Girona has proven to be rich in locations for film-making. More than 160 films have been shot in the region between last century and the first twenty-two years of this one, and that's not including series or advertisements.
In this post we look back on five films that were shot entirely or partially in the city of Girona, on the Costa Brava or in Girona province’s inland counties, starring international, Spanish and Catalan actors.
This dramatic poem by Sagarra was first made into a film in 1933, directed by Domènec Pruna. It is considered the first feature film produced in Catalonia in the Catalan language. The exteriors were shot in El Port de la Selva, where the play is set. It premiered at the Urquinaona cinema in Barcelona, but only played for a week. A fire destroyed the film copies, although stills and some photos of the filming were salvaged. The most recent film adaptation, made in 2014, was directed by Sílvia Munt and partially shot in the old fishermen’s huts on Castell beach in Palamós. The fishermen’s huts were chosen to portray the life of the café where much of the action takes place, along with a series of llaüts or mallorquines (traditional fishing boats) on loan from the Fishing Museum, Pere de Prada and the Association of the Friends of Lateen Sailing of Calella de Palafrugell. In this TV film, Sílvia Munt directed A-list actors such as Pablo Derqui, Miquel Gilabert, Marina Sala and Domènec Reixac.
This is an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Javier Cercas, which sets the action in the summer of 1978, right at the beginning of Spain’s transition to democracy. This film, labelled as part of the „quinqui“ genre, tells the story of Nacho Cañas (Marcos Ruiz), an introverted and somewhat socially awkward 17-year-old student living in Girona. When he meets Zarco (Chechu Salgado) and Tere (Begoña Vargas), two young delinquents from the city’s Chinatown, he gets caught up in an endless string of burglaries and hold-ups. This is Nacho’s coming-of-age story, where he crosses the line between good and evil, and between justice and injustice… Another interesting titbit about this film is that it was produced by Ikiru Films, which is run by the Girona filmmaker Edmon Roch. The film was shot in Girona, Tossa de Mar and Torroella de Montgrí – L’Estartit, among other Catalan cities and towns.
Girona producer Edmon Roch was executive producer of this German film directed by Tom Tykwer. He was also one of the main reasons why some of the locations for this adaptation of Patrick Süskind’s sensational novel were in Girona. Ben Whishaw, Rachel Hurd-Wood and Alan Rickman spent time in the city to shoot this film, which also starred Dustin Hoffman. Perfume, a best-seller, tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, who develops a superior sense of smell that he uses to create the world’s most exquisite perfumes. But his work takes a dark turn when he embarks on a quest for the ultimate perfume, becoming a serial killer in the process. Girona’s Old Quarter became the French village of Grasse and the streets of the historic centre, the Pujada de Sant Domènec and the Jardins de la Francesa underwent a remarkable transformation.
Girona-born filmmaker Isaki Lacuesta doesn’t usually make such mad films, but this one certainly is, and it’s hilarious. Legend has it that the idea came up among friends over beers in the now defunct bar Los Padules, on the street that Sopa de Cabra made famous as Nutters‘ Street (Carrer Nou del Teatre). He shot it, among other places, in Girona’s Old Quarter, but also in the expansion district and on the outskirts of the city. Although totally mad, it’s an extremely lucid satire that slams the capitalist system, the world of politics and finance, and the state security forces. Note the list of actors, some starring in the film and others playing supporting roles or making cameos: Raúl Arévalo, Julián Villagrán, Imanol Arias, Bruno Bergonzini, Àlex Brendemühl, José Coronado, Eduard Fernández, Ariadna Gil, Bárbara Lennie, Sergi López, Carmen Machi, Ángela Molina, Àlex Monner, Albert Pla, Josep Maria Pou, Pau Riba, José Sacristán, Jaume Sisa, Emma Suárez, Ivan Telefunken, Luis Tosar and Jordi Vilches. Outstanding!
This film was one of the most delightful cinematic surprises of 2017. It marked the directorial debut of Carla Simón, who shot it in the summer of 2016 in various locations in the La Garrotxa region. In the summer of 1993, six-year-old Frida faces her first summer with her new adoptive family. It’s a premature coming-of-age drama about a girl struggling to find her place in a rural world, where she lives with her aunt and uncle, while overcoming the death of her parents. During the summer of 1993, Frida will learn to accept her grief and her adoptive parents will learn to love her as their own daughter. The cast includes Laia Artigas, Paula Robles, David Verdaguer, Bruna Cusí, Fermí Reixach, Isabel Rocatti, Quimet Pla and Montse Sanz. The film won multiple awards at the Berlinale, the Goya Awards and the Gaudí Awards.