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Pikadero: In search of a place for passion


- SAN SEBASTIÁN 2015: English director Ben Sharrock has made an innovative film shot entirely in Basque about the lives of young people during the financial crisis

Barbara Goenaga and Joseba Usabiaga in Pikadero

Pikadero [+see also:
film focus
interview: Ben Sharrock
film profile
formed part of the New Directors section of the 63rd San Sebastián Film Festival. And the movie by Ben Sharrock, which is innovative in terms of its mise-en-scène, script and formal approach, got some big laughs at its screening in the Kursaal.

Incapable of flying the nest because of the financial crisis gripping Spain, a young couple encounters a whole host of problems as they try to find intimacy in their parents' homes. As time goes on, they get more and more desperate to make love. With hardly any money to pay for a hotel, they're forced to visit the "pikaderos", places used for sex. However, things aren't as straightforward as they seem, and the couple's relationship is quickly put to the test, as they realise it's not so easy to free themselves from the shackles of a ruined economy.

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There are many elements of Pikadero that make it unique; in the first place, the film is shot entirely in Basque, has an English director (Sharrock) and takes as its subject matter the anger felt in modern society because of the crisis, and the side effects that come with it (lack of job security, the impossibility of buying or renting somewhere to live, frustration, emotional instability…). The concept of the film is refreshing, light-hearted and brilliant: where do you go when you don't have anywhere and you really feel like letting off steam with your partner – or your current fling? But, despite this, the concept loses its strength as the story goes on, remaining a mere caricature and reserving conventional and banal fates for its characters.

If there's one thing that stands out about Pikadero, it's the aesthetics of the movie, as it is made up of static, meticulously composed shots in which the use of colour is very important. Some of the images bring to mind the work of Edward Hopper and George Shaw. Not in vain, Sharrock acknowledges having been influenced by both painters, in the same way that Eran Kolirin's The Band’s Visit served as a source in the creation of this comedy-drama.

The filmmaker describes having launched into this venture, his first feature-length film, conscious of the current economic troubles. In February of this year, he received the Scotland New Talent BAFTA Award for Best Drama and Best Writer for his short Patata Tortilla. The main characters, Ane (Barbara Goenaga) and Gorka (Joseba Usabiaga), give a fair, balanced and authentic performance. But the burden of the film doesn't fall solely on the pair of lovers, but also on the whole team of supporting actors, who come together in a great performance. Basque culture is also depicted, and through the fine brushstrokes we witness the concern for keeping traditions alive, conventionalism, the difficulty of understanding the female sex… 

Pikadero, a co-production between Spain and the UK, is rolling in a lot of themes: the slender hope that exists right now for youth, sexual relationships, Basque culture…

(Translated from Spanish)


international title: Pikadero
original title: Pikadero
country: Spain, United Kingdom
sales agent: Film Republic
year: 2015
directed by: Ben Sharrock
screenplay: Ben Sharrock
cast: Bárbara Goenaga, Zorion Eguileor, Lander Otaola, Joseba Usabiaga, Itziar Lazkano, Peio Arnáez

main awards/selection

San Sebastián International Film Festival 2015New Directors
Zurich Film Festival 2015
Tbilisi International Film Festival 2015
Brussels Film Festival 2016

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