For anyone who has traveled alone the first 12 wordless minutes of Fin de Sigle are so recognizably real that you don’t realize you are being set up for a love story that is not quite a poem, a painting or a dream.
Gustavo, or Ocho (Juan Barberini) as he is known by his childhood nickname, arrives in Barcelona and begins looking for his Airbnb, settling in and exploring the sites. Following him following his phone, arriving, getting a beer from the fridge and then opening himself up to the new things that are out there is disarming. Quickly you are taking part in his life rather than trying to follow his story. Which is a good thing because the film then avoids a simple story telling approach to its central relationship.
Ocho, the editor of a poetry magazine, spots a guy on the beach, loses him, tries to track him down on an app and then finally hooks up with him. Then he discovers this is not the start of their story. He has actually met Javi (Ramon Pujol) before, some 20 years earlier.
The debut feature of writer/director Lucio Castro the film unfurls a set of scenarios that play poetically with the what ifs of whether Ocho and Javi had ended up together or apart. The sexual spark that could have ignited or faded away. The child they may or may not have had. The freedom to care only for themselves compared to the mutual work of caring for one another. The characters are allowed to live out their dreams even when they are mutually exclusive.
Rather than creating a messy kaleidoscope the scenarios are sewn together with a remarkable commitment to realism that is as strong as their avoidance of a logical timeline. It could have gone horribly wrong but manages to hang together quite satisfactorily. The contradictions open up more space to explore the opposing forces that love has to conquer to survive. The point, made early on in the film when the couple discuss a painting in a gallery, is that sometimes there is a ‘magical connection…not a rationale one’.
Fin de Sigle tries to open up all the possibilities of a relationship within one. Sometimes like a painting trying to show everything all at once and sometimes like a poem in having to move word by word. It’s a big task that succeeds quite well because realism wins out even when it chooses to stay true to feelings over logic.
Review by Andrew Hebden
Queerguru Correspondent Andrew Hebden is a MEDIA & CULTURAL STUDIES graduate spending his career between London, Beijing and NYC as an expert in media and social trends. As part of the expanding minimalist FIRE movement he recently returned to the UK and lives in Soho. He devotes as much time as possible to the movies, theatre and the gym. His favorite thing is to try something (anything) new every day.