email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on reddit pin on Pinterest

SAN SEBASTIÁN 2019 Out of Competition

Review: Seventeen

by 

- Spain’s Daniel Sánchez-Arévalo delivers a simple, likeable and heart-warming road movie, homing in on two brothers who struggle to understand one another

Review: Seventeen
Biel Montoro and Nacho Sánchez in Seventeen

Daniel Sánchez Arévalo presented his penultimate film La gran familia española [+see also:
trailer
making of
film profile
]
six years ago. Since that time, he has continued with his creations, putting his name to the novel La isla de Alice (a finalist for the Planeta Prize 2015) and penning the screenplay for Seventeen [+see also:
trailer
interview: Daniel Sánchez Arévalo
film profile
]
, a road movie shot in Cantabria and centred around two brothers who aren’t quite as different as they think, and who set off in a camper van in pursuit of a dog called "Oveja" (sheep). Yes, ladies and gentlemen, once again we find ourselves immersed in the peculiar universe of the author of Gordos [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Daniel Sánchez Arévalo
Interview with Daniel Sánchez-Arévalo,…
film profile
]
and Cousinhood [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, where personal relationships, gentle humour and good vibrations all come together (forming a “feel good movie”, as it would be described in other parts of the world) in a story which, despite its apparent simplicity and light-heartedness, actually explores intimate issues which affect a great number of viewers.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Helping the audience to gradually identify with the director’s initially surly characters are the smart, ingenious and natural dialogue he has inserted, the non-famous actors he has cast (the duo composed of Biel Montoro – seen in Black Snow [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, for example – and Nacho Sánchez, who is making his film debut after various acclaimed performances in the theatre world) and in whose daily miseries and everyday disasters we can all see ourselves, and the simple directorial approach he has adopted, which, though verging on TV filmmaking, is perfectly aligned with the story that is being told and the situations described.

Shored up by effective supporting actors (we encounter Itsaso Arana once again, after her turn in The August Virgin [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jonás Trueba
film profile
]
) and the photographic expertise of Sergi Vilanova (The Laws of Thermodynamics [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Mateo Gil
film profile
]
) which captures the humidity, the beauty and the lush greens of northern Spain, the film’s title Seventeen refers to the age of its protagonist, Héctor, a withdrawn, solitary and closed-off young man who only begins to open up to the world when he sets about training a dog in an animal shelter. But when the dog is rehomed, the boy escapes from the juvenile detention centre, determined to track it down at all costs. It’s a moment in which his big brother Ismael - with whom he doesn’t communicate as well as we’d expect - plays a vital role.

Animals, therefore, play a significant role in this film, which expounds the universal right of all living beings to be loved and respected (regardless of their race, species or age) whilst also exploring atypical families, the fear of becoming a father (knowingly or not) and the various, small-scale psychological defects that Daniel Sánchez Arévalo’s film characters always seem to display.

Seventeen is an Atípica Films co-production for Netflix. It will be released in Spanish cinemas on 4 October, courtesy of A Contracorriente Films, before dropping on the online streaming platform on 18 October.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

(Translated from Spanish)

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.

Privacy Policy