The Spaghetti western lived its golden age back in the ‘60s and ‘70s and, although it may surprise us, Spain played a very important role in its development. In the places of the Desert of Tabernas, Almería, was the scene of more than 600 films. They were films such as the famous “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” or “Death Rides a Horse”. More than four decades later the reality of these places is very different, in 2016 only 5 feature films were filmed. The lack of economic opportunities, poor connections and services have made depopulation the main enemy for people like Los Albaricoques. "Cowboys of the Desert", a project of ŠKODA, aims to bring back the glow of the spaghetti western era to the entire area of the Tabernas Desert.
By Tania Lorenzo Parras
July 28, 2017
In the ‘60's, Clint Eastwood walked the streets of the town of Los Albaricoques, Almeria. The Desert of Tabernas witnessed the first steps of this legend that, despite all his roles interpreted and to be interpreted, will forever be remembered with a cowboy hat, a frown and a cheroot in his mouth. Between the Sierras of the Filambres and Alhamilla the legend of the "Man With No Name" was born and one that is known by almost all the inhabitants of the Los Albaricoques, who were used as extras, stuntmen and riders in the films of the spaghetti western. The area experienced an economic splendor, some of the children working as extras made more money than their parents working in the nearby mines. Directors like Sergio Leone, Steven Spielberg, David Lean, Orson Welles, John Huston, George Lucas, and actors like Henry Fonda, Burt Lancaster, Harrison Ford and Sean Connery. However, this glow had an expiration date, the decline of the genre from the 1970s again transformed the area into the depressed region that it was before the western.
The Desert of Tabernas was key to the development of western cinema with a European label. It has been the scene of titles as famous as “A Fistful of Dollars”, “Duck You Sucker” and “Once Upon a Time in the West”. The landscapes of this Almerian desert have been the set of almost 600 films. In the golden age of the genre the shot up to 50 films a year. However, in the last year only 5 feature films were filmed. The lack of economic opportunities and connections has forced the inhabitants of villages like Los Albaricoques to emigrate. With the aim of revitalizing the area, the ŠKODA car brand has launched the "The Cowboys of the Desert" project, a tribute to the few residents loyal to the area.
The initiative aims to raise awareness of the problem and at the same time seek a solution to the problems of these peoples through two ways of action. The first is the launch of a free "diligence" service in which ŠKODA KODIAQ will be in charge of ensuring the transport of the neighbors through the desert. Secondly, the brand has proposed revitalizing the western, involving film personalities and promoting this industry through the sponsorship of the Almeria Western Film Festival, which has been on going for seven years. To publicize these initiatives ŠKODA has launched a western-style film directed by Paco Caballero, in which the desolation that harasses these peoples is presented as an outlaw from the west. The challenge of this film, in which the inhabitants of the towns have acted in, is to achieve 5,000,000 views to finance the implementation of the service with diligence. With this campaign, collected under the hashtag #LuchandoContraLaDespopulation, it is intended to help the inhabitants of these places with their problem of mobility and depopulation, and at the same time, to honor the place that once was key in the history of cinema and attracted much glamor, tourism and business to our country.