Los exiliados románticos: Three for the road
by Alfonso Rivera
- The third film by Jonás Trueba follows the same template as his previous title, The Wishful Thinkers: shot on a modest budget and depicting simple moments that are brimming with sensitivity
The last film to have competed in the official section of the 18th Málaga Spanish Film Festival logically had an aura of anticipation surrounding it, as the previous movie by its director, Jonás Trueba, became something akin to a cinematic phenomenon, a cult film, and almost a hipster manifesto: two years ago, The Wishful Thinkers was the film that every young city dweller who kept an eye on current trends was obliged to adore. Indeed, that title oozed cinephilia, depicted a certain type of modern Madrilenian youth and portrayed their emotional disorientation. Los exiliados románticos [+see also:
interview: Jonás Trueba
film profile] (lit. “The Romantic Outcasts”) uses those same elements, but in a different context: its main characters travel around, on board an old van – where they sleep, shave and have breakfast – driving from Madrid to Annecy, on the French border with Switzerland, with stopovers in Toulouse and Paris.
Along the way, these three boys will continually meet up with women who have meant something to them during their lives. And they will talk a lot, in parks, in kitchens, on terraces... just like in a film by Rohmer, while the summer gradually fades away. Something so simple yet, at the same time, so great. Trueba has enough faith in their world (which some may brand as “arty-farty” or "young pretending to be old") to turn it into the subject matter of his movies. And even though it is initially difficult to find a way into those dialogues in which literature is placed on a rather high-and-mighty pedestal, he succeeds in making us empathise with his characters and feel the same abandonment, nostalgia and yearning that they feel.
Shot, as the director claims, “on the fly”, with a simple Lumix GH3 camera (which gives it an organic look and a slightly dreamlike tint) over barely 12 days by a skeleton crew, Los exiliados románticos stems from a joke, from an impulse to shoot, and instead of looking for funding or going over the screenplay a million times, they just went for it with the impulsiveness and nonchalance of a childish adventure. The result conveys that spontaneity and achieves what it set out to do: whisk us away on a trip among friends, interspersed with music by the band Tulsa, whose song Oda al amor efímero (“Ode to Fleeting Love”) becomes the existential motto of this road movie.
Likewise, the film is pervaded by the idea of dreams, the first word that we hear in the opening scene: its protagonists have declared war on reality, perhaps because of their inability to love. This results in an underlying sadness beneath the apparent happiness of these three guys, who have hit the road in search of sentimental ideals that are more fantasy than reality.
Los exiliados románticos stars Vito Sanz, Francesco Carril (both of whom were involved in The Wishful Thinkers) and Luis E Parés (who appeared in El futuro [+see also:
film profile]) as the trio of bosom buddies on tour, who meet up with French actress Vahina Giocante, Italy’s Renata Antonante and Swiss actress Isabelle Stoffel on their travels. The film, which contains dialogue in various languages (French, English, German, Italian and Spanish), was produced by Los ilusos Films, and Cinebinario Films will be in charge of its distribution and international sales.
(Translated from Spanish)