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    Juliette Lewis, Marcia Gay Harden, Lili Taylor, María Barranco and director Susan Seidelman presented the filming of "Gaudí Afternoon" in Barcelona

    BARCELONA. They have been in Barcelona for three weeks, but they have been practically invisible to the press, even though Gaudí exteriors are being used in the filming. The team of "Gaudi afternoon" finally showed its face yesterday. Rather, five female faces and one male face, which belongs to producer Andrés Vicente Gómez.

    Missing was Australian Judy Davis, muse of Woody Allen, Oscar candidate for Best Actress in 1984, for "A Passage to India," and Best Supporting Actress in 1992 for "Husbands and Wives."

    "Judy," Gómez explained yesterday, "is unavailable. She has a hard day ahead of her, from 4 in the afternoon to 5 in the morning." She plays the role of Casandra, an American woman who is getting by in Barcelona as a translator. One day she receives a visit from a young, beautiful compatriot, Frankie (Marcia Gay Harden), who believes her husband is hiding in Barcelona. The translator turns detective and crosses paths with April (Juliette Lewis), the girlfriend of an ambiguous Ben, played by-surprise, surprise-Lili Taylor.

    Director Susan Seidelman ("Desperately Seeking Susan," the movie that launched Madonna's film career) describes "Gaudí Afternoon" as an "extravagant combination of social comedy and thriller, where Gaudí's architecture makes a strong presence, and reflects the personality of the characters. In the first three weeks, we have filmed at Casa Batlló, the Pedrera, Parc Güell, and the Chinese and Gothic quarters, the streets of which would be impossible to recreate in a Hollywood studio, as well as the texture of the buildings."

    Seidelman discovered the city 13 years ago, in 1987, when she presented "Building the Perfect Man" at the now-extinct Barcelona Cinema Festival. She adds: "Then I could not have imagined that some day I would film a movie here. I have found the city very changed, it has grown a lot and it's fantastic."

    Can a film starring five women, including Spanish actress María Barranco ("it's a good thing we also speak 'spanglish'") be considered feminist? According to Susan Seidelman, "We have put up with many movies with five men and one woman, it was about time we could change that."

    The film's deluxe cast includes Juliette Lewis ("Kalifornia", "Husbands and Wives," "Cape Fear," "Natural Born Killers") and Lili Taylor, the muse of American independent cinema, even though she has paid her dues with her performance in "Ransom," a vehicle for the greater glory of Mel Gibson. "I'm not their muse, I wish I were," she claims. To which Seidelman adds, "Lili is too modest."

    What the star of "I shot Andy Warhol" does remember is her work in "Cosas que nunca te dije" (Things I Never Told You), by Barcelona director Isabel Coixet. "It was a wonderful experience. She was able to put together a $300,000 film in the US. And now Susan is hear filming an independent film with us."

    Producer Andrés Vicente Gómez pointed out that a film like this one, costing a billion pesetas, is "a large production by Spanish standards, and an independent film for the Americans. But I think we'll get world-wide distribution, after it premieres in January or February 2001."

    Lluís Bonet Mojica
    La Vanguardia
    Sunday, March 2000

    "Do you like Barcelona?"

  • SUSAN SEIDELMAN. "I was afraid, because I don't speak the language, of not being able to communicate with the team and the people. I've discovered that cinema has a universal language. Ah, and the food is much better than in the United States."

  • JULIETTE LEWIS. "When I go to a new country I like to be very receptive with its people. There are repressive cultures and places where I haven't felt good at all. But I like Spain, I like Barcelona, because there are people who are open and expressive. I need to communicate with the people around me."

  • MARCIA GAY HARDEN. "Since I came to Barcelona I eat too much and this isn't good for the movie... Gaudí has been a discovery for me. He loved God and nature. I came without my boyfriend and here I see everybody kissing in the street, even old people! It's wonderful."

  • LILI TAYLOR. "I like Barcelona, a lot but... there's so much to see! I need to learn more about the history of Spain, of the city. I'll try to saturate myself with it. Tomorrow (Saturday) I will visit museums."

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