Ahhh Spain… The Brits home away from home. The land of flamenco dancers, bull fighters and Estrella Damm. This is the first time on my In-Flight Movies series that I have actually been to a country I’m recommending films to inspire you to go there. I know. I’m a fraud. What cha gonna do about it?
Spain has so many different faces and personalities, it’s quite easy to go back there year after year and have a completely different holiday every time. There’s the traditional package holiday, there’s the lads holiday to Magaluf, there are city breaks to Barcelona, there are quieter city breaks to Seville. Not to mention festivals, skiing… There are so many that it’s difficult to find the best films to watch to inspire you to visit Spain as it can pretty much be whatever you want it to be. Nevertheless… Here are my top Spanish themed movies! Ole!
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
…You saw this coming, right? Was this pick not totally obvious? Yes, I adore this film by Woody Allen and that’s no secret considering I have already written about the film this year. The film is about two American women (the titular characters) both going going through their own personal, term, not crisis’ exactly, but just wondering about the future. They go to Barcelona to spend a summer sightseeing and taking in Spanish culture only to get completely distracted by Javier Bardem’s brooding Spanish painter.
Granted, Barcalonans (is that the correct term? Or Barceloneans?) are more likely to live in cramped apartments than huge spanish villas with plenty of greenery so the film is a somewhat idealistic look at life in Barcelona, but it’s still such a fun movie either way, and you’ll immediately want to hop on a plane straight afterwards.
The Way (2010)
Not a traditional Spanish holiday by any means, The Way is set on the Camino de Santiago, a trail that is traditionally a Catholic pilgrimage from the South West of France to the Spanish city of Santiago (though there are many routes). It takes roughly 5 weeks to walk and the more I hear about the walk, the more I hope to one day complete it.
The film itself is symbolic of a personal journey and growth rather than purely physical. Martin Sheen plays an Optician who is summoned to the French Pyrenees when tragedy strikes and decides to walk the Camino to right some wrongs. Granted, I personally don’t think it’s a great film, as far as solo treks go Wild (2014) wins it for me, but it’s still a very Wanderlust-inspiring film that enshrines the oft repeated message: DO STUFF NOW BEFORE YOU DIE. GOT IT???
All About my Mother (1999)
I can’t go through a list of films set in Spain without a) including a film in the Spanish language and b) including a film by Pedro Almodovar. Pedro Almodovar is one of my all time favourite director/writers and he completely changed the landscape of Spanish cinema in the 1980s. This was a time when General Franco had passed and Spain was free from the shackles of a dictatorship and flamboyant, homosexual Almodovar unleashed his female-focused, kitsch and colourful to a newly reborn Spain.
I’ve chosen All About My Mother because it’s one of his best and won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, but really Talk To Her (2002) or Volver (2006) might be slightly easier watches. Either way, to gain proper perspective of the country of Spain on film, you need to have watched some Almodovar. You won’t regret it.
Other films: Open Your Eyes (1997), Pandora and The Flying Dutchman (1951), The Pride and The Passion (1957)
Have you any recommendations for films set in Spain?