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With the UK release of Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar’s 21st feature film coming up in the UK (23rd August), I thought it would be cool to check out all the top Pedro Almodóvar filming locations in Spain, ones you can actually visit.
Pedro Almodóvar is, without a doubt, one of the main reasons I’m learning Spanish. He began directing films in La Movida Madrileña: a counter-cultural movement in early 1980s Madrid born out of Spanish dictator General Franco’s death. What followed was a brash, untamed and unapologetic exploration of Spanish culture lead by young people and Pedro Almodóvar was right in the middle of it all.. He is
His films – all 21 of them – have visual and thematic similarities which have made him one of the most obvious examples of an auteur. The saturated colour palette, themes of gender, sexual identity, women, in particular, are all common in Almodóvar films… But his home country of Spain is the secret ingredient, the secret sauce that makes an Almodóvar film what it is.
Most of his films are set in Madrid, so most of these filming locations are also in Madrid. I’ve never been to Madrid but thanks to Almodóvar, I REALLY REALLY want to. But I’ve tried to include as many examples as possible when Almodóvar sets foot outside his home city. Here are 13 top Pedro Almodóvar filming locations in Spain from 13 different films for you to visit!
Top Pedro Almodóvar Filming Locations in Spain
1. Teatro Lara as seen in Labyrinth of Passion (1982)
Where: Corredera Baja de San Pablo, 15, 28004, Madrid
Labyrinth of Passion was Almodóvar’s second feature film after Pepe, Luci, Bom (1980). The film centres on Sexila, a nymphomaniac singer who is in love with a gay, Middle-eastern Prince called Riza Niro. It was also the first time Almodóvar collaborated with actor Antonio Banderas, who stars in his most recent film Pain and Glory (2019).
Teatro Lara is a theatre in the Malasaña neighbourhood of Madrid. Malasaña was the epi-centre of La Movida Madrileña and the theatre is a gorgeous (if a little dated) 19th-century theatre where one of the scenes in the film is shot.
2. Conde-Duque Cultural Centre as seen in Law of Desire (1987)
Where: Calle del Conde Duque, 11, 28015, Madrid
The first film released by Almodóvar’s production company El Deseo, Law of Desire is about a love triangle between a gay filmmaker, his transexual sister (the film’s words, not mine), and an obsessive stalker.
Conde-Duque Cultural Centre is the backdrop for Tina’s outburst to a city worker to ‘hose her down’ on a hot summer’s night. It’s a complex of galleries and theatres houses in old military barracks that look a lot more beautiful than I’m making them sound!
3. Calle de Montalbán, 7 as seen in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)
Where: Calle de Montalbán, 7, 28014, Madrid
This is a location that’s a bit of a cop-out. I wanted to focus on top Pedro Almodóvar filming locations that you can visit super easily like plazas and public spaces, but there aren’t many of those in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988). Most of the filming locations are boring places like apartments you can’t visit and pharmacies. But this is one of my favourite Almodóvar films and the one that gave him international recognition so dang it, I’m going to include it!
Calle de Montalbán, 7 is the address of Pepa’s apartment building at street level. She has a pretty sweet balcony in the film so she’d live much higher up but they do enter and leave the apartments a lot.
4. Plaza de Chueca as seen in Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990)
Where: Plaza de Chueca, 33, 28004, Madrid
Yet another Almodóvar film with Antonio Banderas! I think it’s 4/4 on the list so far. In Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! , he plays a recently released psychiatric patient who kidnaps a porn star in order to make her fall in love with him.
5. Tablao Flamenco Villa Rosa as seen in High Heels (1991)
Where: Plaza de Sta. Ana, 15, 28012, Madrid
This old wine bar is where Judge Eduardo Dominguez AKA Lethal (the name of his drag act) performs in High Heels. The film focuses on the relationship between a famous singer and her news reporter daughter who is now married to her mother’s ex.
Flamenco is a traditional Spanish dance in Andalucía, you don’t really tend to find it up north. And the bar the scene was shot in wasn’t necessarily a flamenco bar at the time but nowadays it’s Tablao Flamenco Villa Rosa. A great place to visit if you want traditional Spanish music, dancing and Andalucían food in Madrid.
6. Taberna Ángel Sierra as seen in The Flower of my Secret (1995)
Where: Calle San Gregorio, 2, 28004, Madrid
The Flower of my Secret follows the journey of one woman, a successful romance writer whose personal and professional life is in turmoil and she feels caught between her past and future.
The Flower of my Secret has tonnes of awesome filming locations in Madrid that you can definitely visit, including Plaza Mayor and two restaurants. The first is Taberna Ángel Sierra which is a traditional old tavern in Madrid. The second to mention here is Restaurante Viridiana which is actually named after a 1961 film by Luis Buñuel. I’m not sure if the restaurant itself featured in the film but their restaurant’s owner Abraham García sure did! He had a cameo as a waiter swept up in a student protest. It’s one of Almodóvar’s favourite restaurants.
7. La Almudena Cemetery as seen in Live Flesh (1997)
Where: Av. de Daroca, 90, 28017, Madrid
La Almudena Cemetary is one of the most reoccurring Pedro Almodóvar filming locations. And I’m not sure what that says about Almodóvar’s films if he shoots in a cemetery regularly… Three of the films that feature this cemetery are High Heels, Kika (1993) and Live Flesh.
Live Flesh is about a man who is sent to prison after crippling a police officer and seeks redemption years later. This happy and lighthearted tale is the first adapted screenplay Almodóvar filmed, as the vast majority of his other films are originals written by him.
8. La Sagrada Familia as seen in All About My Mother (1999)
Where: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013, Barcelona
Finally, the first Almodóvar filming location on this list not set in Madrid! All About My Mother is partly set in Madrid but most of the action takes place in Barcelona. After the sudden death of her son, Manuela travels to Barcelona to reconnect with her son’s transgender mother and meets with other interesting characters along the way.
One of the most iconic filming locations in any Pedro Almodóvar film, La Sagrada Familia can be seen out the window of Manuela’s taxi. I’m sure there are tonnes more Barcelona-based filming locations I could have picked but I like that there’s actually a famous landmark in one of Almodóvar’s films, albeit brief.
9. Cine Doré as seen in Talk to Her (2002)
Where: Calle de Santa Isabel, 3, 28012, Madrid
Pain and Glory also shot here
Talk to Her holds a special place in my heart because I studied this film when I was 17-years-old and it’s the first Almodóvar film I ever saw. It follows two men who become friends when the women in both of their lives are comatosed.
Cine Doré is one of Almodóvar’s favourite cinemas and features in the film when Benigno starts going to the same cinema that Alicia, who loves silent movies, visits. The cinema specialises in classic films so that makes complete sense. Visiting this cinema is definitely a bucket list item for me!
10. Cemetario Volver as seen in Volver (2006)
Where:13360, Granátula de Calatrava, Ciudad Real
Would you believe my surprise when I discovered that the cemetery featured at the beginning of Volver is actually named Cemetario Volver! And yes, I’m featuring two cemeteries on my list of top Pedro Almodóvar filming locations. He does feature them more than most filmmakers, I think.
Volver follows Penélope Cruz’ character who moves from the small town of Granátula de Calatrava (where this cemetery is situated) to Madrid but has to return for a funeral. The whole film is set in the Castille-La Mancha region of Spain just south of Madrid which is where Almodóvar is from. And though all of his films are personal, Volver in particular featured characters and direct comparisons to his life.
11. Museo Chicote Cocktail Bar as seen in Broken Embraces (2009)
Where: Calle Gran Vía, 12, 28013, Madrid
Broken Embraces features a couple of bars in Madrid that Almodóvar fans might like to check out. The film is about a blind novelist who uses his novels to work through his past and how he lost his sight. Museo Chicote is the cocktail bar where Judit drinks a glass of straight gin before confiding in the blind novelist and their child. The bar has been open since the 1930s and stays true to the decor of the time. Apparently, Frank Sinatra, Sophia Loren and Ernest Hemingway all drank at Museo Chicote in the past.
The second bar featured in Broken Embraces is the wonderfully named Bar Cock. This is where Diego works as a DJ.
12. Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport as seen in I’m So Excited (2013)
Where: Terminal 4, Avenue de la Hispanidad, s/n, 28042, Madrid
Okay, so you might need to be travelling to visit this filming location but I personally love I’m So Excited despite its lukewarm reception so I had to include it. Terminal 4 at the Madrid-Barajas Airport was used as a filming location where husband and wife baggage handlers (portrayed by Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas) work. The film is almost entirely set on a plane and follows the passengers and staff on board the plane who try to deal with the fact the landing gears are malfunctioning.
It’s probably one of my favourite cameos in all of his films, they work so well together. And I love that even though they’ve both enjoyed worldwide success, they clearly love acting in Almodóvar’s films and do so again and again.
13. Alojamiento Rural Huerta La Cansina as seen in Julieta (2016)
Where: Cámino San Agustín S/N, 41510, Mairena del Alcor, Seville
Another non-Madrid filming location! I’ve seen Julieta almost as many times as I’ve seen Talk to Her. I think that’s just because it’s his most recent film, you know? Two actresses play Julieta at different times in her like and the film flash backwards and forwards. Julieta is a teacher from Andalucía who becomes pregnant while living with her partner in A Coruña. She ends up living with her daughter in Madrid who becomes estranged, something Julieta has to navigate as she lives without her daughter, and re-navigate when there’s a chance she might find her daughter again.
Julieta’s parent’s house in Seville, Andalucía is the filming location listed. Do you know what’s so awesome about this location? It’s a rural guest house and you can stay there! Alojamiento Rural Huerta La Casina is open for visitors and I can’t wait to book a stay there ASAP!
…And who knows what filming locations Pain and Glory will utilise? I guess I’ll have to find out for myself!
Those are my favourite Pedro Almodóvar filming locations in Spain that you can visit! Have you watched any Pedro Almodóvar films or visited any locations? Let me know in the comments below!