London Film Festival 2014: 10,000 KM Review

The opening scene of Carlos Marques Marcet’s 10,000 KM is a 23 minute record of intimacy between the bilingual photographer Alexandra (Natalie Tena) and Sergio (David Verdaguer). They engage in a heady love-making session and discuss plans of having children – “six girls”- in a Barcelona apartment. This sense of contentment is interrupted by an e-mail offering Alex a fully-paid artistic residency in Los Angeles, perhaps her last chance to re-launch the photography career that has been at a standstill since the economic crisis hit the country. After discussion, the two come to an agreement to put their life on hold…for one year. Following on from his 2009 expose documentary De Pizarros y Athualpas the Spanish director continues to explore the contradictions that exist in contemporary life. The shared familiarity in the opening sequence becomes an end goal for the young couple as they try to keep a long distance relationship not so distant.

Marcet captures our age of technology in an astute way as Alex and Sergio attempt to communicate through pixelated webcams, video recordings and e-mails. Although these modes of communication bring the two closer in one sense, technology ultimately drives a rift between them. We learn that Alex wants something more – for the journey to continue – while Sergio sees Alex as the end of his journey. The inability to sacrifice creates a wedge between Alex and Sergio that is bigger than the mileage between them. Is love enough? Do we need something more than love?

Images of Google maps side by side live footage of people walking the same route reveal how illusory technology can be. The still image of a blurred face can never match the moving image of a real person – but it can act as a substitution that we choose over and over again. At times, the constant barrage of technological devices becomes tedious. We end up, like Alex, wanting something more from this digital experience. Yet, Marcet’s first feature film has good intentions as it drives home the point that facing someone is never the same as facing the image of someone. This is demonstrated when Tena and Verdaguer try to have dinner with one another over webcam but it ends up leaving them dissatisfied and empty.

The beauty of Marcet’s feature début is that we experience these moments with them throughout the whole film. The many close-ups demand a raw and emotional response from both characters but they succeed in delivering. We start to believe that this is a generation in crisis.

Verdict

In 10,000 KM, strong performances and a well-crafted screenplay proves that Skype is unable to replace physical affection.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

10,000 KM has no release date yet. 

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