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End of the Century, from first-time director Lucio Castro, is a post-coital reverie of a movie, a musingly light meditation on sex, love, monogamy and freedom, pondering the empty fridge of singledom and the full fridge of marriage. It balances what is with what might have been and what could still be, and, although the result is maybe a bit less substantial than Castro intended, there is a certain literary elegance in the way he sketches it out.
Juan Barberini plays Ocho, an Argentinian man in Barcelona on holiday on his own. After checking into his Airbnb, he wanders around town, goes down to the beach and notices an attractive man, Javi (Ramon Pujol). Later, while looking out from his balcony in the evening, he notices this same man strolling on the pavement below and impulsively calls out to him to come and have a drink. They hook up, and Ocho finds he has a real connection with Javi. They talk about past and current relationships (Javi is in an open marriage) and Ocho has an eerie feeling … wait … have they in fact met before, 20 years ago, at the end of the century?
The resulting flashbacks are a little disconcerting, because the two men do not look any different (though Irishman-style youthification wouldn’t work) and do not behave all that differently. Another film-maker might have tried changing the hairstylesand and beards to denote the pastness of the past – although it is arguable that what we are seeing is Javi and Ocho doing the remembering, and we all tend to believe that we have always looked (and been) the same. Yet is it really plausible that Ocho could forget something like this? Maybe.
Memory is treacherous. There is something almost Rohmeresque – and slight – in the story Castro tells.
• End of the Century is released in the UK on 21 February.
Source: The Guardian
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