Thursday 9th October, 9pm – Rich Mix Cinema, Screen 1
Friday 10th October, 9pm – BFI Southbank NFT3
Sunday 12th October, 12.45pm – Vue West End, Screen 7
Alex and Sergi, played by Natalia Tena and David Verdaguer, are two lovers attempting to sustain their relationship via Skype between Los Angeles and Barcelona, in this emotional drama from Carlos Marques-Marcet.
They are trying for a baby, but when Alex receives an email offering a year-long photography project in Los Angeles, they decide to postpone. She heads off to Los Angeles, and most of the action thereafter is played out on Skype and various other media.
At first they talk constantly and manage to retain the easy good humour of their relationship, but as the days roll by, they find themselves with less and less to talk about, and the cracks begin to show.
The beginning of the film opens with a superb depiction of their early morning rituals, and the discussion of the email, shot in one continuous, 20-minute take. This technique is supremely effective at first, conveying in real-time the interruption of the quotidian, Sunday morning familiarity of a long-term relationship, with the possibility that this cosy domestic scene may not last. Much of the action unfolds in this manner, with long, lingering silences and wordless communication – but by the end of the film, it’s somewhat overused, and it feels like a drag.
Each scene is preceded by a title card – “day 35″, “day 121″ and so on, and we know few details of the characters’ lives outside their relationship as we jump in and out of the various days of their separation. We are forced to speculate on the precise nature of many events, leaving our emotional investment in the two of them intact, as we are unable to take sides or apportion blame.
It’s a sweet, sad, funny, and touching depiction of a modern relationship at once saved and sundered by technology. Both characters are held back by the attempt to continue a relationship that, before the advent of Skype and the Internet, would likely have not even been a possibility. It ends ambiguously, but thanks to the genuine likability and convincing chemistry of the two leads, you’ll find yourself hoping the two of them can work it out – although sometimes, as they struggle through yet another interminably ambiguous “speaking-but-not-saying” conversation, you might wish they would hurry up about it.
10,000KM is released on the 9th October
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Read more reviews from the festival here.
Watch the trailer for 10,000KM here: