Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original Title: Fin De Siglo
Sex, love, memory, fantasy and regret, all in eighty minutes under the burning Barcelona sun. Ocho (Juan Barberini) is an Argentinean poet and marketing executive who lives in New York and has rented an AirBnb in the gorgeous Catalan city for a few days of solo vacation. While sunning himself at the beach he spots handsome, hunky Javi (Ramon Pujol) and goes to introduce himself, but the stranger is gone before he gets a chance.
Later, while sitting on his balcony, Ocho spots Javi on the street and invites him to his apartment, where they exchange pleasant small talk before falling into bed and enjoying some very hot sex. Continuing to spend time together, they go out for an evening walk, do some shopping and get to know each other and their lives: Ocho has just broken up with someone after a twenty-year relationship, Ocho is married with a daughter in Berlin and directs children’s television.
Ocho says that Javi seems familiar to him, as if they’ve met before, and Javi confirms something extraordinary: they did! We then flash back to twenty years earlier, when Ocho comes to Barcelona to visit his friend Sonia (a lovely Mía Maestro) and meets her new boyfriend Javi. Ocho is only beginning to come to terms with his sexuality and, although they meet and immediately have a friendly chemistry, the surprises that occur when they stay up too late and drink too much on the night that Sonia has gone away are awkward and unsatisfying.
Returning to the present, the film then makes its most daring move, indulging in a Certified Copy-style twist that dares to challenge our understanding of the characters’ emotional realities. While their initial encounter was simply the result of two compatible people getting into the same room and indulging in the magnificence of good, healthy carnality, the rest of their experiences reveal that attraction requires other variables to be put in their correct places, such as emotional maturity, self-awareness and the randomness of opportunity (not to mention the good old-fashioned wisdom that comes with maturity, not that the difference in time shows on either of them physically). Romance, love and commitment are equally vulnerable to these rare opportunities and experiences
The two lead actors draw us into a very powerful intimacy that makes for a sunlit counterpart to Weekend, their subtle, graceful performances captured by a director who, making his first feature, underplays any sense of visual style and increases the film’s intensity by doing so.