Roman Duris stars in this lightweight comedy-drama as Zavier, 25 year-old French student, who decides to study abroad (in Spain) simply because he wants secure a good job. In the title apartment in Barcelona, however, he learns something much more important during the eventful one year in absolute freedom.
That is a rough sketch of the story, and this apartment plays the role of so-called "melting pot" of European people. (Incidentally, its UK title is "Potluck.") In this not-so-clean but still magical place, you see students from France, UK, Germany. Denmark, Italy, and Belgium. These colorful nationalities of EU represent the unbrindled energy of the youth, and if you have spent young days as they do, in a foreign land with friends, you wil easily relate to the agnst of Zavier, the portrait of average young boy.
Director Cedric Klapisch repeats his light touch found in "When the Cat's Away," and the script was written in 12 day. The film itself was shot in only 4 months ... well, so he says. The film, as a consequence, shows little surprise -- there is a love-triangle which is too predictable, just another case of uninterested husband and unhappy wife, which is tradtional since the days of Madame Bovery. And the silly hubby is a doctor again. The characters lack the depth -- only the students from Britain show some -- and the commentary on the cultural difference doesn't bite.
But the film (shot in digital camera) captures the truth of youth, and the care-free community depicted here has an undeniable charm that would be most appealing to the young people, with its frank descriptions of being really young. I admit that I feel envious of the people and the place, even though I know (and the film knows) that it will not last forever.
Enjoyed this movie, especially de France's character (the lesbian
student). It sort of reminds me of my stays at youth hostels when I travel, where you meet and hang out with others who are mainly from Europe (and Down Under). You also run into exchange
students at these places as well (usually taking a break from
their studies and travelling around their host country).
However, it was obvious that the scene where the English sister and brother were arguing in her bedroom was severly cut, evident in the sloppy editing (especially right after she kicks him out of her room, you see a cut and then you see them hugging and making up). The edits were also mentioned by a reviewer from
April 6th - there could be others but I didn't see the movie at a theater, so I'm not sure.