Once Upon a Time in Almería
25 November 2023

125 Years of Federico García Lorca

Federico García Lorca was born in 1898, and earlier this year marked the 125th anniversary of his birth.

When he was 30 years old, Spanish newspapers covered a sensational story from a remote corner of Andalucia. Twenty six year old bride Francisca Cañadas Morales was due to marry a local farmer. hours before the wedding she eloped with her cousin Francisco Montes Cañadas, with whom she had been in love since childhood. But before they could get away, the groom’s brother shot and killed Francisco. The episode became famous throughout the country as ‘el crimen de Níjar’ and served as an inspiration for Lorca’s “Blood Wedding.”

Born in the town of Fuente Vaqueros, near Granada, Lorca also studied for some time in Almería, not far from Níjar. He makes explicit reference in the script to the barren, earthy landscape. In his stage directions, Lorca suggests the bride’s home appears in a “panorama of brownish plains, everything hardened like a landscape of ceramic.”

The minimal set highlights the isolation of the characters and the unforgiving environment they inhabit. In an exchange in the first act, the groom’s mother complains of the distance they had to travel to reach the bride’s remote house, “a four hour journey and not a house or a tree.” The bride’s father laments the dry earth and how he “had to labor over it and shed tears to get anything from it.”

Lorca did make some changes to the location, however. The bride’s home is a cave, rather than a farm. And the final chase scene and confrontation takes place in a dense forest. These alterations were intended to enhance the symbolic impact of the settings.

The Cortijo del Fraile, home of Francisca Cañadas Morales. The cortijo later served as a film location. The interior served as Indio’s hideout in For a Few Dollars More (1965), and the exterior appears as the San Antonio mission in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966).

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