Saturday, December 12, 2020


 Starting with the Spanish Historical Heritage law, the only references to cinematographic heritage are made in Title VII, Chapter II, Article 50.2, which says:

2. Likewise, the copies produced by editions of cinematographic films, records, photographs, audiovisual materials or other similar, whatever their material support, of which they do not appear, form part of the Spanish Historical Heritage and the corresponding regime will be applied to the Bibliographic Heritage. at least three copies in public services, or one in the case of motion pictures

In other words, state protection covers only the films themselves, which are considered movable property, not finding in the law any specific reference to other elements that are part of film production.

This situation improved somewhat in 2001, when Law 15/2001 of July 9 was approved, on the promotion and promotion of cinematography and the audiovisual sector. This Law was an important step in the recognition of the cultural value of cinematographic and audiovisual creation. However, although the protection was extended to other cinematographic elements such as scripts, photographs, books, posters, covers or materials used in the filming (competence attributed to the Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts), it still did not consider the sets of cinema, as part of this heritage.

Despite this worrying situation for the sets, there may still be some hope. If we carefully analyze the content of the Historical Heritage Law, the latter may indeed have a certain fit in some of its sections.

Thus, in its Preliminary Title, first article, the following is stated:

First article

1.The protection, enhancement and transmission to future generations of the Spanish Historical Heritage are the object of this Law.

2.The Spanish Historical Heritage is made up of buildings and movable objects of artistic, historical, paleontological, archaeological, ethnographic, scientific or technical interest. Documentary and bibliographic heritage, archaeological sites and sites, as well as natural sites, gardens and parks, which have artistic, historical or anthropological value are also part of it.

Likewise, the assets that make up the Intangible Cultural Heritage are part of the Spanish Historical Heritage, in accordance with what is established by its special legislation.

3. The most relevant assets of the Spanish Historical Heritage must be inventoried or declared of cultural interest in the terms provided in this Law.

According to this article, in order to legally preserve film sets and consider them part of the Spanish cultural heritage, they must be considered as real estate and declared of cultural interest. This declaration supposes for the cultural good, to be protected, restored and put in value in the face of future generations. But: can an old film set be considered real property?

To answer this question, we must go back to the Spanish Historical Heritage law, in which Title II (On real estate), article 14, says: 

Article fourteen

1.For the purposes of this Law, in addition to those listed in article 334 of the Civil Code, any elements that may be considered consubstantial with buildings and are part of them or of their exorno, or have formed it, are considered real estate. , although in the case of being able to be separated, they constitute a perfect whole that can be easily applied to other constructions or uses different from their original one, whatever the matter of which they are formed and although their separation does not visibly damage the historical or artistic merit of the property to the that are attached.

2. The real estate integrated in the Spanish Historical Heritage can be declared Monuments, Gardens, Complexes and Historical Sites, as well as Archaeological Zones, all of them as Assets of Cultural Interest.

As we can see, in the first paragraph of this article 14, reference is made to article 334 of the Civil Code (which has been in force since no less than 1889), in which first point it says:

They are real estate:

1. The lands, buildings, roads and constructions of all kinds attached to the ground.

In other words, any construction carried out on the ground is a real property and, therefore, can be considered worthy of protection. And certainly, cinematographic sets are constructions made on the ground. But, in order to protect them, according to the aforementioned Historical Heritage Law, the place must be declared within one of the five categories established in point 2 of article fourteen and described in article fifteen. The categories are the following: Monument, Historic Garden, Historic Site, Historic Site or Archaeological Zone.

The cinematographic sets, although they do not fit perfectly into any of these categories, taking into account the definitions that are offered, perhaps in a very sui generis way, they could be included in three of them. That is, they could be declared a Monument, Historic Site or even Archaeological Zone. To verify this, we are going to see, below, the definitions of these three categories given in article 15 of the aforementioned law:

Monuments are those real estate that constitute architectural or engineering achievements, or works of colossal sculpture provided they have historical, artistic, scientific or social interest.

According to this definition, a cinematographic set could perfectly be considered as a Monument, since on many occasions it is about architectural constructions that may have historical or artistic importance, due to the category of the films that have been shot there. It is true that most of the time they are constructions made with flimsy and not very durable materials. But it is also true that, for many shootings, parts of buildings or other structures have been erected, or even entire buildings, whose construction requires architectural knowledge.

                  [To be continued tomorrow]

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