Cinéfilos will find a mecca of moviedom at Madrid's Ocho y Medio bookshop. Rolling since 1996 and recently relocated to these much larger premises near the Plaza de España, the store's empire is growing quickly.
Stock includes over 15,000 books with titles in Spanish, English, Italian and French, and anything not on the shelves can be ordered. The DVD section is also excellent and visitors will find film posters, T-shirts, calendars and all sorts of filmic gadgets. Not surprisingly, the shop has become something of a living museum for lovers of Spanish cinema - even the carrier bags,
re-designed every few months by an actor or director, have become collectors' items.
Framed posters of recent films are scrawled with thanks and blessings from cast and crew and every space on the wall sports a signed doodle or dedication from famous film folk. Frequent guest signings and launch parties have made the store the hub of the Spanish film industry and it now has a thriving series of its own publications, including a celebrated spiral-bound series of scripts.
Given its reputation, it's not surprising that Ocho y Medio's enthusiastic owners, Jesús Robles and María Silveyro, have been awarded several prestigious prizes and are constant recipients of thanks during awards ceremonies from their many friends among the film-making elite. Both of them speak English and are founts of information - if you catch them in, they're always happy to chat. It's worth signing up to the mailing list before you leave, too.
Just across the street are some of the city's best multi-screen art-house and VO cinemas - the Golem, the Renoir Plaza de España and the Renoir Princesa - while a range of tapas bars, tabernas and restaurants serves the film-going crowds. So the location is perfect for when the bookshop closes and you're turfed on to the streets… at 8.30pm, of course, hence the Felliniesque name.