Nora Navas becomes a bloodsucker in La vampira de Barcelona
- The actress stars in the feature-length fiction debut by Lluís Danés, which recently wrapped shooting: the gothic thriller is based on real-life events that took place in Barcelona in the early 1900s
Not only is Nora Navas the deputy vice-president of the Spanish Film Academy, but her face is also gracing the screens – those of the movie theatres and those in our homes, mainly thanks to Netflix – of virtually the whole world, as she plays the personal assistant of the crisis-riddled filmmaker played by Antonio Banderas in Pedro Almodóvar’s most recent hit, Pain & Glory [+see also:
interview: Antonio Banderas
Q&A: Pedro Almodóvar
film profile], which is in the running for two Oscars (the ceremony for which will take place this coming Sunday 9 February in Los Angeles). But a short time ago, the Catalan actress was engrossed in another, completely different, drama: the period film La vampira de Barcelona (lit. “The Vampire of Barcelona”), the first fiction feature by Lluís Danés (the man behind the documentary Llach, la revolta permanent), in which she breathes life into the titular woman, Enriqueta Martín, who was accused of a string of horrific crimes in the tumultuous Mediterranean city in the year 1912. The shoot for the film, which wrapped on 18 January (the movie will include scenes filmed in colour as well as others in black and white), began one month before that on an industrial estate in Martorell, where a 5,000-square-metre set was built in order to recreate Barcelona’s dark alleyways, freezing cells and a shady brothel, where all the social classes rubbed shoulders.
According to the synopsis provided by the producers, “In Barcelona at the start of the 20th century, two cities coexisted side by side: one bourgeois and modernist, the other squalid and downright filthy. The disappearance of Teresa Guitart, the daughter of a wealthy family, shocks the whole country, and the police identify a suspect: Enriqueta Martí, nicknamed The Vampire of the Raval [a neighbourhood of Barcelona]. Journalist Sebastià Comas will delve into the labyrinthine streets, brothels and hidden secrets of this neighbourhood, where he knows he will uncover the truth about the grisly child murders that the woman has been accused of. Soon, he will discover that there is a hidden elite that are trying their utmost to cover up their vices … whatever the cost.”
But how much truth is there in all of this? And how much urban legend? The newspaper columns of the time launched scathing attacks on former prostitute Enriqueta Martí, despite the fact that recent studies have found that she was a disturbed woman, wallowing in poverty and committed to her role as an intermediary. The final few months of her life played out in a Barcelona immersed in a period of upheaval – a city full of contrasts. La vampira de Barcelona is also the chronicle of an era of child exploitation and illiteracy, marked by the consequences of the Tragic Week that took place in 1909. With a screenplay written by María Jaén (who also penned the series Hernán), the main cast of this mystery-horror film is rounded off by Roger Casamajor (Black Bread [+see also:
film profile]), who will be playing the role of the journalist investigating the case, Bruna Cusí (Summer 1993 [+see also:
interview: Carla Simón
film profile]), Sergi López, Francesc Orella, Pablo Derqui and Núria Prims.
(Translated from Spanish)
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