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News 10 Mar 17

'Robin Hood' Filmmakers Accused of Damaging Dubrovnik

Croatian art historians accuse authorities in Dubrovnik of allowing filmers of the Hollywood blockbuster Robin Hood: Origins to damage the heritage of world-famous city.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Constructed village burnt in Pilat, in front of Dubrovnik walls. Photo: Dulist.hr

The authorities in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik have been accused of "reckless degradation" of the city's heritage in connection with the filming there of the Hollywood blockbuster Robin Hood: Origins, starring academy award-winner Jamie Fox as Little John.

Croatia's Society of Art Historians, DPUH, on Thursday condemned the “reckless attitude towards the monumental centre of Dubrovnik for the purposes of the film”, accusing the city of allowing the "shameful degradation of one of the most important Croatian monuments”.

The DPUH said it particularly objected to the way parts of the Old Town and its walls were covered in wooden structures to support the scenery of a medieval town, allegedly installed without due security measures.

The DPUH also complained that the horses used on the set did not have their hoofs protected, posing a threat to the original stone cobbles.

It also said heavy trucks and cranes were used in the central street in the Old Town, Stradun, where video crews were sleeping and working.

“The highlight was the final scene of the ignition of a quasi-village in Posat [an area by the town walls], which was shown as a ‘special effect’, when in fact, it was a controlled wildfire,” the association wrote.

DPUH claims that neither the present mayor nor the former mayor, Andro Vlahusic – who arranged the deal with the producers – or the city authorities have the right “use the town in any way they want, especially not as a commercial resource”.

“Dubrovnik is a national and world cultural monument, and the duty of the present generation is to pass it over to the future in the best condition possible,” it concluded, adding that it informed all relevant state and international institutions of the issue.

City authorities in Dubrovnik have dismissed the historians' claims, noting that the Ministry of Culture gave its consent for the film to be shot in the city, which was conducted according to "strict guidelines" provided by the ministry's conservation department.

“No damage caused by filming activities was established," the city administration told BIRN.

Dubrovnik, the poet Byron's "Pearl of the Adriatic" has become increasingly popular as a filmset for blockbuster in recent years. It was the set for filming the eight episode of the legendary science fiction film Star Wars in March.

It was also the backdrop for the best-viewed TV series of all time, HBO's fantasy drama, Game of Thrones, in which Dubrovnik served as the setting for "King’s Landing", capital of one of the fictional kingdoms in the series. Former Mayor Vlahusic also announced in February the strong possibility that the new James Bond would be filmed in the town.

Note: The article was amended on March 10 to include a comment from the city authorities in Dubrovnik.

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