Owl’s Flat Ground, Tabernas, Almería

This stunning Natural Site covers 280 km2 and is located only 30 kilometres far from the city of Almeria. It is one of the most famous landscapes within the History of Film as a result of the tremendous success achieved by the spaghetti western movies in the 60s and 70s. More than 300 sunny days per year and its singular geological formations (some of them very similar to the lunar landscape) makes this incomparable space a perfect set for every audio-visual production.

Here was filmed…

El Llano del Búho is located in the heart of Tabernas Desert. To reach this point you have to leave the road to Poblado Fort Bravo. Once you have crossed under the road bridge, between the promenades to the town, there is a diversion on the road to the right, a promenade that goes directly to this singular location that has been immortalized in numerous films.

In Exodus, Llano del Búho represents the surrounding areas of the city of Qadesh, where the famous fight named after this city takes place confronting the Egyptian army lead by Ramses against the Hittites. It is the second sequence in the film and contains spectacular action scenes developed with horses, chariots and numerous extras. Far from being only a spectacular beginning for the film, it also helps the viewer to understand the close relationship between Moses and Ramses, being the second one saved by the first one. They have grown up as brothers and that is the way they behave. This is the reason why the counterpoint in the story when they became enemies is so important.

The shooting covered more than a week, even though the preparation of the scene, that in the screen takes about two minutes, covered a few months. A whole set was built in the place including tents and other smaller constructions to emulate a military camp. A few carps were also installed in the surrounding area for the Make-up and Costume Teams, and another space for the stables and the Prop Team, responsible of the battle chariots.

El Llano del Búho is a wide esplanade parallel to the main promenade that makes possible the recreation of a battle according to these specific characteristics. Its structure allows many camera shots and there are no limits in case you need to select a certain type of angle. In one of the backgrounds, in a far point, some housing and wiring can be detected. To avoid this, during the film shooting, big green screens were hung by cranes and erased later during the postproduction process.

The sequence was shot with different points of view by cameras strategically distributed and hidden all along the location. The editing process gave the filming a dynamism edge with the inclusion of the action scenes and many fragmentations. The main actors, Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton, had to make a very hard physical effort. Most of the extras who appeared in this scene were legionaries of the Brigada Rey Alfonso XII of the Spanish Legion, who took an active part in the film, both as extras in the battle scenes and in the support team in the area. In these scenes the participation of stuntmen was also essential.

In Llano del Búho (Tabernas) the most spectacular scenes of Patton were shot. It was the location chosen to represent the Battle of El Guettar, decisive point to achieve the victory by the Allies in the War in Africa. Furthermore, Tabernas Castle was the place chosen to shoot some scenes with some remains of the defensive structure, simulating to be Tunisia, and that were used in the film credits.

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