Sunday, May 16, 2010

Room in Rome (Habitación en Roma, Spain, 2010)

Written, directed and edited by Julio Medem (Sex and Lucia 2001)
Cinematography by Alex Catalán
Elena Anaya as ‘Alba’
Natasha Yarovenko as ‘Natasha’
Enrico Lo Verso as ‘Max’

‘Natasha, shah, shah…’

The camera in wide screen looks down on two young women on a narrow cobbled street in Rome late one summer night. They are strangers who are merry with wine and intoxicated with their company. One Spanish, the other Russian. A proposition, a tentative refusal, and then a timid acceptance. The girls leave the bottom of the frame, and the camera swoops up and retreats from the aged terrace of a darkened achingly elegant room in a small hotel, retreating into a corner after panning the interior, then waiting for the door to open. A key is turned, the door opens, the girls enter, and a lamp is switched on in the now even more ravishingly beautiful room bathed in a sensual claret light emanating from two Renaissance prints – one above the double bed and the other on the opposite wall. The camera has observed all this in one bravura take where it insinuates itself into every aspect of the room. Thus begins a night of sensuality, love, grief, laughter, and melancholy discovery.

The camera is not a voyeur but a meandering conspirator in a secret night of stolen bliss that ends with the ‘Alba’ of a sparkling new day atop the ancient rooftops of Rome. Their secret and the vanished night permanently recorded and visible beyond the earth a make-shift white flag waiting to billow under the summer breeze from a tiny balcony in the Eternal City.