Sundance selection awkward yet interesting

Ever been trapped in a bathroom with someone who’s old enough to be your grandfather? What if you were both naked? What would you do and what would you talk about? Madrid, 1987 is a movie about two people from vastly different generations who are forced to spend a day trapped in a small bathroom with no clothes.

The 2012 Sundance Film Festival selection directed by David Trueba explores what happens when two people with completely different ideas about what life is all about are locked in a room and forced to contemplate their existence. A young journalism student named Angela, played by Maria Valverde, is invited to lunch by a well-known journalist named Miguel (Jose Sacristan), who she had previously interviewed. He makes small talk and a few arrogant remarks before he lets her know that he would like to get to know her more personally, without being in a public place where people can bother them. He has her dig through his jacket where she finds the keys to his friend’s studio. She is not deterred by his flirtatious attitude and accepts an invitation to come to the studio.

Upon arriving at the studio, Miguel puts all his cards on the table and informs Angela of his sexual appetite and his lust for her. At first she is uninterested and
somewhat disgusted, but at some points it just seems like a sick game of ‘hard to get.’ Before anyone’s ‘thirst’ is quenched, Miguel and Angela end up locked in the bathroom together, with both of their clothes on the other side of the door. At first she freaks out; it seems like she has no interest in becoming any closer to him than she already is. However, Miguel sees this as an opportunity to ease her into sex.

The true beauty of the movie is how different the characters are from each other; man and woman, old and young, master and beginner. The sexual tension and awkwardness of the situation is felt by the audience because of the lack of music, strange camera angles and pauses in conversation.

The dialogue varies between discouraging and inspiring conversation. Half the time it seems like Miguel is telling Angela to give up on her dreams but then, within a span of a few minutes, he is telling her to follow them.  Once the ice starts to melt, not break, they get a chance to vent their frustrations about their past experiences and current aspects of their lives. It’s interesting to hear what they have to say because we see a little bit of ourselves and other people we know within the two characters.

The movie is in Spanish with English subtitles, but that does not take away from the voice of the characters. Even though it’s the kind of movie that I wouldn’t
necessarily see again, it was an interesting film. Madrid, 1987 will play in select theaters in New York City
throughout the month of October.