Mirambel has scenery worthy of a film. And not only for being considered one of the most beautiful villages in Spain or for its declaration as a Historic-Artistic Site, but for having been the scene of filming with which it has made the leap to the big screen as with ‘In the arms of a mature woman’ or ‘Land and Freedom’.
However, before debuting on the audiovisual scene, this town in Teruel served as inspiration for Pío Baroja. After his visit to Mirambel in 1930, the famous writer collected the stories and sensations lived there for his work ‘La venta de Mirambel’, published in 1931. Among his lines we can read that “Mirambel has remained a closed, hieratic, mysterious village. It looks like a dead animal in its shell”.
Years later, in 1987, this same place became a film set to host the recording of some of the scenes of the Spanish Radio and Television series, ‘Clase Media’, directed by Vicente Amadeo and starring actors such as Charo López, Antonio Resines, Antonio Ferrandis and Amparo Larrañaga.
Mirambel at the Goya Awards
This Aragonese village made the leap to the big screen, toured the world and reached the Goya Awards. In 1997, the Spaniard Manuel Lombardero chose this location as the setting for some of the scenes in his film ‘En brazos de una mujer madura’ (In the arms of a mature woman). Set in the Civil War, this film received two nominations for the Goya Awards in 1998 with José Luis Alcaine and Josep Rosell as candidates for best cinematography and best art direction, respectively.
However, by then, Mirambel had already won a statuette at the hands of Ken Loach. In 1995, this town in Teruel became the location chosen by the British director to shoot his film ‘Land and Freedom’: “We were looking for a small town, without many marks of modernity that we had to disguise for the shooting. Visually, Mirambel was the right place. The spaces, the architecture and the construction of the town centre were perfect,” he explained.
The adventures of the militiamen of the Workers Party of Marxist Unification in the Aragonese front, during the Spanish Civil War, had Aragonese extras. As reported from the town of Teruel, there were more than 200 who participated in the filming, coming from different parts of the region.
The film premiered on April 7, 1995, became one of the most emblematic of the filmmaker, winning a Goya Award for best new actress for Rosana Pastor, in 1996.
A film route
The mark of the British director is part of the history of Mirambel and the daily life of its inhabitants, thanks to Ken Loach Street. A recognition that was announced during the director’s visit to the Aragonese village in 2019, twenty-five years after the filming.
But this is not the only film set that is part of the town of Teruel. Up to ten spaces are those that make up the tourist-cultural route of Mirambel that, since its premiere in 2017, allows you to discover the corners of recording of ‘Tierra y Libertad’. The route begins in the street Nueva de Mirambel, also known as Calle del Ángel, where the first shooting of the film takes place. Throughout the film, other places such as Agustín Pastor street or Remolinos street are visited.
Going up Iglesia Street, we arrive at the parish church of Santa Margarita, where the map places two scenes of the film: the attack of the assailants and the capture of the priest who was shooting from the tower. Other points include the town centre, where Loach filmed a large part of the film, according to the Aragonese town; as well as Agustín Pastor street, where an interior scene was filmed in the well-known Casa Masas.
Virgen Street also witnessed the occasional attack and the fate of the funeral procession of the fallen, after a walk along Rosario Street. In addition to being able to walk through the spaces that made up this film set, it is possible to learn the ins and outs of the history and the making of the film. This is told by Mario Ornat in his book ‘Bienvenido Mister Loach: historia del rodaje de Tierra y libertad… o de cómo la revolución llegó a Mirambel’, published in 2015, the year that marked the twentieth anniversary of the premiere of the film.
Other scenarios of Aragon
Like Mirambel, there are other places in Aragon that have been the setting for great films. In fact, the oldest film of the Spanish filmography that is preserved is the one filmed by Eduardo Jimeno Correas in 1899, ‘Salida de misa de 12 del Pilar’, which was set in the emblematic Plaza de Nuestra Señora del Pilar.
The Aragonese provinces have not gone unnoticed by many national and international film directors. Proof of this are works such as ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ by Ridley Scott, with which Loarre Castle shone on the big screen; or others like ‘Julieta’ by Almodóvar, ‘Palm trees in the snow’, directed by González Molina, or ‘Villaviciosa de al lado’, by Nacho García Velilla.