In all corners of the planet, people know Cartagena de Indias is one of the most beautiful cities, not just of the Caribbean, but also of the entire world.
Its Colonial style architecture, its historic walls and charming facades, as well as its beaches, are all magnificent settings for the realization of any film production. All of what surely in other places would have to acclimate and build to resemble a vintage location, Cartagena has it in abundance and in a very good state of conservation.
Different production companies have come to the city searching for the unique takes that this place offers, a delight for all of those who visit it. Whether the script takes place in “El Corralito de Piedra” (another way of naming Cartagena), or perhaps its streets get adapted as some other place of the world, real or fiction, the contribution of Cartagena to the cinematography and photography of any production is invaluable and very difficult to replicate.
So far, during this 2018, Cartagena has hosted at least three Hollywood super productions, in which, recognized stars such as Will Smith (“Gemini Man”), Charlize Theron (“Flarsky”), and Jim Caviezel (“The Sound of Freedom”), came to the city to leave their mark. They did not just work during the production, but also enjoyed their staying in La Heroica, which goes beyond from being a plain movie set, to become a truly dramatic element of the film.
Let’s remember that everything started back in 1964, when famous actress and princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly, and the American actor Stewart Granger, shot on the streets of the city some of the scenes for the film “Green Fire”, which tells a story inspired by the exploitation and commercialization of emeralds. Here is a list with some of the most important titles of the films that have been shot in Cartagena:
La Quemada (1969)
The colonial streets, as well as the cane crops and the beach, were the perfect locations for shooting this film directed by Gillo Pontecorvo and starring by the Academy Award winner Marlon Brando. A curious fact about the film, was that a corn farmer named Evaristo Márquez became an international star thanks to the film.
Perhaps the most important film shot in Cartagena. Directed by the French-British Roland Joffé, and starring Robert de Niro and Jeremy Irons, it was recognized with the 1986 Oscar Award for Best Photography. It tells the story about the work of Jesuit missionaries in the jungles of South America. The republican constructions, as well as the colonial architecture of the walled city, were presented impeccably. Winner of the 1986 Golden Palm of the Cannes Film Festival.
It was the first work by Nobel Prize for Literature Gabriel García Márquez taken to the big international screen. In this adaptation directed by Italian Francesco Rossi, were included locations of Cartagena, Mompox and Pasacaballos, the ones were recreated as market and slave squares. This Italian-Colombian-French production was presented at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.
Although it was not taken to the big screen, this miniseries co-produced by Great Britain and Italy, was shot in a film style and had a cost close to the 20 million dollars. Directed by Alastair Reid and Fernando Ghi, this production is based on the literary work by Joseph Conrad. Pasacaballos and the Caño del Loro were witnesses of some of the most important scenes. It was released in 1996 at the Festival of Italy.
Another literary work by Gabriel García Márquez serves as inspiration for a beautiful script. “El Amor en los Tiempos del Cólera”, directed by Mike Newell and scripted by South African Ronald Harwood, presents a bright Javier Bardem playing the role of a romantic young man who loses the woman of his dreams, Fermina Daza, thanks to a millionaire that manages to conquer her.
A French-Colombian film from producer and director Alain Monne. It tells the story of a former boxer who, with no other place to go, has to work as a male nurse to take care of a young woman, victim of a serious accident that left her quadriplegic. The old colonial houses as well as the beauty and romanticism of its streets gave this film the perfect tone. Starring Sophie Marceau and Chistopher Lambert, it also has the participation of Colombian actress Margarita Rosa de Francisco.
Colombian film from executive producer Iván García and directed by Harold Trompetero. It was released in Colombian movie theaters on December 25, 2009. Starring recognized Hollywood actor with Colombian origins, John Lequizamo, and actress Karen Martínez, the movie tells the story of a family that arrives to Cartagena looking to fulfill their most desired dream: Getting to know the sea.
The gorgeous sunsets, the old walls, and the Historical Center, captivated Argentinian Daniela Goggi, director of the film “El Hilo Rojo”, who did not hesitate to film several scenes of her movie in La Heroica taking advantage of its great beauty. Released in May 2016, this film counts with the performances of actresses Eugenia “China” Suárez and Guillermina Valdés, and the actors Benjamín Vicuña and Hugo Silva.
Some other films that have chosen Cartagena as a movie set are “Romancing the Stone” (1984), directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. Also, in 2011, the film “Lecciones Para un Beso”, starring Cristina Umaña and directed by Juan Pablo Bustamante, was filmed in the city. Likewise, some international tv shows have shot some of their episodes in La Heroica: NCIS (2008) and Narcos (2017).
Without a doubt this is only the beginning for Cartagena taking the role of an international movie set. Surely the future will bring many more stories thanks to the positive experiences from the production teams that have worked in the city. This will be an adventure that famous stars will not want to miss, a chance to film in a city as magical and photogenic as Cartagena. Professional logistics, trained extras, unforgettable facades and imposing landscapes, are all part of the menu to make of Cartagena one of the best movie locations in the whole world.