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Europe’s Far West


- Directors like Alex de la Iglesia & Jan Kounen breath new life into the Andalusian location beloved by Sergio Leone for his westerns.

Europe’s Far West

Despite its name, “Texas Hollywood” is actually deep in the heart of Europe. One of Sergio Leone’s favourite locations for his world-famous spaghetti westerns, the desert-like Tabernas valley is to be found in Spain’s Andalusia region and precisely half-an-hour’s drive from Almeria. In recent years, the Tabernas valley has reacquired newfound favour with major European film productions including westerns like Gene Quintano’s A dollar for the dead, Medieval thrillers like Paul McGuigan’s Morality Play and even Jan Kounen’s Blueberry, based on the famous French cartoon.
The evangelical chapel, the Bishop Hotel, the saloon bar and the bank that were built there in 1963 for Leone’s For a few dollars more provided the backdrop to Spanish film’s latest “enfant terrible”, Alex de la Iglesia’s follow up to his sci-fi Mutant Action and the condominial hell of La comunidad, 800 balas – The 800 Blows. This is the story of Carlos’ search for his long-lost former 60s stuntman father that ends with the two men reunited in the Tabernas valley where the older man stages western-style shows for tourists. Once again art has imitated life in that a former stuntman called Rafael Molina actually bought the Tabernas valley and worked hard to encourage film productions to return there after Spanish dictator, General Franco, imposed a total ban on the use of that valley for filming in 1971.
Today, “Texas Hollywood” and parts of the former Yugoslavia share the honour of being the last regions that can pass for the plains of the wild west and this must continue because, in the words of Molina: “the western will never die”.

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(Translated from Italian)

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