Argentinian director Lucio Castro's debut film is a beautifully pitched love story about the road not taken.
Like ‘Sliding Doors’ with added subtlety and soul, this swooning love story spins the idea of ‘what if?’ into something deeply romantic. In his directorial debut, Argentinian filmmaker Lucio Castro takes a decidedly minimalist approach to the story of two apparent strangers who meet, hook up and soon realise that they have met before.
Ocho (Juan Barberini) is a New York-based poet who has just arrived in Barcelona and rented an Airbnb. The apartment is as sparse as the dialogue during the film’s opening minutes, as we follow the fortysomething on a solo tour of the city. Then, from his balcony he spots a good-looking guy strolling by and calls him up to his room for some seemingly throwaway sex.
As the two men bond over cheese and wine, we learn that the stranger is Javi (Ramon Pujol), a kids’ TV director. And he isn’t a stranger, either – the pair had a meaningful encounter 20 years earlier, when they were both in heterosexual relationships. As the film flashes back in time, we see how different Ocho and Javi’s hopes and dreams were back then. These transitions back and forth in time are seamless and intimate.
A beautifully crafted love story, ‘End of the Century’ has two understated, thoughtful performances at its heart. It explores its existential themes – of the passing of time and of roads not taken – with delicacy and deftness. It’s a road worth travelling.