An incredible trip to Almodóvar’s Spain
EL DESEO, D.A., S.L.U. Foto: Teresa Isasi
Still from the film 'All About My Mother'
A world-famous filmmaker. Winner of two Oscars and the creator of a brazen universe that has revolutionised Spain’s image. We are talking about film director Pedro Almodóvar. Here we suggest a great idea: to discover the places in Spain that he used as the setting for his films. Try to recognise the streets from films like “Volver”. Welcome to an amazing route.
If you are a film fan, then you will love the route we suggest here. Discovering “Almodóvar’s Spain” means getting to know a different side of Spain where reality and fiction become one, and where cemeteries and traditional neighbourhoods have fundamental importance. Follow in the footsteps of this film director from the Region of his birth, Castile-La Mancha, to Madrid and Barcelona, the cities that saw him become an established artist.
Castile-La Mancha, birthplace of the director
Pedro Almodóvar was born in this area of inland Spain and, as he himself has stated, was marked by “the red land, the yellow fields, the ash-green olive groves and the patios, full of life”. This very traditional lifestyle will captivate you when you go there and see the cobbled streets and vivid colours. Furthermore, throughout the province of Ciudad Real you will find a route designed in tribute to the director. This route begins in Puertollano, whose Municipal Auditorium hosted the première of the film “Volver”, and where you can also visit the Mining Museum and La Asunción Church.
36 kilometres from there you come to Calzada de Calatrava, where the filmmaker was born. Don’t miss Pedro Almodóvar Park, the Rafael Serrano Cultural centre (an old cinema that Almodóvar went to as a child, now home to the “Pedro Almodóvar Caballero” Cultural Film Association) and a 19th-century hall where local residents go to watch the Oscars ceremony.
The journey now continues to Granátula de Calatrava, 11 kilometres away. Here you will find the cemetery that features in the opening scene of “Volver”. The final stop, and one of the most beautiful, is Almagro, 12 kilometres further on. In its Plaza Mayor Square, Almodóvar found a typical house with patio that he used to locate one of the houses in “Volver”, just a few metres from another, where “The Flower of my Secret” was filmed. Another anecdote? Calle Federico Relimpio Street appears in a scene with a funeral procession in “Volver”. After enjoying these “settings”, don’t forget to visit Almagro’s beautiful, 17th century Theatre and the typical mansion buildings of its Barrio Noble neighbourhood.
Madrid, confirmation of an artist
Besides the land of his birth, if there is one place linked to Almodóvar’s films it is Madrid, which he has depicted combining tradition and the Avant-garde. There is no pre-established route to follow in Almodóvar’s footsteps in the city, as there are hundreds of settings to be found, so we would recommend you choose the places that interest you most. If you like the traditional neighbourhoods, old, narrow streets and balconies that feature in films like “Talk to Her”, then visit the Rastro area (whose street market was so well depicted by Almodóvar in “Labyrinth of Passion”), the Antón Martín district or La Almudena cemetery.
However, in “Almodóvar’s Madrid” you will also come to some of the capital’s most important locations and monuments. The Gran Vía and its characteristic illuminated signs, as featured in “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”, the beautiful Plaza Mayor Square where one of his characters dances in “The Flower of my Secret” and Puerta de Alcalá Gate, which features in the opening of “Live Flesh”. These are some of the best examples.
Don’t forget that while Madrid appears in most of Almodóvar’s films, the director was also attracted to Barcelona (in Catalonia) for his Oscar-winning film, “All About my Mother”. The most enjoyable thing? To see the film first and then recognise some of the emblematic monuments that appear in it: Montjuïc Cemetery, the monument to Columbus, Plaza Real Square, the Basilica of La Sagrada Familia and Güell Park.
These destinations are ideal to enjoy the countryside in Castile-La Mancha, the culture of Madrid and the modernity and coast of Barcelona. One thing is for sure – in all three you will have a great time recognising the iconic locations that feature in Almodóvar’s unique world of contrasts. If you liked this article, get more information at: Spain, a star destination
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