Tag Archives | spain

Buying & Selling

shop window and creepy shadow
Some photos taken around town in the past few months that prove that anything can be bought & sold. I suddenly need a beatnik cigarette holder in my life so I can smoke while I admire my plastic flowers. 
These were taken using Fuji Superia 400 except for the last one, which was taken with a disposable camera. 
You can see bigger versions on flickr.
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The Executioner (Luis García Berlanga, 1963)

I watched The Executioner (Luis García Berlanga, 1963) for the first time last weekend. It’s amazing how clueless I am when it comes to Spanish cinema. Set in 1960s Spain, during the last part of Franco’s dictatorship, the film shows a country that appears to be going through a metamorphoses. The executioner’s daughter, who has trouble to find a husband due to her father’s job, hooks up with a gravedigger, who has the same problem. Everything appears to be going fine in this morbid love story until they learn that, because the executioner is retiring, they are going to lose their flat. With a baby on the way, the only option left for them is to continue the family tradition in order to keep the flat, and so the gravedigger reluctantly becomes the new executioner in hopes that he will never have to kill anybody. And so the call for his first execution comes and the whole family travel to Mallorca, allowing us to see the peak of Spain’s development as a major tourist destination and the blatant contrast between the modern foreigners who holiday abroad and the bleak lives of Spanish people, who want to go abroad in search of a better life. The film successfully exposes the contradictions of Franco’s Spain and makes a statement against death penalty without losing for a second its entertaining black humour. Highly recommended.
And you know what else is great about this film? The title sequence. Please don’t miss the music that goes with it.
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Madrid

I spent the (long long) weekend in Madrid. It wasn’t a very cultural trip, unless your idea of cultural is hanging out in random places till the early morning, seeing bands and going to a Karaoke. Here are some film photos of the last time I was there. 

Madrid
Madrid
Discos
De todo de lo que hay
“We have everything there is. Smoking is allowed”
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Holiday in Spain

I love how tacky seaside touristy towns can be. These photos were taken in Calella, a little town North of Barcelona that’s completely full of Germans buying novelty Sangría bottles. See bigger versions here.

Oh, and I won a giveaway over at Lauren’s blog! How exciting! Make sure you visit her etsy shop, she makes amazing polaroid jewelery.

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Giles Tremlett – Ghosts of Spain

I finished reading Tremlett’s Ghosts of Spain a couple of days ago. I picked it up for several reasons, the main one being that I have read books of this kind about Britain and Germany, but never about Spain. I thought that, maybe because I am Spanish myself, this kind of book wouldn’t really be of much use. I was wrong. Even though ‘Ghosts of Spain’ is written with a British public in mind, it has succeeded in making me reflect on this country and its people.

Taking the Civil War as a starting point, the book dissects aspects of Spain as varied as its touristic expansion, Spain’s transition to democracy, the treatment kids receive compared to the UK, Madrid’s 2004 bombings, flamenco and nationalism. It is in this last part where I think the book fails. Perhaps being a “local” made me feel I was reading things that I had heard a million times before. However, the rest of the book managed to be both entertaining and educative. Of course I was familiar with most of the stuff discussed, but it opened my eyes to some of those things that are often taken for granted or simply ignored. I guess it would be safe to say that Tremlett knows Spanish people better than they know themselves.

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