Perhaps one of the most popular films to be set in Spain is Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, starring Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall and Penélope Cruz. The movie follows two friends on holiday in Barcelona who fall for the same painter, however things quickly get complicated when his ex-wife Maria Elena shows up. Featuring some of the city’s most famous sites, parts of the movie were filmed at Gaudí’s La Pedrera, Park Güell and Sagrada Familia, as well as at the Parc de la Ciutadella and Las Ramblas.
Guillermo del Toro’s nightmarish film, set just after the Spanish Civil War, depicts the countryside of Navarra, the autonomous region in the north of Spain sandwiched between the Basque Country and Castilla-La Mancha. It follows the story of Ofelia, a little a girl who moves to an old mill with her pregnant, sickly mother and rebel-hunting army captain stepfather. It’s in this new setting that Ofelia discovers a stone labyrinth, at the centre of which she meets a faun who sets her a number of challenging tasks.
This film may not be as famous as Vicky Cristina Barcelona, however you’ll see much more of the city of Barcelona in L’Auberge Espagnole. The story follows a group of Erasmus students from around Europe who all live together in a flat in Barcelona. One of its most famous scenes is set at the top of Gaudí’s Parc Güell, looking out over the whole city.
Set in the windy province of La Mancha, director Pedro Almodóvar’s place of birth, Volver (meaning to ‘go back’ in Spanish) tells the tale of an eccentric family of women. Sisters Raimunda and Sole return to their home village of Alcanfor de las Infantas for the funeral of their aunt. While there, Sole discovers that the ghost of their dead mother Irene has come back to Earth. The film won Best Actress (shared by all six main actresses) and Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival 2006, while Penélope Cruz, who plays Raimunda, was also nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars.
This film tells the story of a grieving father (Martin Sheen) who sets out to walk Spain’s Camino de Santiago in the place of his son (Emilio Estevez) who died while trekking it. Set in the provinces of the Basque Country and Galicia, it features stunning cinematography highlighting Spain’s landscapes, as well as providing an interesting storyline of each of the characters Sheen meets en route.
Set on the beautiful island of Formentera, the smallest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, Lucia y El Sexo stars Paz Vega – who also starred in the Adam Sandler movie Spanglish – while the island’s iconic Cabo de Berbería lighthouse also plays an important role in the movie. A story of complicated relationships and interwoven lives, it follows the tale of a waitress, Lucia, who falls in love with a writer, Lorenzo. When Lorenzo goes missing, Lucia flees to the mysterious island of Formentera, a place Lorenzo had often spoken about, where she will eventually face her boyfriend’s past.