Saturday, 17 May 2008

The Image of Barcelona / No ens preocupem

Lately, the ajuntament of Barcelona has expressed concerns that the water crisis is giving the city a bad reputation internationally. Personally, I am convinced that we will not see any drops in the tourism statistics. The Catalan capital has a solid reputation.

While I do not consider that we need help, I must confess that the presentation of Woody Allen’s latest movie - Vicky, Cristina, Barcelonain Cannes today, comes with a fantastic timing. The director himself believes that it will make North Americans want to visit the city and its beaches, to see the mix of old and modern architecture, the mix of cosmopolitan and genuinely Mediterranean influences with their own eyes.

For the movie, Spain’s two most famous actors were explicitly selected for their exotic seductive charisma. Neither of them is Catalan – Penélope Cruz comes from Madrid and Javier Bardem from Gran Canaria. While Woody Allen is well known for his strong affection for certain cities, he apparently is not so fond of countries. It does not matter - when he promotes Barcelona the whole of Catalonia will benefit.
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En Woody Allen diu que el bonic ambient que ell va intentar de captar en la seva última pel·lícula, ens semblarà totalment normal a nosaltres, ja que vivim per aquí. Jo no en sóc segur. Més aviat penso que Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona podrà ajudar-nos a retrobar el mite de la capital catalana. Oblidem els problemes que tenim en les infraestructures, oblidem la manca d’aigua – Barcelona és única en el mon.

I no ens preocupem de les negatives notícies que es van presentar en la premsa internacional quan va arribar el primer vaixell amb aigua de Tarragona. Personalment conéc una empresa estrangera que és en el procès d'establir-se aquí i almenys els turistes suecs segueixen venint com sempre. La imatge de Barcelona queda forta i no n’hi ha ningú que no vingui per por de no poder dutxar-se.


John said...

Woody Allen's not going to convince any Americans to visit Barcelona--he's too unpopular. Americans don't like his movies, because they're boring and pretentious, and they don't like him personally, because of the Soon-Yi scandal. If anything, I would say Woody's name on a movie would make Americans less likely to see it, not more so.

Now, a Woody Allen movie might persuade a few Europeans to visit Barcelona; however, the upper-middle socioeconomic class, Europeans who might go see a Woody Allen movie, rather look down on Spain as a working-class vacation spot. Never forget that Manuel, the waiter from Fawlty Towers, was from Barcelona, and so are all the wait staff in London restaurants today.

Erik Wirdheim said...

Hi John,

Please, escuse my late answer.

I'll take your word for Woody Allen not being popular in the US, and agree that some of his movies are quite pretentious.

However, as a tourist destination Spain manages to differentiate itself and, at least to Swedes, Barcelona above all appeals to affluent or/and educated people. Among those I beleive that the city is, if anything, still gaining popularity.

Among Swedes with lower incomes it is true that Spain has lost ground to Thailand, but those losses take place in Mallorca and the Canary Islands. Catalonia has never been popular with typical Swedish mass tourists.