End of the Century | Chicago Reader

End of the Century

Lovers reunite and consequently revisit their younger selves in this lyrical debut from writer-director Lucio Castro.The picture begins in modern-day Barcelona, when a couple of artists lock eyes and eventually hook up in an Airbnb. One is a newly single poet from New York (Juan Barberini), and the other is a filmmaker from Berlin (Ramón Pujol). Actually, they've met before, but only one of them remembers at first. Cut to 1999, with the same actors playing their characters as closeted twentysomethings, and the details of their initial encounter materialize like flicks of paint from the center of a vast, hazy canvas. The film indulges in a popular double fantasy—looking back and then forward, imagining what might have been—without falling inside of it. Artistic choices anchor the narrative in the present; Barberini sports gray beard hairs throughout the film. Meanwhile, Castro excels in showing how ostensibly small discoveries, like a gutting line in a book or a song that gives perfect shape to a moment, can be bright markers in life, signifying a beginning, a middle, or an end. In Spanish with subtitles.

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