Review: Yo la busco
by Alfonso Rivera
- This first feature film by Sara Gutiérrez Galve focuses on a young man’s nocturnal stroll through Barcelona while struggling to find answers to life’s great questions
One of the best surprises at the most recent edition of Malaga's Spanish Film Festival was to be found in the Zonazine section: the discovery of a new filmmaker, the director Sara Gutiérrez Galve (Barcelona, 1994). Her first feature film, Yo la busco [+see also:
film profile], is full of freshness, independence, freedom, truth, and the spirit of the times we live in – which is often oh so difficult to capture on screen. The film walked away with the Movistar+ prize for Best Zonazine Film and the Silver Biznaga for Best Actor in Malaga this year thanks to Dani Casellas' performance, who has only recently ventured into the world of acting – having only acted previously in an advert – but who carries the weight of the director's first feature film on his shoulders.
The film opens with a young woman, Emma (Laia Vidal), and a young man, Max (Casellas), who share a simultaneously magical, onerous and dreamlike moment when waking up together the next morning after partying all night. There is complete intimacy between the two of them and yet, although more traditional and orthodox viewers might see it as such, they are not a couple, just friends, and flatmates. They tell each other everything, wash in each other’s presence without embarrassment and are very tactile with each other, with tenderness, complicity and respect. They are one of those new families, in which relationships are fluid and sex, bureaucracy, and falling in love are neither the route or foundation of their relationship.
But all of a sudden, some unexpected news threatens to disturb their union and Max, troubled, lost and disoriented, heads into the streets of Barcelona in search of who knows what. From that moment onwards, Yo la busco turns into a peregrination reminiscent at times of Griffin Dunne wandering through the streets of New York in Martin Scorsese's After Hours (1985), because here too, in the space of just a few hours, over the course of one night only, our anti-hero will meet colourful characters in surreal and incredible situations, while offering us a faithful representation of the Catalonian city, populated by people from all backgrounds and with all sorts of attitudes.
This journey, filmed with an agile camera, allows Gutierrez Galve to build a portrait ofa generation: that of young adults seeking answers so that they can build a new way of life that has little to do with that of their parents, because relationships are based more on spontaneous emotions than on contracts, and the male tyranny of the past has disappeared, all against a backdrop of deep crisis that accentuates Max's distress.
Yo la busco was produced by Nanouk Films in collaboration with the Universidad Pompeu Fabra de Barcelona, where its director and screenwriter (with Núria Roura Benito) studied audiovisual communications. After its stint in Malaga, the film was screened at Festival D'A in Barcelona, the Atlantida Film Festival, Buñuel Calanda International Festival and Valencia Cinema Jove Festival. The film was released on Friday 6 July in Spanish cinemas.
(Translated from Spanish)
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