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Motion Pictures

Travel Ideals in Film


Edited By Gemma Blackwood and Andrew McGregor

This volume examines representations and explorations of travel ideals in contemporary international cinema. It assembles work from a diverse range of academic fields including anthropology, sociology, ethnography, cinema, culture, tourism, communication and language studies, with contributions from international experts such as Mary Louise Pratt of New York University, whose work on ‘contact zones’ continues to provide the framework for scholarship on travel writing around the world. The volume explores the link between filmed spaces and real locations, with one of the fundamental dynamics being the investigation of filmmaking itself, and in particular the notion that cultural authenticity may be sought and found by filming ‘on location’. Also examined are the notions of fantasy and exoticism that arise through an idealisation of the locations themselves and their transformational impact on the protagonists who travel there. Such is the impact of motion pictures on contemporary culture that these travel ideals in film will inevitably influence our understanding of cities, regions, nations and cultures; indeed, the world around us and our role in it.
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Chapter Two: Barcelona’s Cinematic Image: Negotiating Place in Mainstream International Cinema




Barcelona’s Cinematic Image: Negotiating Place in Mainstream International Cinema

In his landmark essay on the rise and decline of Barcelona’s modern image, Joan Ramón Resina asserts: “Place may be experienced as non-place by the skimming tourist gaze that blocks out everyday relations and even native bodies.”1 Indeed, Barcelona’s tourist appeal has turned the city into a commodity that can be consumed and experienced in a variety of formats, in what Edgar Illas has referred to as the city’s spectralisation – an epiphenomenon of the Olympic simulacrum that “cancelled the access to the past, and even the access to any sense of history.”2 Tourism activities are not limited to physical visits, unmediated sights of the cityscape, architectural and urban landmarks; they include also the city merchandising that can be purchased anywhere in the world signifying Barcelona as an object of tourism desirability, and the vicarious experiences of the Barcelona brand that are induced by closely related brands, such as Barcelona Football Club, which can lead to deterritorialised experiences of the city. In addition, there exists a delayed, virtual tourism-like experience which is generated by films set in Barcelona that provide international audiences with on-screen experiences of the city; international hits such as Pedro Almodovar’s Todo sobre mi madre / All About my Mother (1999), Cedric Klapisch’s L’auberge espanole / The Spanish Apartment (2002), Ventura Pons’ Barcelona (un mapa) / Barcelona (a map) (2007) and Woody Allen’s Vicky...

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