Did you know? The cinema and Bellesguard

By: Ferran Garcés

 

The Bellesguard Tower has been the scene of all kinds of shootings: fashion shoots, documentaries, commercials, video clips and also, cinema.

Today we will focus on this last one, the cinema, but in other articles we will reveal the celebrities and shootings that have also taken place in Bellesguard.

We will begin to remember that location technicians have passed through here looking for scenery for all kinds of productions, including major Hollywood films, such as the third instalment of the saga of Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. Pedro Almodóvar himself visited Bellesguard before filming “All about my mother”.

The fact that the house was inhabited and the big hustle that a big shooting implies are the reason why, finally, only four films have ended up being shot in Bellesguard.

The first one is titled Antonio Gaudi, an unfinished vision. It was shot in 1973 and its main attraction is that the person that is giving life to the Catalan architect is one of the great actors of Spanish cinema: José Luis López Vázquez. The film recreates the fictitious encounter between Gaudí and an architecture student from Madrid who had come to Barcelona to meet the master in person. The camera follows the young disciple as Gaudí shows him his most emblematic works, revealing in each of them some keys to his art and philosophy. As a curiosity, it must be said that the actor was advised by Joan Bassegoda, the great Gaudí specialist, who recommended him, in addition to books, tics and common phrases of the architect.

Unfortunately, the film was seized by a financial institution after the producers did not return the credit requested for its realisation. It was not until 2009, after more than thirty years forgotten in a cardboard box, that historian Carles Querol (1) rescued it. Fortunately, nowadays, the film has begun to gain wider diffusion. Here is a link where you can see the scenes filmed in Bellesguard (minute 4:15).

 

The second film, The New Marilyn, was shot in 1976, three years after the previous one, and the theme could not be more different. It starred Ágata Lys, an icon of the Transition cinema. The script narrates the life of Teresa, a small-town girl who, thanks to her resemblance to Marilyn Monroe, tries to succeed in the world of cinema.

 

The third film is considered a cult horror film. It was released in 1987 under the title Angustia and is probably the most ambitious and risky work of its director, the well-known Bigas Luna. In it, we witness a game of mirrors where we observe some spectators watching a horror movie in a cinema where some crimes will soon take place. For more confusion, the murderer is a psychopathic ophthalmologist who collects the eyes of his victims. Consequently, the choice of Torre Bellesguard for this screenplay is ironic considering that the name of the property means “beautiful view”…

Here is a short sequence in which the neo-gothic profiles of Gaudí’s building foreshadow the terrifying atmosphere of the film. To view it, go to minute 2:20.

 

Finally, in 2015, came a more cheerful film. Ein Sommer in Barcelona (A Summer in Barcelona), a light comedy that tells the story of Lisa, a young German girl living in Barcelona who is about to marry Emili, the son of a wealthy family in the city. The sequence filmed in the Bellesguard Tower recreates a luxurious restaurant at night. To view it, go to minute 51:28.

 

As we said, the fact that the house was inhabited meant that few films were finally shot, despite the large number of requests that were received, which were politely declined. Now the Torre Bellesguard can and wants to host shootings of all kinds, so who knows, maybe soon we will have to update this article!

 

Bibliography:

1.To learn more in detail about the recovery of the film, we recommend the following article: Catalina Serra, “Gaudí, alias López Vázquez”, El País, Barcelona, November 6, 2009.

2.In the following link you can see the entire film. To clarify that the stained glass window that heads the video on the website of TV3 a la Carta is one of those that decorate the lobby of Torre Bellesguard: Antoni Gaudí, an unfinished vision.