Combustible Celluloid
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With: Natalia Tena, David Verdaguer
Written by: Carlos Marques-Marcet
Directed by: Carlos Marques-Marcet
MPAA Rating: R for some strong sexual content including dialogue, language and brief graphic nudity
Language: Spanish, with English subtitles
Running Time: 99
Date: 07/10/2015

10,000 Km (2015)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Mean Miles

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Spanish filmmaker Carlos Marques-Marcet makes his feature directing debut with this amazingly deep, rich drama about a long-distance romance. 10,000 Km features only two actors, Sergi (David Verdaguer) and Alex (Natalia Tena). They are living in Barcelona and have been together for some years; she's English and he's Spanish. The movie opens with a tour-de-force shot lasting some 20 minutes, beginning with the couple making love and then lazily getting up, talking, eating breakfast, etc. Alex gets an email confirming that she has been granted a year-long photography residency in Los Angeles. Tension builds, and the scene ends. From there, the relationship switches to Skype. It begins good-naturedly and with goodwill, but quickly dissatisfaction and impatience creep in.

Marques-Marcet, who also wrote (with the actors contributing to their parts), avoids anything movie-ish; there are no dropping bombs or secrets kept. The emotions build and tumble about naturally, as if they were happening in real time. It's complex and confounding, raising questions of why two particular people want to be together, and how much stress their bond can take. Cinematographer Dagmar Weaver-Madsen deserves a great amount of credit for her astounding work, sublime, subtle camera movements, and emotionally suggestive lighting schemes. This is a rare, mature work about love as a powerful thing, but a thing that doesn't just happen magically, by itself.

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