need, this city has you sorted.

Sitges Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantàstic de Catalunya (Sitges Film Festival)

Sitges | © Jose Ramirez / Flickr
Sitges Film Festival has positioned itself as one of the most prominent film festivals in the continent and one of the largest fantasy and horror film festivals in the world. You’d never guess that idyllic Sitges could play host to an array of gore and fantasy, but this festival defies the odds. Despite its objectively niche appeal, there’s something for everyone in its typically diverse and exciting line-up. And, if it all gets too much for you then you can escape from all of the fantasy in the appealing reality of Sitges’ sandy beaches. Runs October 7-16.

L’Alternativa, Festival de Cinema Independent de Barcelona (The Barcelona Independent Film Festival)

The L’Alternativa, Festival de Cinema Independent de Barcelonais run in collaboration with the CCCB and funded by the Catalonian government. Like most independent film festivals, you are unlikely to be familiar with the line-up, and the screenings can be a little hit or miss. But such is the pleasure of smaller festivals and there’s an unrivalled amount of satisfaction to be found in the small screens of the CCCB when you stumble across a gem. One for winter, it runs from the 16th-22nd November

CCCB, Carrer de Montalegre, 5, Barcelona, Spain, +34 933 06 41 00

Mecal, Barcelona International Short And Animation Film Festival

Unlike many other festivals, Mecal spans across just over three weeks, allowing you to be leisurely with your festival schedule. The lineup is international and varied; with an array of kids pictures, music videos, animations and shorts, the programme is sure to satisfy all needs and doesn’t cater exclusively to a solely cinephile elite (as many smaller festivals do). It has its very own competition categories, so be sure to check out the contenders and pick your favorite! Runs March 10 until April 3.

Carrer del Clot, 33, Barcelona, Spain, +34 932 47 03 53

FilmoTeca de Catalunya

Theater, Concert Hall, Building
Filmoteca de Catalunya
Filmoteca de Catalunya | © laumaceiro/ Flickr
The Filmoteca is a stone’s throw away from Rambla del Raval and is the perfect spot to escape the city and immerse yourself in another world, at an extremely modest cost. The government funded Filmoteca has a varied program but it largely screens older films, from classics to forgotten auteurs, and previous-season festival contenders. All movies are in original language with Spanish subtitles, which is good for a bit of language training on the side, as well as general comprehension. Take a gander in the gift-store and get lost in discussions about the film in the adjoining bar until the early hours.

Renoir Floridablanca

In Barcelona, it can be hard to find original language movies, which makes the Renoir Floridablanca a welcome sight to expat eyes. Its programming is good and it’s a perfect go-to cinema for new releases as well as slightly lesser known titles. Located in the residential area San Antoni district, the cinema is central, but off-the-beaten-track enough to dodge the crowds and tourists of Las Ramblas.

Renoir Floridablanca, C/Floridablanca, 135, Barcelona, Spain +34 932 28 93 93

Cines Verdi

Cinema, Theater
Cines Verdi is an unassuming-looking theater, in Barcelona’s hip Gracia area, which screens a choice selection of international art-house and independent films in their original language. On Mondays, admission is cheaper so it’s a perfect remedy for those Monday blues. The only glitch is: if you want to see the latest South Korean genre bender, then you’ll have to sharpen up on your Spanish to read the subtitles. Perhaps this is a benefit or perhaps the latter should be taken for granted – either way, this cinema is a perfect hideaway to lose a few hours of any day.

Barcelona Movie Walks

Sometimes on those sun-drenched days, you don’t want to sit inside a dark cinema. So why not take a tour of the locations of your favorite movies in Barcelona? This one is for the self-motivated as it’s not run by an organization or company. Instead the aptly named website, Barcelona de Pelicula, conveniently pins various locations on Google Maps from films shot in Barcelona. Want to see the hotspots of Barcelona which feature in Almodovar‘s movies, or maybe you want to find the wine gardens of Woody Allen‘s Barcelona? Click on the the movie title, mark your route and grab your sunglasses.

Barcelona / | © adriagarcia / Flickr

Sala Montjuic

Can you think of anything more dreamy than watching a perfectly selected movie, enjoyed al-fresco, accompanied by a live orchestra, all whilst overlooking the city of Barcelona? No? We didn’t think so! The indoor festivals are perfect for those chillier days but in summer, Sala Montjuic is where it’s at. The festival runs on July 1st to August 5th but tickets tend to sell out quickly so don’t hang around. Check out their website here to see this year’s screenings.

Sala Monjuic / | © Andrea Ciambra / Flickr

Polaroid Bar

Polaroid Bar, tucked away in Bario Gotic is a bit of a gem, frozen in time. Expect friendly locals and tourists alike, watching movies on the overhead projector to the soundtrack of familiar 80s rock and feel-good classics. The bar is lively and even if you don’t fancy watching what’s on display, the inexpensive but well mixed drinks and plethora of free popcorn is sure to keep you happy. The bar is decorated with movie posters from across the spectrum as well as kitsch trinkets and it leaves the distinct impression that 2015 has been firmly left behind at the door. This is Hollywood in the 80s, baby, and we like it!

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