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The aim of the Project is to search for references of the Alhambra in cinematographic documents.

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Cinematographic References

1916 is often referred as the year to date the entry of the movie camera in the Alhambra. The date coincides with the first fiction film, The Life of Christopher Columbus, by Gérard Bourgeois. However, if we are talking about documentary cinema, it is much earlier, around 1905, when operators of the young production company Pathé took the first motionpictures of the Alhambra, following that obsession of primitive cinema of capturing "typical places" on film. Since then, hundreds of film rolls that preserve the printed image of the palatial city on celluloid film have remained dispersed in film libraries from all over the world. By means of the project Audiovisual Memory of the Alhambra, the Patronato de la Alhambra is recovering the whole film corpus to bring them at the service of researchers and the public this memory in motion.



Among the films shot wholly or partly in the Alhambra a large proportion of the works from José Val del Omar is to be highlighted, especially Aguaespejo Granadino (1953), where the Alhambra is at the service of his experiments with sensory and poetic film. Another early figure of the cinema such as Marcel L'Herbier filmed in 1921 one of the masterpieces of French cinema, El Dorado, with the monumental complex as the setting of a melodrama  between impressionism film and an emerging folk film. The romantic and orientalist fascination for nineteenth-century Alhambra has its natural progression in the films made by Hollywood, transforming the Nasrid palaces into the Baghdad of the One Thousand and One Nights (in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Nathan Juran, 1958) or into a Moroccan setting for one the immortal Decameron stories (Decameron Nights, Hugo Fregonese, 1953) with Joan Fontaine as leading actress.



Other unclassifiable films have brought to the Alhambra figures such as Yves Montand and Louis de Funes (in the comedy Delusions of grandeur, Gérard Oury, 1971), Carmelo Gomez in the crucial scene of Running Out of Time (Imanol Uribe, 1994) and Juliette Binoche, who announced her pregnancy to her partner during a visit to the Alhambra of Alice and Martin (Techiné André, 1998).

Nowadays, folklore and Alhambra are associated through dozens of films where the complex has served as a natural setting for artists to showcase their talent: Carmen Sevilla in Imperial Violet (Richard Pottier, 1952) and Tales of the Alhambra (Florian Rey, 1950), Manolo Escobar in the second version of Everything is possible in Granada (Rafael Romero Marchent, 1982), Carmen Amaya in Maria de la O (Francisco Elias, 1939) or, more recently, Enrique Morente accompanied by collaborators such as Pat Metheny or Ute Lemper in Morente dreams of the Alhambra (José Sánchez-Montes, 2004). This musical bias has continued in the shootings, sometimes commercially-available, of performances at the Music and Dance Festival or in videoclips such as Take This Waltz by Leonard Cohen.

Along with fiction, we count with documentary films as a goldmine, especially the repertoire from the NODO, Spanish information clips, where we can see the diplomatic nature of the Alhambra (with visits from Franco, Eva Peron, Muhammad V of Morocco, etc.) and its use as a multifunctional setting (for concerts, fashion shows, advertising), as well as the evolution of tourism and the conservation criteria in the monumental complex.