Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season 10 Movies Booed At Cannes 10 Movies Booed At Cannes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

BAMcinemaFest Review: '10,000 KM' Presents Two Actors, Two Locations & Two Laptops For One Bittersweet Movie

The Playlist By Nikola Grozdanovic | The Playlist July 2, 2014 at 6:04PM

Remember the slightly awkward moments between Joaquin Phoenix and his operating system in the not-too-distant future of Spike Jonze's “Her,” where a relationship was blossomed between a man and a machine? The lack of a physical element in that scenario starts to feel normal because one half of that equation never had a body. But in today's equivalent, when a man is dancing with a laptop in his hand, desperately trying to cling on to a loved one, the lack of physical presence isn't just awkward; it's heartbreaking. Carlos Marques-Marcet's stirring feature debut “10,000 KM,” about a relationship getting tested by long distance, takes a minimal approach in wrestling with the emotional demons borne when a long-term couple get separated for a year. Two actors. Two locations. Two laptops. One bittersweet movie.
1
10,000 KM

Remember the slightly awkward moments between Joaquin Phoenix and his operating system in the not-too-distant future of Spike Jonze's “Her,” where a relationship was blossomed between a man and a machine? The lack of a physical element in that scenario starts to feel normal because one half of that equation never had a body. But in today's equivalent, when a man is dancing with a laptop in his hand, desperately trying to cling on to a loved one, the lack of physical presence isn't just awkward; it's heartbreaking. Carlos Marques-Marcet's stirring feature debut “10,000 KM,” about a relationship getting tested by long distance, takes a minimal approach in wrestling with the emotional demons borne when a long-term couple get separated for a year. Two actors. Two locations. Two laptops. One bittersweet movie.

10,000 KM (Long Distance)

Alex (Natalia Tena) and Sergi (David Verdaguer) are a Spanish couple who share an apartment and a life in Barcelona. Sergi is studying for the boards so that he can become fully certified to teach music, and Alex is waiting for her big break with her freelance photography so that she can work a job she genuinely loves. She has a British accent when she speaks English that Sergi finds sexy, and he has a knack for taking long showers in the morning which makes her call him “Squid.” They've been together for seven years, and they're both ready to take that next step in their relationship by having children. But everything is put on hold when Alex receives a business offer in an email one morning. They are funding her a full year in Los Angeles so that she can finish up her work on a project. The timing couldn't be worse for their baby-making plans, but what's one more year? After some back and forth in the morning, the title cuts in with the distance between L.A and Barcelona, and the counter displaying number of days spent apart begins answering the question.

This is the kind of debut directors should be making. After a stint helming short feature films, Marques-Marcet keeps it simple for his first feature and gets his feet wet in a gradual, mature, and controlled way. "10,000 KM" is unpolished in certain places, and the claustrophobia of the two locations—their apartment in Barcelona, and her place in L.A.—has the walls closing in on the story and actors, revealing all imperfections, but you can admire the intelligence of picking a story like this to experiment and make your grand cinematic entrance with. Love is a universal wound, and tightening your first full-length story around the simple question of long-distance relationships is clever and should make almost any viewer out there wince with empathy. “Long-distance relationships never work out.” How many times have you heard someone (or yourself) say that one? "10,000 KM" twists this modern axiom by throwing it at a seven-year long relationship on the brink of creating a family. Alex and Sergi's relationship, and their true understanding of one another, is a little questionable when they begin to unravel as the day-counter reaches the midway mark, but neither could be blamed for taking the leap and believing that one year couldn't do much damage if they've lasted seven already.

10,000 KM
"10,000 KM"

It's not only the subject matter that this exciting young Spanish filmmaker chooses smartly in "10,000 KM." He plays around with technique in a way that actually adds depth and dimension to his story and characters. The most obvious example here is the opening 20 plus minutes of Alex and Sergi in their Barcelona apartment, having sex, getting ready for breakfast, showering, hearing the news about L.A., discussing the job offer, and coming to a decision, all in one single, uncut take. The title cuts in to sever the status quo and the next thing we see is Alex and Sergi communicating through Skype. Long takes are in grave danger of becoming an artistic gimmick, but the fabulous thing here is that it never calls attention to itself by sweeping camera movements, and makes for a powerful opening for a movie about what it's like to be physically apart. The loving unity of those opening moments builds a strong foundation for the entire film, and makes the pair's vulnerability all the more potent during their most trying moments. There are more examples of Marques-Marcet playing around with the medium, like a split screen sequence featuring Google Maps, calling to attention a creative spirit ready to embrace and play around with the art-form, but he does so only when it enhances his story, and his characters. 

Finally, we must talk about the two actors who only have each other to rely on during the whole thing, and sometimes not even that. You'll have seen Natalia Tena most recently playing the crusty good-hearted wildling Osha in “Game Of Thrones,” but chances are slim that you'd have seen her co-star David Verdaguer (Spain's answer to Oscar Isaac) anywhere unless you've been catching up on your Spanish TV movies. In any case, they needed to be terrific in order for "10,000 KM" to work like it does and they are. Tena especially showing her versatility and range, whether she's acting on webcam or desperately trying to follow cooking instructions. The two of them having been rightly picking up acting awards on the festival circuit, including one from this year's SXSW. Their gentle, natural performances are part of the wonderfully subdued balance Marques-Marcet manages to find and sustain in "10,000 KM," making a love story that keeps sentimentality at a perfect distance. [B+]

This article is related to: 10,000 KM (Long Distance), Reviews, Review, BAMcinemaFest


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates