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This is a very well done film showing the life of international
students during their "Erasmus year" in Barcelona which by the way is
one of the most beautiful towns in Europe and is an ideal location.
The idea itself with all the different languages is great and gives the film an original atmosphere. There are some clichés about the countries but most of them are true! The characters could not better represent their different countries.
Having experienced "Erasmus" on myself during my exchang semester in Italy I can say that is movie is incredibly authentic. I had many experiences which were similar to the characters (except I didn't get laid as often). The movie is also quite funny yet not like all those stupid American college movies.
Finally the movie touches also some important issues like the change from student to work life.
9/10 (I may not be very objective though)
There are a few things in life that we can't experience more than once and the college experience is one of them. Especially if we're living in a foreign country and in a apartment with 6 wackos from 6 different countries. Xavier the main character leaves his tidy life in Paris, his ex-hippy mother and his beautiful girlfriend and goes to Barcelona to study spanish in order to get a job at the embassy. He falls in love with the wife of a french doctor and he makes friends that make him look at things differently. When Wendy's brother (Wendy is one of the room mates) comes from England the film starts to become a lot funnier. Well anyway, Xavier starts to see things differently with all his new friends and he probably lives something he will never forget and will change his life forever. Overall a very nice nostalgic film, which becomes even more interesting because of the multinational cast. I thought it was very interesting that you could see all these kids from different countries, all of them speaking different languages and having different cultures get along with each other and fun. I gave it a 9 out of 10 because I left the theatre with a smile on my face and thinking about things I haven't done yet while I'm still in college and would want to do before it's too late.
In France, Xavier (Romain Duris) is a young economist of twenty and
something years, trying to get a job in a governmental department
through a friend of his father. He is advised to have a specialization
in Spanish economy and language to get a good position. He decides to
apply in an European exchange program called "Erasmus" and move to
Barcelona to improve his knowledges in Spanish culture and language.
She leaves his girlfriend Martine (Audry Tautou), promising to keep a
close contact with her, and once in Barcelona, he is temporarily lodged
by a French doctor Jean-Michel (Xavier de Guillebon) and his young and
lonely wife Anne-Sophie (Judith Godrèche) he had met in the airport.
Later, he moves to an apartment with international students: the
English Wendy (Kelly Reilly), the Spanish Soledad (Cristina Brondo),
the Italian Alessandro (Fédérico D'anna), the Danish Lars (Christian
Pagh) and the German Tobias (Barnaby Metschurat). Then the Belgium
Isabelle (Cécile de France) and Wendy's brother William (Kevin Bishop)
join the group, and Xavier learns Spanish language, and finds
friendship and love in his experience living abroad. "L' Auberge
Espagnole" is one of those movies the viewer becomes sad when it ends.
The story is a delightful and funny tale of friendship and love, in a
globalized world and an unified Europe. This very charming movie made
me feel good and happy, although I have never experienced to live in a
republic of students. The newcomer William provokes the funniest
situations along the story, with his big mouth and short brain.
Further, it great to see a fresh approach of students living together
different from those dumb American fraternities and their stereotypes,
common in American movies. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Albergue Espanhol" (Spanish Auberge")
One of the biggest French success of the year 2002, "l'auberge
espagnole" was also very well greeted abroad which is quite
extraordinary for a French film. It is not difficult to define the
reasons of this success. This movie made by one of the most interesting
French film-makers of these last years, Cédric Klapisch, presents
students coming from all over Europe and gathered all together under
the same roof in Barcelona. These students are described like the ones
you imagine or you see in everyday life: either untidy, either serious
or with a sense of humor. I guess that if the movie worked so well, it
is because a lot of students must have recognized themselves in the
main characters' portraits and especially Xavier's.
We follow the movie and so his experience abroad as an Erasmus student through his eyes. Xavier is really an ordinary student with his qualities, his faults. An intelligent making with quite a lot of ingenious ideas perfectly expresses his lost mind and his anxiety about the world and being an Erasmus student. On that subject, the best examples can be found in two sequences. The first one is when Xavier asks a woman at university for the papers he has to send to prepare his DEA. When the same woman informs him about the different necessary procedures, all the papers appear on the screen when she is naming them! In the next sequence, Xavier's voice-over confides to the spectator his vision of the modern world. Now, where to find the second example? Well, the scene where Xavier has a thorough medical examination during which Klapisch films his visions is widely sufficient to speak of itself.
Moreover, the director wasn't really interested by his main character's studies. He left this point low-key. He rather put a lot of effort into Xavier's private life, of course, in his love affair with Anne Sophie but also and especially in his relations with his fellow tenants. It is a real friendship story that Klapisch shows us with its moments of happiness but also its arguments and its tensions. Through Xavier's adventure and at the end of his stay, he will have been initiated into life which will make him more mature. The message that the author wanted to transmit isn't difficult to guess. You naively believe that you live in an untidy and complicated world. You mustn't give up but intensively search to get what you want even if it is difficult.
Apart from this, we could also fear that with the topic, Cédric Klapisch wouldn't avoid a trap: the clichés. Let's be frank about it: they are included in the screenplay but the director does his best not to spread them too much in his movie. Then, the screenplay contains convenient and predictable moments: at the airport and before boarding we see Xavier shedding a tear after he left his family. But fortunately the shortcomings of the script stop here. Quite funny dialogs and cool young actors perfectly at ease in their roles make up the whole.
In spite of its weaknesses, "l'auberge espagnole" is to be taken for a success in the movie of young people. Besides, the whole atmosphere it brings out lets us think that this movie is directed primarily to a young audience. Ultimately, the end of the movie and its big success let us suggest that Klapisch succumbed to a fashion that goes right for American cinema: the elaboration of sequels. And indeed, the film-maker currently works on a sequel entitled "les poupées russes". Let's hope that it will be as good as "l'auberge espagnole".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is about Xavier, an Erasmus exchange student from Paris who
one year in Barcelona. During that time, under the influence of all the
impressions, he changes and grows. Upon return, he has a much clearer view
on his life and finally takes it into his own hands.
This is one of the most moving films I've ever seen, and the reason is probably that I've been in a very similar situation. I'm from Germany, not from France, and for me it was Madrid, not Barcelona, but I can assure you that this film is a completely accurate depiction of what an Erasmus semester in Spain will do to you. From what I hear the story is autobiographic, and that's probably why it is so realistic.
Let me give some examples (mild SPOILER alert) - Xavier shares a flat with other students from Italy, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and England. The flat looks EXACTLY like all the Erasmus shared flats I've seen in Madrid. The main characters are nicely developed, and some funny scenes arise from the usual stereotypes. The Spanish landlord is also 100% accurate. - The story of Xavier and his girlfriend Martine, who remained in Paris, is also very typical. About 90% of all relationships break up during an Erasmus semester (or shortly thereafter). - There's a wonderful scene in which Xavier tries to convince Wendy, his flatmate from England who is kind of "uncool", to go out with all the others. He finally succeeds, and Wendy probably has the night of her life.
Another great thing in this film is that it's truly trilingual: The students in the flat speak Spanish or English, and Xavier speaks French with his mother and girlfriend. There are subtitles so that everyone can understand what's being said. I surely hope that this film never gets dubbed anywhere.
I can imagine that for non-Erasmus people this is simply an entertaining comedy, but for all my fellow Erasmus I can only say: This is YOUR film! If you haven't seen it, do so. But be prepared for some feelings of nostalgia...
The first thing I wanted to do after watching this film was watch it again (because I'd missed lots with all the laughing I did). I'm European and I've studied abroad and I've as good as lived with Spanish, french, Italian and German people. The film was full of stereotypes, which, more often than not, p*** people off, and reading some of the other reviews I see that it did p*** people off. But, this film gets the stereotypes so right I cannot fault it. Except for maybe the way the french guy became a drunken party animal. The English guy was the perfect "geezer" stereotype. Drunk, annoying, insulting but shines through in the end. As well as the stereotypes the film also got the emotional aspect of studying abroad correct. At first he's shy, doesn't know anybody, misses home, doesn't know his way around. As time progresses it becomes his home and when the time comes to leave, it is extremely difficult. A feeling people can only understand if they've experienced it. I highly recommend this film.
I have long been torn between Madrid and Barcelona, the former a dignified
repository of old Spanish architecture and customs (a Catholic parade at
PM!) and the latter a Ramblas-rambunctious splash of youth and energy (Oh,
that Olympic harbor!). Cédric Klapisch's `L'Auberge Espagnole'(`Euro
pudding') now tips the scales to Barcelona for me as I watch a group of 20
somethings negotiate life in a communal apartment. They represent the
emerging melting pot of Europe, learning each other's language and purging
themselves of racism and sexism. The film is alive with
Protagonist Xavier (Romain Duris) is moving from Paris (a city against its type here-repressive and decidedly unromantic) to Barcelona for a year in order to qualify for a business job that demands immediate experience in Spain. Leaving his girlfriend (Audrey Tautou) and his hippie mother behind, he witnesses love in forms his shy French persona would have never encountered, including adultery and lesbianism. That he will be different, more urbane and wise, is preordained by the decision to move; that the director wishes us to see the allegory of a polyglot Europe is all too obvious.
But the photography through the narrow streets, even in the barrios, is muscular and lyrical, especially when it takes us all to the top of the Gaudi Cathedral to survey the messy world below (Xavier eventually comments the world is `badly made').
Beyond my affection for Spain, this film reaffirms for me the salutary effect travel has on the uncertain heart. After one year on his own, Xavier is ready to make a serious decision, but not about Paris vs. Barcelona-it's whether the corporate world that started this string of events is the one he wants or the artful one in his heart. Tennyson's Ulysses says, `I cannot rest from travel.' Xavier, on the other hand, found his rest in travel.
"L'Auberge Espagnole" collected the audience wherever it was shown. It
gathered audience awards on many film festivals all over the world. And
it is not strange. We have the ability to watch a cheerful and an
astonishing piece of art. And it is wise by the way. "L'Auberge
Espagnole" is a very funny comedy about youth and growing up. But most
of all it is about the lights and shadows of living in the European
The main character of the film is a French student of economy Xavier. For his future carrier his is sent for one year of studying to Barcelona. In Spain it turns out that the lectures are being given in Catalonian language. That probably doesn't help the increasement of knowledge. But it helps in tightening the relationships inside the group of foreign exchange students. Especially if they rent a big flat together. There are 3 girls: English, Belgian and Spanish, as well as three boys: German, Danish and Italian. Our French guy will also get there. A year is a very long time. Long enough to get close and make friends. And get to know some European stereotypes while trying to break them apart.
Klapisch treats this special case of a process of uniting Europe with humor and without pecky didactism. He comes out of the idea that young people are everywhere just the same. They like jokes. They like to make irresponsible relationships. But they don't neglect their aspirations. The most interesting is the sum of experience of this little community. They live together in the fire of everyday tasks fighting with the surrounding reality. They are full of unusual ideas for life. Young Europeans come back to their countries to take up a life of an adult on their own. They are Europe's hope to fight the many problems of the Union. For example, the terrifying administration system. In the end they proof that not only can they communicate and make friends despite the many differences. But they also now how to live the full of life. And they won't allow taking that full of life away from them.
I think anyone who when young has moved to a foreign city, especially
alone, would immediately recognize and appreciate the truths apparent
in this film. Certainly everyone's experiences are different but some
things, the initial disorientation, the difficulties and pleasure of
adapting to a new and very different set of friends, the joys of
eventual acceptance and adaption of a new routine; these are probably
universal. This film depicts all of this very well.
The Spanish Apartment rings especially true for me. Almost ten years ago I moved from NYC to Antwerp for one year then on to Barcelona, where I am living still. I was a bit older than the film's characters (late 20 's) but my experience was eerily similar. I lived just blocks away from their apartment, in Raval, and recognized many of the streets and locales. Myself, a Slovak girl I was dating, three male apartment mates from Bolivia, France and Italy. I made tons of expat friends from all over Europe (many of whom departed long ago) and eventually Spanish friends as well.
I'm older now and settled down but watching this, I was overwhelmed with nostalgia and wished that I could travel back in time if only to relive one of those glorious weekends.
If you've never done anything like this watching The Spanish Apartment may be the next best thing.
The Barcelona tourist office should probably pay me for this.
Cliché-avoidance is one of this film's main achievements. When you hear a vague outline of the story Erasmus students of mixed nationalities sharing a flat in Barcelona you predict a collection of Euro-stereotypes in a farcical tangle. Pas du tout! In fact, it's a finely judged comedy about a young Frenchman, Xavier, trying to make sense of human relationships. There are some excellently observed minor roles (the arrogant French neurologist, the insufferably irrepressible brother of the English girl, Xavier's forlorn mother) and some fine visual humour, especially in the opening scenes mocking the bureacratic complexity of the application procedure. So what does Xavier learn about relationships? Nothing positive. In place of a conventionally happy ending, there is a regrettably portentous finale about `Identity' Xavier has become' all the friends he made. Nevertheless, this highly enjoyable film deserves its great success. I saw it in Luxembourg with a mixed Euro-audience, who enjoyed themselves hugely and even applauded at the end.
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