4 user 3 critic

Bilbao (1978)

A disturbed middle-aged man is obsessed by a dancer and prostitute and abducts her, with tragic consequences.


Bigas Luna


Bigas Luna (story), Bigas Luna (screenplay)


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Cast overview:
Àngel Jové Àngel Jové ... Leo
María Martín ... María (as Maria Martin)
Isabel Pisano ... Bilbao
Francisco Falcon Francisco Falcon
Jordi Torras Jordi Torras ... El tío
Pepita Llunell Pepita Llunell ... La tía
Marta Molins Marta Molins ... La prima
Pep Castelló Pep Castelló
Josep Cuxart Guardia Josep Cuxart Guardia ... (as Josep Cuxart)
Luis Plana Luis Plana
Betty Bigas Betty Bigas ... (as Betty Bigas Tura)
Clara Vergés Clara Vergés
Maite Cabello Maite Cabello
Maika Thienen Maika Thienen
Mario Gas Mario Gas ... Leo (voice)


Leo is a forty and something year-old man with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that causes him to repeatedly brushes his teeth, wrap his wrists with adhesive tape and to be obsessed in the dancer and prostitute Bilbao. Leo lives in separated rooms with María Cand and financially depends on the support of his uncle. Leo wants to possess Bilbao and follows her everywhere. One day, he cleans a derelict store and abducts Bilbao, bringing her to the spot. However, something quite unexpected happens with Bilbao and Leo has no idea what to do. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Plot Keywords:

giallo | spanish giallo | See All (2) »


Drama | Thriller


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Did You Know?


Featured in Bigas Luna: The entomologist gaze (2008) See more »


Written by Max Sunyer
Performed by Iceberg
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User Reviews

Essential Bigas
3 September 2002 | by Mario TSRSee all my reviews

A lonely man in Barcelona lives with his wife that he does not love and gets obsessed with Bilbao, a stripper/prostitute. His desire to possess her physically leads him further and further to a fetishist climax and a tragedy with a more or less surprising ending.

Fifteen years ago, I saw the final 30 minutes of this movie, I was struck by it's imagery, and proceeded to check out the other works of this very particular Spanish director, with a very personal view of Spanish culture. Being an admirer of his work, I should admit that his career has its ups and downs. But Bilbao is sure one of its peaks. Bigas Luna achieves to get the viewer really inside the obsessive universe the main character with his excellent direction, the music, the editing, the frequent close-ups, and the voice-off. It was for me the discovery of Bigas and it has now made clear some of his obsessions, cliches and recurring themes. And if sometimes in his recent work (like in Jamon, Jamon or Bambola) there is too much of "artificial" cliches, in Bilbao there is frankness and truth in the story being told.

If you were offended by the (apparent, imho) misogyny which lead to criticism of some of his recent movies, than don't watch this one: here, women are really objects, although not mere but fundamental objects. La Carne, by Marco Ferreri, has a similar point of view. Besides the relationship of Leo with Bilbao and his wife Maria, it is also very interesting to see the way he mingles and relates with the city itself and the urban life in which he hides and finds comfort.

This movie created a big controversy in Spain (like Tristana in 1970). In 1978 Franco had already died and Spain was starting to live in democracy. But even today, some will find this movie offensive. Sex is depicted quite graphically. Well, if you know Bigas Luna you know what to expect: this time his hero has fishing line, ropes, a bottle of chloroform and an electric shaver...

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Spanish | Catalan

Release Date:

31 July 1981 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Bilbao See more »

Filming Locations:

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fígaro Films, Ona Films See more »
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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)
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