Dreaming Leone

by Alvaro Deprit

In the historical context of the crisis and limited horizons, the imaginary Western is the projection of a possibility of the West.

In the 70s and 80s, the Tabernas desert near Almeria in Southern Spain became the Hollywood of Westerns. It was here that legendary filmmaker Sergio Leone made movies like Once Upon a Time in the West, For a Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, making the desert of Tabernas, with its landscapes, movie sets, and relatively low cost, a significant point of reference for Westerns. In the 90s, filmmakers stopped making movies in Almeria mainly because the conditions were no longer affordable.

In the last decades, the film sets were turned into fairgrounds or were abandoned, and the people who worked and lived around the cinema circuit, such as stuntmen and extras, dedicated themselves to doing Western performances to attract tourists, yearning for the glory days of Western movies, revealing the existence of a disappearing world.

The melancholy does not only come from the end of a golden era in cinema: it has become an imitation of an imitation and the images a castle of meanings.