Club 7 Cinema

Un blog de Salvador Montalt

7 de març de 2014
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Una pel·lícula amb David Verdaguer, al SXSW Film Festival

La pel·lícula 10.000Km, de Carlos Marqués-Marcet, participa al SXSW Film Festival, que comença avui a Austin (Texas, EUA) —i a final de mes, ho farà al Festival de Màlaga—.

FOTO © Avalon Natalia Tena i David Verdaguer, a 10.000 Km, de carlos Marqués-Marcet

La protagonitzen David Verdaguer i Natalia Tena. David verdaguer,  nascut a Malgrat (d’arrels banyolines i gironines), és un rostre força conegut per l’audiència catalana, especialment gràcies a aquell seu “reporter del bigoti” d’Algunes imatges més”, així com a les seves aparicions a programes com  Polònia i Crackòvia, sèries com La Sagrada Família, Ventdelplà o El cor de la ciutat, etc.  Actor de soca-rel, s’ha format al Col·legi del Teatre de Barcelona i ha representat obres de Ray Conie, Jean-Paul Sartre, Samuel Beckett, T. Stamfford, Jordi Faura… treballant a les ordres d’Àngel Llacer, Abel Coll… Fundador de la companyia ElNacionalNoensvol; forma part de la cia. La Bacanal, amb què representen “Dos machos verdes fritos”, i és membre de La Kompanyia, del Teatre Lliure. En el camp audiovisual, ha intervingut a la web-sèrie Les coses grans, de Roger Coma; a la TV-movie Quatre estacions, de Marcel Barrena, i, al cinema, ha participat a Tres dies amb la família, de Mar Coll i ha estat protagonista del curt Mateix lloc, mateixa hora i del llargmetratge 10.000km, ambós de Carlos Marqués-Marcet.

Per la seva banda, Natalia Tena és una actriu britànica de pares hispans, que ha intervingut en films com About a boy, de Chris i Paul Weitz; Mrs. Henderson presenta, de Stephen Frears; Bel Ami, història d’un seductor, de Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod, i ha participat a la saga de Harry Potter.

Barceloní amb carrera desenvolupada en part als Estats Units, el director Carlos Marqués-Marcet, atresora una reconeguda carrera com a curtmetratgista i muntador (de Caracremada, per exemple), i ara debuta amb 10.000km com a director en el terreny dels llargmetratges.

La pel·lícula és la història d’un amor sotmès a la dura prova de la distància, una gran distància: 10.000 Km. Els protagonistes són una parella, l’Alejandra i en Sergio. Estan pensant de tenir un fill junts, quan a ella li ofereixen una residència artística a Los Angeles durant un any. Un any de relació a distància, dos ordinadors i dues ciutats, Barcelona i Los Angeles: l’amor que els uneix serà l’única arma que tindràn per lluitar contra els 10.000 kilòmetres que se’ls interposen.

Segons que ha publicat Variety, l’empresa Visit films s’encarrega de la venda internacional dels drets de la pel·lícula. I a les nostres pantalles serà Avalon la distribuïdora que la hi farà arribar.

Facebook oficial de la pel·lícula: 10.000 KM.

  1. Justin Chang (Variety):

    The central paradox of so much recent technology — why do devices meant to enable human communication wind up hindering it? — is sensitively and movingly explored within the context of a thoroughly modern relationship in “Long Distance.” With the exception of two lengthy bookend sequences, this beautifully acted love story — about an artist who moves to Los Angeles for a year, leaving behind her boyfriend in Barcelona — is mediated entirely through video-chat sessions, text messages, Facebook updates and the occasional phone call, offering a resonant contempo angle on the age-old dilemma of lovers separated by geography and by their own dreams and desires. A rigorously controlled two-hander that never feels airless or minimalist, Carlos Marques-Marcet’s bittersweet debut feature is a natural for further fest play and international arthouse exposure.

    Spanish multihyphenate Marques-Marcet has numerous editing credits and a handful of shorts to his name, and in “Long Distance,” the sense of a filmmaker who knows exactly what he’s doing is evident from the first frame — an image of two attractive thirtysomethings, Alex (Natalia Tena) and Sergi (David Verdaguer), making love in their cramped Barcelona apartment. The sex is over in due course but the shot keeps going, lasting an extraordinary 18 minutes total; the camera follows the characters from room to room in neatly choreographed movements, establishing an intimacy that stems as much from its silent observation of their morning rituals — brushing teeth, getting dressed, eating breakfast — as it does from all the dreamy pillow talk and casual nudity.

    That intimacy will soon slip away, as becomes clear when Alex checks her email and finds out she’s been offered a fully paid yearlong artist’s residency in Los Angeles — and, after some weighing of pros and cons, they decide to give the long-distance thing a try. This means postponing their decision to start a family, to Sergi’s initial disappointment, although Alex, who moved from the U.K. to Barcelona to be with him, isn’t quite so ready to be tied down. Cut to black: In the next scene (“Day 1″), Alex has arrived in L.A., where she gives Sergi a virtual tour of her small studio apartment in Silver Lake. Just a few moments later, it’s Day 16, and Alex and Sergi are lying in their respective beds, communing affectionately through their laptop screens.

    By Day 59, Alex still hasn’t fully adjusted to her new surroundings, and Sergi encourages her to go outside and embrace whatever adventures L.A. has to offer. And so she does: Within a few weeks, she’s making new friends, taking salsa lessons and finding artistic inspiration in her photography of a city she’s slowly learning to love. The world seems full of excitement and possibility — but not for Sergi, who finds himself an increasingly marginal presence in his girlfriend’s life. Her Facebook profile is a puzzle of new faces and unfamiliar references; her texts and phone calls become more and more erratic. Sergi is jealous of the fulfillment she seems to have discovered without him, and frustrated by the fact that his own life has stalled in the meantime.

    From first frame to last, the filmmaking exudes intelligence and control, with none of the chilly emotional distance those qualities can imply. Form and content are in near-perfect balance: That remarkable opening sequence, with its seamless flow and visual continuity, emphasizes the characters’ harmony and connectedness; the rest of the picture, consisting of short, quick exchanges taking place across two continents, is all about disruption and separation. These formal strategies are also reflected in the cinematography, as d.p. Dagmar Weaver-Madsen’s exquisite interior lensing frequently gives way to low-grade Skype footage, as well as by the editing, as the traditional pattern of shot-reverse-shot further serves to underscore the growing distance between the two characters.

    While it’s become fairly common for a movie to show characters sending emails and text messages, or using Facebook and Google Maps (which gets a particularly extended cameo here), this one has a particularly versatile understanding of how ordinary couples use the technology at their disposal. There’s an amusing scene early on when Alex makes a valiant stab at cooking dinner for friends, with Sergi directing and mocking her every move from the laptop screen; later, the film quite candidly addresses the awkward pleasures of cybersex, in a scene that manages to be funny, tender and erotic all at once. But the key achievement of “Long Distance,” apart from the extraordinary subtlety with which it orchestrates the gradual breakdown of a loving, long-term union, is that it reveals how our phones and computers can actually leave us feeling more isolated than we might have otherwise.

    As the picture progresses, bringing Alex and Sergi’s relationship through its painful stages to a hopeful yet ambiguous moment of reckoning, it becomes clear that Marques-Marcet (who wrote the script with Clara Roquet) is operating by a careful set of ground rules. Alex and Sergi will be the only characters we see or spend time with, and the action will be confined entirely to their respective apartments; other locations and people will be glimpsed only in photographs. Some audiences may well object to the dramatic limitations of such a method, arguing that to view characters in such isolation — particularly Sergi, a handsome, likable guy who doesn’t seem to have too many friends — can only yield a partial view of the story.

    But for those who don’t mind — indeed, who freely accept — that a movie can only ever offer a partial view, the emotional immediacy and understated insight of “Long Distance” are strong enough to belie the film’s modest origins. Skillful as Marques-Marcet’s aesthetic choices are, they wouldn’t be half as effective without two such well-matched performances: Darkly handsome Verdaguer breaks down the Latin lover stereotype to reveal the needy, wounded man beneath, while fair-skinned beauty Tena makes a virtue of her character’s indecision, doing justice to Alex’s guilt as well as her joy. In a film so perceptive about the difficulties of human interaction in the modern era, this is acting that never fails to hold the viewer close.

    Eric Kohn (Indiewire, 10.03.2014):

    The opening shot of writer-director Carlos Marqués-Marcet’s “10,000 KM” (“Long Distance”) lasts 23 minutes, and each moment is well-earned. Following a heated sexual encounter between Spanish couple Alex (Natalia Tena) and Sergi (David Verdaguer), the camera continues to watch as they discuss their intentions of having a baby. Then the situation gets complicated, with Alex confessing her opportunity to leave Barcelona for a yearlong residency in Los Angeles; at first excited for his partner, Sergi grows increasingly agitated before eventually accepting the challenge. It’s the last time we see the characters sharing the same space for over an hour — during the majority of the movie, they struggle to maintain a close relationship through virtually every form of communication at their disposal. The long take epitomizes the deep bond that remains fractured for the rest of the story.

    The bad vibes settle in fast: From the smoothly executed beginning, “Long Distance” switches to a fragmented approach, capturing the couple’s ongoing conversations through pixelated video chats, social media and even Google Maps they use to show off their neighborhoods. They talk and talk, out of obligation and presumed need, but with time they have less to discuss aside from their frustrations over their disconnection. “Can we talk about something other than our relationship?” Sergi eventually moans. A cybersex session turns cold when one character lacks the passion to continue, with the scene illustrating the sheer absurdity of relying on a computer to address intimate needs. Despite these details, Marqués-Marce smartly leaves the outside lives of both his leads largely up to viewers’ imaginations, turning instead to telling glimpses of their splintered exchanges to explore their romantic dysfunction.

    But while technology provides the filmmaker with an illustrative guide to their dilemma, it’s the actors who seal the deal. Despite the near-theatrical minimalism of its two-person dynamic, “Long Distance” is unquestionably cinematic in its use of closeups to drive the story forward. Much of the slow-burning power emerges from unspoken feelings that register on the two actors’ faces, while they laugh, cry and yell at the digital representations of their counterparts staring back at them. It’s an astoundingly modern rendition of heartbreak.

    As the days crawl by, with intertitles frequently noting the passage of time in a chapter-based approach, there’s no doubting that “Long Distance” is on a path toward a wrenching finale. But it manages to defy clichés by evading any significant melodramatic developments. Instead, it’s the pileup of small moments that make all the difference: Alex’s neglect to respond to a text message while Sergi waits somberly from his couch; her giddy video chat after a night of heavy drinking is contrasted with his mopey, sober condition. Because we never see these characters alone for very long, they seem to exist as a single unit sputtering along with broken parts.

    That’s to the detriment of the highly contained screenplay, which never gives them fully defined personalities of their own — although the vague sense of their individual identities speaks to the contemporary themes in play. Marqués-Marcet’s tender approach lacks much in the way of originality to hold its premise together, but that’s precisely what makes its narrative so universally involving: It’s a story told countless times before that’s entirely rooted in the moment.

    With time, the filmmaker achieves a small miracle by stringing together the movie’s concise segments into an emotional whole. After showing their chatter through various screens, Marqués-Marcet reaches for a brilliantly topical image that requires no dialogue to obtain its poignancy: From halfway around the world, the couple cradles their laptops and waltz together to the tune of The Magnetic Fields’ “Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing.” It’s a gimmick that might seem precious if it weren’t so distinctly sad by virtue of its implication: Despite the connectivity of the modern age, no amount of technological advancement can replace the desire for physical companionship.

    Criticwire Grade: A-

    HOW WILL IT PLAY? Following its slot in competition at SXSW, the film should enjoy a healthy festival life on the Latin American circuit, but may face a difficult road to a substantial U.S. release unless word of mouth and critical support is strong enough.

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