Directed by Carlos Marques-Marcet.
Starring Natalie Tena and David Verdaguer.
Two people in love, two apartments – one in Barcelona and another on in Los Angeles – and the images of their past, present and future. Can love survive 10,000km?
On paper, 10,000Km (or Long Distance) sounds like your run-of-the-mill romance film, but what separates it from all the others that have come and gone over recent years is that it refuses to follow the rulebook, thus allowing more genuine moments and narrative beats than anything a Nicholas Sparks adaptation would do. This isn’t a love story that has a neat bow at its conclusion, nor a scene reuniting the couple as the rain pours down around them, it’s one that relies on reactions and emotions that have a real grounded quality.
The opening scene of the film, a 20-minute unbroken shot inside the lovers’ Barcelona apartment, is perhaps the most powerful as it shows us everything we need to know about how close and intimate the couple are before the distance shakes their foundations. Similar to Betty Blue, the first few seconds show the couple making love before discussing feelings, babies and the future. They prepare breakfast, clean their teeth and prepare for the day, all the while no more than mere metres from each other’s gaze, touch and smell, before the bombshell of Los Angeles is dropped and distance rears its ugly head.
The true success of the film are the leads, Natalia Tena and David Verdaguer, both of whom produce brilliant and invested performances. Both are stunning throughout, fearless and courageous and despite the obvious challenges of the roles (acting through a computer screen or monitor for large portions), both are superb. It is just them up on the screen for the entire run-time, but so wonderful and profound is their spark, that you don’t want to miss a moment.
Kudos too to director Carlos Marques-Marcet and his co-writer Clara Roquet, who together weave a funny, sad, heartfelt romance for the 21st century that has enough “lovey-dovey” moments for those hungry for that sort of thing, as well as telling a love story that we actually care about.
Utilising the mass media elements (Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp) that are essential and not-too-far from any modern-day relationship, they create a true representation of love in 2014, and their artistic choices are spot on. Sure they aren’t making any big strides in terms of direction or the art of auteur filmmaking, but their choice to just let the story play out in many forms of “connection” only add to the authenticity of the film.
A love story of profound feelings and outlooks, 10,000Km is by far and away the most relatable, modern romance story to grace the screen for many a year. Forget the schmaltzy recesses of Nicholas Sparks or love in the midst of vampire/werewolf politics, and spend a couple of hours in the company of this wonderful effort.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film ★ ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★ ★