Incredible though it may seem, Roger Rabbit is Ibicenco. I bet most of you didn’t know this fact about the famous cartoon. According to Ibiza-born ﬁlmmaker Enrique Villalonga, Richard Williams, cartoonist and ﬁlm director, who lived on the island in the 50s, got the inspiration for Roger Rabbit from a clown in a sideshow in Dalt Vila. This is only one of the many curiosities we learnt from Villalonga’s speech on the relationship between Ibiza and ﬁlms in the twentieth century, which took place in Espacio Cultural Sa Nostra last Thursday. Interestingly enough, most of the productions that were ﬁlmed on the island were foreign ﬁlms which never set foot on it.
Anybody knows which was the ﬁrst ﬁlm made in Ibiza? Ley del Mar (1959) by Miguel Iglesias. Its script is a free adaptation of the novel Los Muertos Mandan by Vicente Blasco Ibañez and it offers us the opportunity to get a glimpse of what La Marina and Sa Penya quarters, and Santa Eulària were like in the 1950s.
Ibiza’s hype started growing in the 1960s with the arrival of the ﬁrst tourists. The cinema industry helped to build the myth of the ‘White Island’ around the world. Seemingly, the screening of the cult ﬁlm More by Barbet Schröder triggered the ﬁrst ﬂight connection between Ibiza and Germany. Around the same time, the island welcomed the ﬁlming crew of one of the few productions starring the Spanish songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat, La Larga Agonia De Los Peces Fuera Del Agua, by Francisco Rovira Beleta. Unlike those two ﬁlms, which exploited the hippie side of the island, other ﬁlms set in Ibiza had 007-like espionage plots, Zarabanda Bing Bing by José María Forqué and 3S3 Agente Secreto by Sergio Sollima. Later in the 80s, two more action ﬁlms were made on the island, Escuadrón by José Antonio de la Loma and the comedy The trouble with spies starring Donald Sutherland. We shouldn’t forget to mention that several erotic ﬁlms have featured the island as their setting, but that would take up a whole volume.
One of the most critically acclaimed ﬁlms set in Ibiza is F For Fake, written and directed by Orson Welles. In a documentary fashion, the ﬁlm recounts the story of Elmyr de Hory, the famous art forger, who lived in Ibiza, and his biographer, Clifford Irving.
Long is the list of directors that have worked on the island. For one, Allan King, a renowned Canadian documentarist, ﬁlmed the comedy Running Away Backwards here. Some of its settings include La Marina, Portinatx or Es Figueral. Spanish ﬁlmmakers Antonio Bardem and Luís García Berlanga collaborated in the script of the unﬁnished Cerco de Ira, set in the Pityuses too. Manuel Summers, another Spanish director, visited the island to ﬁlm twice. In the late 1960s ﬁrst, to make ¿Por qué te engaña tu marido?. One of the scenes showed protagonist Allfredo Landa performing in Teatro Pereyra in all its glory. Later, in the 80, Summers made it back to the island to ﬁlm Hombres G’s Sufre Mamón, in which the mythical Ku club appeared.
As for famous stars working in Ibiza, to name a few, Angela Lansbury, well-known for her role as detective Jessica Fletcher, starred in a TV ﬁlm based on the novel The Shell Seekers. Also, a young Clive Owen worked in An Evening With Gary Lineker, a British TV production.
If you’d like to learn more about the relation between the island and ﬁlms we recommend checking out the exhibition ‘50 anys de cinema a Eivissa. Mostra gràﬁca 1949-1999. Col·lecció: Enrique Villalonga’ , which is held in six different venues around the island. To know more, you can check the events calendar.
Story Told By Maite Alvite