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Bypass cheers up San Sebastian


- Basque romantic comedy Bypass, a delightful concoction by actor-directors Paxto Telleria and Aitor Mazo, has premiered in San Sebastian

Bypass cheers up San Sebastian

Films in the Basque language are rare enough, with just a handful made each year. A romantic comedy of errors in Basque is even rarer, and a quite delightful one must be something akin to a miracle.

Still, that is what actor-directors Paxto Telleria and Aitor Mazo have produced in Bypass, which is, apart from the language used, perhaps familiar but therefore no less enjoyable.

Bypass, which was written by Telleria, tells the story of Xavi (Gorka Otxoa), Lukas and Jone three long-time buddies in Bilbao whose friend Maria (Sara Cózar) is terminally ill. When Xavi learns from Jone that Maria used to have a crush on him, he decides to cheer up her day by telling her that, back in the good old days, that feeling was mutual but he was too shy to tell her.

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This being a comedy of errors, Maria tells him she still feels this way and then miraculously starts to feel better, with the doctor predicting she'll live another two or three months. As a result, Xavi finds himself pushed into a relationship he wasn't planning on having but feels like he can't tell her that because of her condition (any big shock might be fatal), even though he has a pregnant girlfriend back in Barcelona.

Trying to deceive two women at the same time, though with the best of intentions, proves to be really tricky for the likeable Xavi, and the clever screenplay throws up one complication after the other, with the apotheosis set over an eventful Christmas Eve dinner.

Some of the biggest laughs are reserved for the Basques' use of another Spanish minority language: Catalan (spoken in Barcelona, where Xavi works) and the actors turning their thinly drawn characters into living and breathing personalities.

The film was produced by Joxe Portela for Bilbao-based Abra Prod.

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