Category: Once Upon a Time in Almería

La Chanca  

“The perspective of Almeria, viewed from the heights of the Alcazaba, is one of the most beautiful in the world.” Juan Goytisolo, La Chanca Almeria’s Alcazaba, a Moorish castle perched above the city, overlooks the neighborhood of La Chanca. It is a historically impoverished zone made up of small dwellings built into the hillside on the outskirts of the city. The inhabitants painted their homes using whatever ingredients were available, resulting in a multicolored patchwork. Ruins still remain of a nineteenth century lead mining and transport operation that ran down the mountain to the nearby port. La Chanca has long […]

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MDPLS “Art of Storytelling” Exhibit Opening: Once Upon a Time in Almeria  

Once Upon a Time in Almeria Mark Parascandola April 26 – June 3 Miami Dade Public Library Main Library – 2nd floor exhibition space 101 W. Flagler Street Miami Florida 33130 305-375-2665 During the 1960s and 1970s, the region of Almeria in Spain, was host to dozens of filmmakers who constructed elaborate movie sets, invoking locations from the American Southwest to Bedouin Arabia. Films shot here include Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, Patton, and Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns starring Clint Eastwood, of which some were inspired by both real-life events and fictional plays by Spanish poet/author Federico Garcia Lorca. Film directors […]

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Once Upon a Time in Almería  

The Movie Capitol of the World It was 50 years ago that David Lean’s film Lawrence of Arabia had its premier. Lean had intended to shoot the entire film in Jordan, on the same terrain where Lawrence had waged his campaign. But the difficulties of working 200 miles into the desert for months at a time put the production behind schedule and way over budget. The work took a psychological toll as well, and Producer Sam Spiegel feared that Lean had become obsessed with the desert. So Spiegel ordered the entire production to be moved to Spain. Lean was furious. […]

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Fifty Years Ago: Aqaba in Almeria  

Fifty years ago, in April of 1962, the Algarrobico beach on the southeastern coast of spain was bustling with activity as two hundred local workers constructed a replica of the Red Sea port of Aqaba circa 1916 for the filming of Lawrence of Arabia. They took three months to construct 300 false-front buildings and a quarter mile sea wall. The crew planted palm trees, trucked in from Alicante, placed four full-size canons on the hills above, and brought 450 horses and 150 camels from Morocco. Hundreds of local fishermen and gypsies served as extras. In the film, British officer T.E. […]

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The House of the Bride  

Seeing Constellation Theater’s innovative production of Lorca’s Blood Wedding reminded me of the script’s explicit references to the barren landscape of Almeria. The set is minimal, as it should be, to highlight 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 […]

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Art of Carlos Cara  

Digital artist and graphic designer Carlos Cara created some outstanding collage images for the Festival de Cortometrajes (short film festival) a couple of years ago, incorporating the title ‘Once Upon a Time in Almeria. Check out more of his work on his deviantART page.

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Once Upon a Time in Almería  

During the 1960s and 1970s, the region of Almeria, Spain, was host to dozens of filmmakers who constructed elaborate movie sets, invoking locations from the American Southwest to Bedouin Arabia. Films shot here include Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, Patton, and Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns starring Clint Eastwood. Film directors sought to manipulate the otherwise uninhabitable landscape in order to create a world more imaginary than real. Four decades later remnants of the old movie sets remain in the desert, providing seemingly tangible evidence of human settlements that never really existed.

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Straight to Hell  

In August 1986, an unlikely crew descended on the Tabernas desert, including Joe Strummer, Courtney Love, Elvis Costello, members of the Pogues, Sy Richardson, and Jim Jarmusch. Even Dennis Hopper and Grace Jones jetted in for a day. The resulting film, Alex Cox’s Straight to Hell, was neither a commercial nor critical success, but it has since achieved a form of cult status. A remastered director’s cut was just released last year. But the fact that the film got made at all was the result of an equally improbable set of circumstances. In 1984 The Clash were on the verge […]

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Aldous Huxley’s Almeria  

In mid-October of 1929, Aldous Huxley and his first wife Maria Nys set out on a road trip through Spain in their scarlet two-seated Bugatti. Starting in Barcelona, where Huxley had attended a conference which left him bored and wanting to escape, they went south along the coast through Valencia and Murcia, on to Almeria, then west to Granada, Cadiz, and Seville, before heading north again to Madrid and back to France. The entire trip took abut five weeks. Shortly after returning, Huxley described Spain as “the strangest country in Europe … one of the oddest in the world even.” […]

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