As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, Ibiza is and has been for many decades, a worldwide example when it comes to cinema. On this occasion, we will focus on some of the best films which are inspired by our stunning island during its golden age: the 60’s.
Back then, Ibiza was the typical rural maritime/fisherman village, which is what made it a destination with a very special touch. Throughout the streets of Dalt Vila, you could breath an air of unbeatable diversity, a place where hippie foreigners mingled with the Ibizan women, dressed in their traditional outfits …. An ideal atmosphere for the movies being shot at the time and that many important directors took advantage of. It was precisely during the mid 60’s when Ibiza became the film set of many major movies such as, “Hallucination Generation”, “Zarabanda bing bing” and “3S3, Agente Especial”.
This drama film directed by Edward Mann tells the story of Bill, a young American, that lands in Ibiza to meet his friend Denny, who live together with other foreigners in search of emotions, sexual promiscuity and the consumption of drugs. Bill loses all his money playing cards and in order to pay his debts, he accepts—under the influence of drugs, to participate in a robbery in Barcelona.
The shooting began on June 10th, 1965 and the images filmed in the Marina district stand out for reflecting the bohemian and cosmopolitan vibe mentioned earlier. Moreover, this movie also has shots filmed on several Ibizan beaches and in different locations throughout Barcelona.
In several productions shot at the time, a paradise-like place is depicted, with a desirable climate and breathtaking landscapes—hedonistic life full of excesses and a lot of partying. This is an idea that many people, to this day, still have due to the glorification of a fantasy destination, where routine fades and gives way to new situations— somewhat becoming unforgettable experiences that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else.
This distorted vision of Ibizan lifestyle was manifested above all by foreign directors who saw the island as a place with a magical aura, a place where you could escape from reality. This idea became stronger as the island gained popularity.
On August 2nd, 1965 the movie “Zarabanda, bing, bing” began shooting— a movie inspired in a series of featured films based on the secret agent James Bond. The movie is directed by the late José María Forqué and in it we can see various locations on the island—in particular shots filmed in the Marina and Dalt Vila neighbourhood in the city of Ibiza, spots in Punta Arabí and the Hotel Argamassa (which was where the crew stayed during the filming) in Santa Eulària, as well as the scenes shot on Benirràs beach in Sant Joan—featuring the islet Cap Bernat, shown on various posters of the film.
In line with the style of movies shot on the island at the time, we also have “3S3 Agente Especial“, the second part of “Agente 3S3, pasaporte para el infierno“, released a year earlier in 1965. During the time, the popularity of film productions focused on the subgenres of “sword-and-sandal, “spaghetti western” and “secret agent films” was remarkable.
This European co-production was filmed in different locations and the scenes shot on the island were filmed in September of 1965—a particularly cinematic year. In, “3S4 Agente Especial” streets of the old quarter of Vila, el Puig de Missa of Santa Eulària, the church of Sant Josep, the exterior of the airport and different shots of the coastline can be seen. The film features a car chase scene, shot between the narrow streets of Santa Eulària and Vila.
SOURCE: IbizaFilmOffice (imagen of the shooting)
The blockbuster of all films shot in Ibiza during that decade was Barbet Schroeder’s, “More” which we have discussed many times before. The film premiered in the Critics’ Week section of the 1969 Cannes Film Festival and, because of Franco’s censorship, it wasn’t until 1977 that it was released in Spain. “More” marked a before and an after. Ibiza began to resonate worldwide and became the favorite destination of the hippie movement and the counterculture of the late 1960s. Although much of the popularity it enjoyed has faded away, it is still remembered today since the famous rock group Pink Floyd composed the film’s soundtrack.
Much of the script was written by Schroeder at a restaurant in the Vila port, during the winter of 1967 and several scenes were shot in the family home owned by the director on the island.
Another emblematic location of the famous film was the hotel El Corsario located in Dalt Vila. The establishment opened its doors in 1954 and is shown in the production as the headquarters of the Nazi drug-trafficking character Ernesto Wolf. The hotel also served as a residence for the film crew while they were on the island.
“More” was filmed in Paris, Ibiza and Formentera in 1968. The shots on the island were filmed during the months of October and November. The filming was done undercover due to the different sex scenes and consumption of drugs featured. The films show full-on nudity and a cautious threesome between a man and two women—something that was highly controversial in the world of cinematography at the time and especially in a country governed by a dictatorship. For this reason, this scene was not included in the official script presented to the Committee of Film Censorship.
The locations chosen for the film include the Punta Galera beach (where there was already nudism), Cap Nonó, Sa Penya and Dalt Vila – scenes showing the island’s winter. In summer, we can see the main characters on beautiful coves and in the Marina district.
According to various articles at the time, one of the reasons filmmakers were attracted to the island was the fact that there wasn’t as much censorship control as there was on the rest of the peninsula. In addition, the Franco regime used to be more permissive with foreign productions—a somewhat forced attempt to appear open-minded to the rest of the world .
As we mentioned at the beginning, most of the films shot in the 60’s portrayed Ibiza as the ideal destination for countless reasons, mainly focusing on its festive atmosphere. Nonetheless, there were some exceptions such as, “Running Away Backwards” or “Léa, l’hiver“, a French film shot, in this case, in the early 1970s that criticizes the tourist industry in Ibiza.
In short, and broadly speaking, the favorite locations for filmmakers in the 1960s were Dalt Vila and the Marina, which became the island’s “identifiable image”. Santa Eulària also appears in film scenes, specifically Puig de Missa and the Town Hall, as well as the wonderful beaches and coves that we’re lucky enough to enjoy, such as the bay of Sant Antoni, Punta Galera, ses Salines, s’Aigua Blanca and Benirràs, as we have shown in the examples of previous films.
After this brief timeline of the most important productions shot in Ibiza in the 1960s, and the most featured locations, we can only encourage you to watch and admire the essence of the island during its golden age; the awakening of this magical place that year after year continues to lure in those who fall under its spell, magnificently captured in the films we have discussed thanks to their highly artistic screening.
I was staying at the D’Argamassa at the time of shooting (I was 10 years old and we were on holiday from England) – I remember a vintage car being used in one shot, it was rigged to appear to be driverless while moving around near the entrance to the hotel. Also a male stuntman (dressed up as one of the female leads?) scaling the side of the hotel in another shot. My father took a 8mm cine shot at the time but this unfortunately has been lost