Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
Original title: L’Auberge Espanole
France/Spain, 2002. Bac Films, Ce Qui Me Meut Motion Pictures, France 2 Cinéma, Mate Films, Mate Producciones S.A., StudioCanal, Vía Digital. Screenplay by Cedric Klapisch. Cinematography by Dominique Colin. Produced by Bruno Levy. Production Design by Francois Emmanuelli. Costume Design by Anne Schotte. Film Editing by Francine Sandberg.
French citizen Romain Duris decides to take advantage of the Erasmus program, an exchange that allows European citizens to study elsewhere on the continent, pursuing his goals of a post-graduate degree in the field of economics in Barcelona, Spain. Upon his arrival he is hosted by a fellow Frenchman and his beautiful wife (Judith Godrèche), but not long afterwards finds residence in a large apartment bustling with many characters from a variety of places, including one (Cécile De France) with whom he becomes good buddies. Duris also begins an affair with Godreche that threatens his relationship with the nagging girlfriend (Audrey Tautou) he left behind at home, which is interspersed with scenes from the experiences of the other characters, all set against the backdrop of the beautiful Spanish city in which it is filmed. All the actors have terrific appeal, but it’s rare that I’ve seen a movie where so much energy is put into so little actual effort. There’s an overly complicated setup involving job interviews and applications that basically goes nowhere (we don’t get to experience his education with him), and a whole host of characters that Duris meets who never experience any kind of conflict or drama that he is changed by. The lack of insight or experience means that it’s a frothy concoction that takes two hours to go nowhere, but it’s a pleasant viewing experience if you’re feeling completely easy, plus de France is lovely.