I love movies. I love movie stars (note: different to actors, though I also love them), I love cinematography, I love soundtracks, I love scores, I love movie posters, I love cleverly written scripts, I love surround sound, I love the big screen, I love red velveteen chairs with cup holders for your oversized Coca Cola, I love oversized Coca Cola, I love previews, I love reading the credits as they roll… It’s just magical. I’d often thought if I didn’t live in Ibiza and write a blog, perhaps I’d live in Hollywood and work (like everyone else) in the movies – but then one day I went to Hollywood and didn’t find the real thing quite as magical as a silver screen experience, so I came back to my life as a mild mannered anonymous blogger and continued to pine about the lack of cinematic experiences in my life on the white isle.
You see, when I first moved to the island, movies were only screened in Spanish. Very occasionally there’d be a film shown in VO at the multiplex in town, but it would always be some old arthouse movie I had already seen years before, so the magic just wasn’t quite the same. The very first thing I did when I took a holiday to NYC in 2013, after living in Ibiza for seven years, was go to the cinema in Time Square (in case you’re wondering – I saw Frozen and have subsequently watched the DVD about once a week ever since. It was that special). I flew to Barcelona to go to a midnight screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the opening day last December. Just to give you an idea of how much I love the movies. Anyway! Back to Ibiza, I was thrilled a few years ago when a company called Lime in the Coconut (rebranded this year as Cinema Paradiso Ibiza) started screening films in an open-air cinema setting in the magical setting of Dalt Vila. My hood. And then the year after that, Amante started hosting open-air cinema nights, and then during the winter just gone by, the retro-esque (it’s just authentically old, it wasn’t styled by a hipster) Cine Regio in San Antonio started screening movies in English twice a week. I was in heaven. (Note: Yes I know I could watch movies in Spanish if I wanted to, but the magic gets a little lost in translation, and the mismatched lip-syncing drives me crazy.)
Movies are finally creeping into expat Ibiza culture, and so when I was invited to attend the exclusive premiere of the new set-in-Ibiza flick called White Island, adapted from author Colin Butts’ book ‘A Bus Could Run You Over’ (adapted by the same author), I couldn’t have said RSVP’d ‘yes’ fast enough. It was a film about my favourite island, shown in my favourite place (on the pink tennis court at Pikes at Ibiza Rocks House) and set up by my favourite open air movie team (Cinema Paradiso Ibiza), which meant comfy beanbeds to replace the velveteen chairs and wine to replace my oversized Coke! Of course, like any Ibiza invitation, I was instantly set back by the dress code. WHITE. Obviously. You’d think by the nature of my job, I’d have a wardrobe full of the shade, but I have to admit, it’s just not my colour! And let’s be honest – white is a summer colour. I do have some little white shorts and some light white tops… but it’s May. It was late at night. It’s cold. And annoyingly, I couldn’t just ‘borrow’ from our fashion boutique, because it was a weekend and our office was locked! A few creative twists on the variation resulting in a look that was a cross between a toga party and a snowman meant I was finally dressed for the occasion. And so it was off to Pikes, the happiest place on earth!
We arrived to red carpet (I guess white just would have been impractical), a free-flowing bar (WAY better than an oversized coke) and free-popping popcorn, served up by the cutest chicas in vintage styled cigarette girl outfits, complete with pillbox hats. The pink tennis court was illuminated by the light of the full moon and awash with white (although of course there was ONE disrespectful – let’s call him a pop-hopper – who dressed head to toe in black), some very chic and stylish, some perhaps could have done with a stylist’s touch (remember, white does NOT hide a multitude of sins and pigtails and lace just don’t work on anyone over 40), but who am I to criticise? I looked like Olaf from Frozen! In typical Ibiza style, most of the guests were late and almost all refused to take their beanbed until the very last minute – the invite list was a veritable who’s who of Ibiza spanning about three decades, with around 40-percent of the attendees flying in from the UK for the occasion, so it seemed there was a lot of catching up to do. When Colin Butts took to the microphone to make a speech prior to the screening, there really wasn’t a dry eye in the house – it was a pretty special moment.
Then it was time. That magical minute as the production house logo comes up on the screen and the movie is about to start. I was on the edge of my beanbed in anticipation. Having never read the book, I had no idea what the film was going to be about (shame on me, yes – I’ve downloaded it for this weekend)… but as it had been shot in Ibiza, I knew quite a few people who made an appearance as an extra, which I figured would be worth looking out for if nothing else. Onto the movie itself. Beautiful production. Amazing shots of our beautiful island. Lots of fun guessing which venues had been transformed into make-believe beach bars and even more fun trying to guess if any of the characters were based on people we know. I was surprised to discover that I thought the soundtrack was fabulous (as I think often movies these days lean more towards poppy EDM but it wasn’t the case) and the actors, well, they weren’t all that bad either. Mostly unknowns. An East Ender here. A chubby Billy Zane there. A quick cameo by the back of Carl Cox’s head. A British girl faking a Spanish accent (why they didn’t hire a local girl I’ll never understand). And the aforementioned pop hopper holding a gun like it was the most unnatural thing in the world. OBVS. He’s not an OG hip hopper (nor, some would say, an actor).
I’m not a film critic by any means, so I’m not going to spoil the film for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but I’ll just say it’s yet another Ibiza movie that I’d prefer my mother didn’t see as it shows the darker, seedier side of the island that – while admittedly it does exist – tends to present the island in a bad light to those who don’t know and love it as we do. It sometimes makes me a bit sad that there doesn’t seem to be any movie or TV show about Ibiza that captures the true essence of the island, that magic so many of us feel (whether you live here or not) – and then other times, I’m kind of happy, because I think, if the rest of the world only KNEW how special it was, we’d be overrun! There’s a wonderful line at the end of the film spoken by the protagonist that sums up how I feel about movies and about Ibiza. “Everybody’s got to find their thing, the thing that makes them come alive for all the right reasons.” Hmmm. Ibiza in the movies. Who needs Hollywood? Maybe that’s my destiny, right there… Photography by James Alexander Chapman for Pikes at Ibiza Rocks House