A rural getaway with Isabel Coixet

Who hasn’t fantasized about leaving the city for the countryside? Isabel Coixet presents us with this possibility in “Un amor”, her latest film about the process of personal reinvention experienced by Laia Costa.  Although the idea of a new beginning away from the city seems idyllic, sometimes things are not as easy as we imagine and facing new challenges, such as finding ourselves, can be disturbing. To shoot this plot, with her characteristic personal style, the director and screenwriter, winner of three Goya awards, takes us to La Rioja.

For more than a year, the film’s technical team has worked closely with the La Rioja Film Commission to make this production possible. Finding the perfect locations for Coixet has been crucial; the houses of the characters and the views of an incomparable natural environment make the settings themselves the protagonists of the film. Would you like to see them?

“Un amor” in La Rioja, Coixet’s latest film

“Un amor” is a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Sara Mesa, published by Anagrama. The award-winning director has counted on a first-class artistic cast, headed by Laia Costa, winner of a Goya for “Cinco Lobitos” (Alauda Ruiz de Azúa, 2022), and Hovik Keuchkerian, acclaimed for his participation in “Antidisturbios” (Rodrigo Sorogoyen, 2020) and “La casa de papel” (various directors, 2017). These two renowned talents work alongside other actors such as Hugo Silva, Luis Bermejo, Ingrid García-Johnsson and Francesco Carril.

Starting a new life in a new, rural environment is the starting point of “Un amor”. Nat (Laia Costa) leaves behind a suffocating urban life to seek refuge in the small fictional village of La Escapa. It is thanks to this change in the protagonist’s life that we begin to discover one of the most unknown rural areas of La Rioja. But in her new home, Nat will have to face the distrust of the neighbours, a house in ruins and a hostile landlord. Her relationship with her neighbour Andreas (Hovik Keuchkerian) will trigger an inner process in Nat, calling into question even the kind of woman she thinks she is.

Laia Costa and Hovik Keuchkerian in one of the scenes of the film / Buenapinta Media

Not far from Logroño, Isabel Coixet’s team, thanks to La Rioja Film Commission, found the perfect locations for the film. Between the towns of Nalda and Viguera, at the foot of Peña Bajenza, is the main setting: the ruined house where Nat settles and begins his process of personal evolution. Although these are not the only settings, as scenes were also filmed in Ribafrecha and Villalobar.

The film shows us a mountainous environment, more rugged than the classic images of the extensive vineyards of La Rioja. This may come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with the region, but despite being the smallest autonomous community in Spain, La Rioja has a wide variety of landscapes and ecosystems. The main shooting areas lie between two particularly interesting enclaves. On the one hand, there is the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve covering the Leza, Jubera, Cidacos and Alhama-Linares valleys. On the other hand, if we turn south, we find Los Cameros, a lush territory of oak, beech and rivers, whose heart is the Sierra de Cebollera Nature Reserve, a paradise for lovers of nature and outdoor activities.

Peñas de Islallana, in the municipality of Nalda / La Rioja Film Commission

Fresh ideas for your next trip

This film leaves you with an irresistible desire to go on a rural getaway, don’t you think? La Rioja is an ideal destination, with an excellent culture and gastronomy. Our proposal is suitable for a family holiday as well as for a romantic trip, because being the land of wine, wineries and tastings has an undeniable glamour. But La Rioja is much more, from the city of Logroño and its lively Laurel Street to the charming villages of the mentioned Sierra de Cebollera, it will not fail to surprise you. In this film territory you will find from high mountain landscapes in Ezcaray, to La Rioja Baja where Calahorra is the regional centre, without forgetting that the Monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla is the cradle of Castilian. If we have convinced you, and you are already starting to organize your trip, you will find recommendations on how to make the most of your visit at the La Rioja Tourism Service.

And as it’s not all about visiting monuments on holiday, how about adding a touch of art and culture to your trip? Summer is the time for La Rioja es de Cine, the International Short Film and Independent Film Festival, organized by the La Rioja Film Commission. This is a great plan to immerse yourself in the richness and culture of the territories of the DOC La Rioja through film.

What’s more, La Rioja is an ideal destination all year round. If you take a trip in autumn, as well as being the grape harvest season, we recommend a visit to Arnedo. This town is known for its caves, but also for its short film festival, Octubre Corto, organised in collaboration with the La Rioja Film Commission. It is one of the main events on the Spanish short film scene, where the winning short films, in the fiction and documentary categories, qualify for the Goya Awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

And if you come in December it also has its advantages, as in Logroño you’ll find less difficult to getting a “pincho” and, in addition, it is celebrated Los Trabajos y las Noches, the Film and Artistic Processes Festival, A very attractive proposal, ideal for taking the pulse of Riojan culture, which brings together workshops, seminars and film premieres.

The town of Ribafrecha, in the background, was another of the locations for the filming of “Un amor” / La Rioja Film Commission

La Rioja welcomes you with open arms, whether you’re following in the footsteps of the film “Un amor” or enjoying the film festivals that enrich the cultural life of this region. Charming villages, wineries with history and an endless number of experiences to discover. Are you going to wait to be told about them? Come and experience it for yourself!

By Victor Cervelló

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