A young Russian woman named Natasha is soon to be married and is on holiday in Rome where she meets Alba. She accompanies Alba to her hotel room as a curious acquaintance and stays as a growing friend. In this room in Rome, the two women come to know one another intimately over the course of the night, and explore and discover themselves along the way. Only the break of day threatens to break their newly forged bond.Written by
Five different languages are spoken in the movie; English, Spanish, Russian, Italian, and Basque. English is the primarily language spoken by the two lead characters, Elena and Natasha, to each other. Elena talks to herself in her native Spanish, and Natasha talks to herself in her native Russian. Natasha speaks fluent Italian (to the hotel staff). Except for Basque (one line is spoken by Elena), Natasha is shown to speak fluent English, Russian, and Italian and seems to understand Spanish while Elena is speaking it to her on occasion (despite that Natasha doesn't have a single phrase of Spanish in the movie), but it never becomes clear whether Natasha can speak Spanish too. See more »
In what's meant to be the same scene shown from two different angles, when Natacha's sat on the balcony, she can be seen from the bathroom, but not vice versa where there's a curtain in the way and it's clearly a separate set as there's no trace of the bedroom. See more »
So... what was your name?
I told you twice already.
Maybe on the third time I get it.
Natasha? Is that the name you said earlier?
You're not saying it right. It's pronounced nah-tat-sha. "Sha".
Sha. And you are Alba which is Spanish for dawn.
That's my unique moment.
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Julio Medem's "Room in Rome" is the tale of a Spanish lesbian who, one night in Rome, picks up a Russian girl who has never been with a woman before. At first the girl is nervous and after some foreplay in the lesbian's hotel room, she gets cold feet and sneaks away while the other girl is sleeping. But she has forgotten her mobile phone. She returns to the hotel room and knocks on the door. The other girl answers the door naked just as a waiter comes to deliver food to the room next door. She doesn't cover herself up but tells the waiter they may want some food later. And so begins a night of games, fantasies, laughter, love-making and the baring of souls as well as bodies.
Medem has created a film of rare beauty, intoxicating romanticism and scorching eroticism. The girls spend almost the entire film nude, the camera slowly panning over their warmly lit skin and lingering in loving close-up on the passion-lit faces. To a soundtrack of lush pop music and opera and amidst the classical paintings that cover the walls and comment on the action, the girls engage in games of fabricated identity, only gradually pealing off the layers of fantasy to reveal the often tragic secrets that have made them who they are.
It is perhaps ironic that a film about a relationship between two women should be one that drew me into its story more deeply than any romantic film I can remember, and yet I could identify with both and fell in love with both. What makes the film so powerful is not the sex, erotic as that is, but the by turns playful and compassionate interactions between the women. This is an open spontaneous encounter between two people which necessarily changes them, and it is one which captures the rich joy of life.
The film has the classical beauty of a film by Bertolucci or Visconti, but unlike their best films, which tend to look at the darker side of life, "Room in Rome" is ultimately, in spite of some powerful moments of angst, a feel-good movie.
The only previous Medem film I've seen was "Sex and Lucia" (2001) which is another favourite which also featured a supporting role by Elena Anaya, who plays the lesbian in this film. I look forward to catching up with more of the work of this talented Spanish filmmaker.
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