Carmona in Film
A SINGULAR SETTING IN SOUTHERN EUROPE
The city of Carmona, located in southern Spain in the region of Andalusía, and only 30 Km (19 miles) from Seville, is one of the oldest cities on mainland Europe. Five thousand years of continuous dwelling both in the urban area and its immediate surroundings has endowed Carmona with an invaluable historic and artistic heritage. Unlike other monumental cities where the great architectonic landmarks of the past are now isolated and out of context, Carmona’s historic monuments and ethnic culture blend together in harmony, creating a unique and attractive setting.
AUDIOVISUAL PRODUCTIONS IN CARMONA
Carmona’s proximity to Seville (only 15 minutes by motorway) and its practical location directly on the route to Madrid (by air or high-speed train) ensure that all the requirements for audiovisual productions are within easy range. Also worth consideration is the province of Seville, with numerous service and auxiliary industries, production companies and audiovisual professionals; not forgetting the wide variety of hotels and restaurants, an important factor when choosing a location for the intricate and demanding needs of production.
As mentioned in the above section, one of Carmona’s major advantages is its unbeatable position within Spain’s communication network. Although access to Carmona is by road only – on the N IV-E5 that connects Madrid to Cádiz passing through Seville – its proximity to the latter means that air, rail and road connections to Seville can be used as means of transport to reach Carmona. Here it is worth mentioning the high-speed train that links Madrid and Seville, with several daily journeys that lasts just over two hours from one city centre to the other. Also to take into consideration is the possibility of transporting heavy goods by river. The Guadalquivir maintains a frequent and busy cargo service from the mouth of the river as far inland as the port of Seville.
THE LIGHT OF CARMONA
Carmona is situated in the most southerly European region which means that it has a larger than usual number of daylight hours. Moreover, due to long seasons with no rainfall, the sunshine in all its glory can be taken advantage of especially from the beginning of Spring until well into the Autumn. But it is not just the quantity of sunlight that is important here, its quality is also worth considering. During Spring and Summer the sky takes on a dense ultramarine blue tone that remains cloudless for days on end; with the arrival of Autumn the luminous texture becomes enriched with golden and crystal hues during the day and later on at dusk and dawn shades of pink, silver, and purple fill the sky. Sunrise over the vast horizon of La Vega (the meadow) is a memorable sight, aswell as the mists of winter that descend on Carmona wrapping the city in a magical atmosphere, the quiet streets appearing as if suspended in time.
CHURCHES AND CONVENTS
Within its vast historic and artistic heritage, Carmona is laced with a series of handsome religious buildings composed of churches, convents and hermitages built between the 14th century, as is the case of the Mudéjar hermitage of San Mateo, and the 18th century, such as the impressive Divino Salvador church built in the baroque style. Of course, the great priory temple of Santa María is the most prominent of all the religious shrines. Built in the gothic style during the 15th and 16th centuries, it is not only important for its beautiful architecture but also for the quality and quantity of sacred objects that are housed within. Among others, the medieval San Felipe church, from the 14th century, is one of the most precious and pure Mudéjar-style buildings in Carmona. Also from the 14th century, although finished in later centuries, are the San Blas and Santiago churches, situated in popular areas that still conserve their local flavour and atmosphere. The San Pedro and San Bartolomé churches are of Mudéjar origin but with elements from different eras being added on over time up to and including the 18th century baroque style. The well-known Santa Clara convent, built in the 16th century, is characterized by its imposing watchtower.
PALACES, STREETS AND SQUARES
Carmona possesses a series of palatial buildings, surrounded by churches, with their corresponding spacious courtyards that form small clutterfree squares. These jewels that are found amongst the motley web of narrow twisting streets are not seen to impose like unquestioned symbols of social power. On the contrary, their aristocratic character appears to blend into the austere and discreet style of the city. Usually, what converts a traditional Mudéjar house in Carmona into a palace is the sheer size and proportions of the building aswell as the severe façades, the entrance gateways that symbolised the importance and social rank of the inhabitants. The most interesting, to name but a few, are the Casa Palacio de los Rueda, from the 18th century and the Casa Palacio del Marqués de las Torres (now used as the City Museum) which originates in the 16th century. Some of the most important sights of Carmona that are of special worth are the Plaza de Arriba (upper square), the site of the ancient Roman forum and one of the most frequented public places in Carmona, it is circular and bordered by various examples of civil architecture from different eras; the Plaza de Abastos (Market place) a spacious cloistered square with pillars and arches above which one can see the towers and domes of various neighbouring churches.
Broaching the subject of local architecture in Carmona means talking about whitewashed walls, about minimalism and Mudéjar austerity along with all its power. Local Carmona architecture, the work and legacy of Islamic builders, has retained through time its own essence and has suffered very few changes. The usage of basic plans and ideas has continued down through history, adapting to present day needs in only small details, so that forms and styles from the deep Andalusían Middle Ages, influenced by Muslim culture, can still be seen in everyday construction. The more exceptional and handsome examples of this type of architecture catch the eye in the older and more traditional areas of Carmona such as Santiago, San Blas (also known as the Jewish Quarter) and San Felipe (especially here in a smaller zone called Plazuela de la Romera).
Aswell as its varied historic and monumental heritage, Carmona possesses the most beautiful views and natural surroundings among which one would have to give priority to the immense fields of the Vega bordering the Corbones river and the steep ridges of Los Alcores on which the city is built, rising alone above the plains like a powerful fortress. The Vega, which enjoys the soft Mediterranean climate, has been transformed through the centuries into a large cereal plantation. The changes in weather and seasonal harvesting convert these fields into a fabulous show of colour and light. Wheat and sunflowers, misty horizons overshadowed by the distant blue mountains from the Málaga and Cádiz ranges. Sunrise and sunset or the fantastic nightime panorama illuminated by the full moon that brings to mind a peaceful ocean. The Alcores steps, formed by eroded calcareous rock, with a rich variety of yellow tones, stands out in deep contrast to the soft and mellow Vega below. The wild and harsh vegetation that grows on these craggy slopes is also part of what embodies the Mediterranean essence of the area. The Cueva de la Batida quarries, several farmhouses and country estates are peppered throughout the surrounding landscape.
FILMING IN CARMONA
Carmona has been the setting for films from as far back as the nineteen forties. This history starts with the filming of Malvaloca, from the CIFESA production company, starring Amparo Rivelles and Alfredo Mayo. In 1951 Luis Lucia filmed El sueño de Andalucía with Luis Mariano and Carmen Sevilla. Later on several more films were made here, too numerous to mention but some of the more well-known ones include Pepita Jiménez by Rafael Moreno Alba in 1976; the cinematographic version of the opera Carmen, directed in 1984 by Franco Rossi and starring Plácido Domingo and Julia Migenes-Johnson; Carmen by Vicente Aranda in 2003 with Paza Vega and Leonardo Sbaraglia; Francesc Betriu directed in 1996 La Duquesa Roja with Maria Isbert, Rosa María Sardá, Loles León, Javier Gurruchaga and Rafael Alvarez ´El Brujo”; Nadie conoce a nadie (1999) by Mateo Gil with Eduardo Noriega; Peixe Lua (1999) by José Alvaro de Morais; and Fugitivas in the year 2000 by the director Miguel Hermoso with Juan Diego, María Galiana, Niña Pastori and Laia.
In 2001 Pepe Danquart directed Semana Santa with Mira Sorvino and Oliver Martínez; Manolete (2006) with Penélope Cruz, Adrien Brody, Juan Echanove and Santiago Segura, directed by Menno Meyjes. In 2010 “Ispansi” directed by Carlos Iglesias; the indian movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara by Zoya Akhtar; La Estrella directed by Alberto Aranda with Ingrid Rubio, Carmen Machi, Marc Clotet and Fele Martínez; the Falcon TV series based on the novels by Javier Falcón the British writer Robert; Anochece en la India, directed by Chema Rodríguez with Juan Diego, Clara Voda and Javier Pereirao or Libertador directed by Alberto Arvelo in 2012 with Édgar Ramírez, Danny Huston, Gary Lewis, Iwan Rheon, Inmanol Arias, Juana Acosta and María Valverde.
Also worth mentioning are the numerous advertisements like, Cruzcampo, la Guit or Ferrero Rocher and videoclips (the musical group Spandau Ballet) that have been made here in Carmona.