Two ladies, Pepi and her daughter Mai, they appear seated in their beach chairs in the sand of the Barceloneta. They look at the camera and tell their problem. They are overwhelmed because of tourism
overcrowded and its devastating effects. "They're throwing us out of the neighborhood! The beach has been stolen! This is guirilandia! "They exclaim.
The two women star in one of the four stories told in
City for sale
, documentary that puts face and eyes to the dramas caused by the tourist saturation and the real estate operations linked to the phenomenon in the city of Barcelona. The film, directed by Laura Álvarez, was presented yesterday at the Malaga Film Festival.
Each of the stories is told by fragments that combine to maintain a certain intrigue
The film focuses on different cases of harassment of tenants by companies that have acquired the properties of their homes or adjacent buildings. The main protagonist is Montse, neighbor of the street of the Pi, in the Gothic Quarter. There she has lived for 49 years with her husband and, at this moment, with a daughter and two grandchildren. The firm that projects a restaurant on the farm is trying to leave, supposedly, and does it by all means; a lawsuit under accusations of noncompliance with the rules, a series of very disturbing works and several fumigation sessions that she, who suffers from asthma, make her fear for her health. "I'm not going to give them the pleasure of dying," he says. The documentary also explains the case of the old trade unionist Jordi Papell, who lives in a resistance regime in a building that has recently been transformed into a hotel … except on the island where he has converted his home. To enter his house, in the area of Santa Caterina del Casc Antic, Jordi has to call the reception of the establishment – it has no key – and cross the sometimes very busy lobby. Not far from there Carolina resides, although already for a short time because the mass tourism and the impossibility of facing the prices in Ciutat Vella have forced her to move, in particular to Guinardó. Against this, Jordi and Mai fight organically, in this last case after part of the family has had to move to Poble Nou and Sant Adrià.
Each of the stories of City for sale, shot between 2016 and 2018, is told by fragments that are combined to maintain a certain intrigue. The narrative is carried out by the characters themselves, with a few key facts and statements from politicians trying to iron out the issue. The most dramatic scenes follow other more relaxed or even comical. "I was clear that the documentary, to be effective, should have a narrative scheme typical of fiction although obviously we are talking about real events," the director explains to La Vanguardia. And although the situations that are exposed in the film are generally known, not only in Barcelona but in dozens of cities in Spain and Europe, its concretion through Montse, Jordi, Carolina, Pepi and Mai allows to understand much better the ordeal whereby thousands of neighbors here and there are going through the lack of control of urban mass tourism; of the prices that shoot up and of the companies that corner the neighbors. You put yourself in their shoes and that is not drama anymore. It is terror.