Vicky, Cristina and Social Exclusion in Barcelona: A Tale of Two Cities

  • Farid Samir Benavides-VanegasEmail author


Barcelona has become one of the most touristic cities in the world, with more than 18 million visitors per year, coming to a city with only 1.7 million inhabitants. The model of tourism is depredatory, destroying old neighborhoods and pushing Catalans out of the city. At the same time, people from the Global South come to the city, but in more precarious conditions. They find a city that does not welcome them and that puts them in the worst conditions. I want to focus on two movies that present Barcelona as an ill city. On the one hand, we have Woody Allen’s Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona (2008), a movie that shows the upper-class American tourism in a European city. On the other hand, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Biutiful (2010), also starred by Javier Bardem, shows us another story about Barcelona. This is a movie that pays attention to the bottom of the well, Spanish lower-class workers struggling shoulder to shoulder with lower class migrants, people who will never enjoy the life that Allen`s characters have. In this paper I want to show how film can represent illness in different ways. To do so, I first explain, very briefly, the Barcelona model, a model of inclusive, modern city that Vicky and Cristina enjoy. But, this model insofar as it includes people, it excludes them. I will show the construction of the City from 1888 to 1992/2004 and how it has created spaces of inclusion and exclusion. In the second part, I will analyze the right to housing and the housing crisis that is currently affecting the city. In this part, I want to focus both in the crisis and in the social mobilization that it has brought about. After constructing this context, I will analyze the two movies, as instruments to show/hide the diseases of the city.


Film Urban development Social exclusion Social mobilization 



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Communications and International RelationsBarcelonaSpain

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