“In the City”
The Lives of Lovers
Cesc Gay directed this Spanish film, “In the City” in which he holds nothing back as the looks deeply into the lives of his characters. The lives bounce off of each other and great intensity is shown in this film. Here is a study of middle-class life in Barcelona.
Tomas is a recently divorced college professor who we first see in bed with one of his students. The girl seems to be mature and understands well that she is having an affair with an older man but all is not what we suspect. As we meet the other characters we see how the lives are all enmeshed.
Mario is an architect and Sara is an actress. When she begins acting strangely, Mario discovers that she has been having an affair with an actor in a play for which she has been rehearsing. Monica, a media worker, meets Ana, a successful photographer, by accident. Monica’s marriage has been rocky of late and her friendship with Ana appears to be a diversion for her. Sofia is a lonely woman who is alone having watch life pass her by. Because of her loneliness she is led to lie about her love life. She tells her friends that she has been having an affair when in reality nothing has happened.
What we are witness to are the secrets and lies of a group of people in their thirties. Even the characters spend a great deal of time together; their lives are plagued with feelings of isolation. They speak a lot but do not communicate. There are a lot of characters and the problems are unfortunately not very interesting and nothing is resolved.
The plot never really gets off of the ground but Maria Pujalte’s performance is a standout. She exquisitely captures the habit of going after the unattainable and men do not respect her. She does not accept attention fro a sensitive and real man and feels he is not up to her level. Instead she prefers to deal with what she cannot achieve.
The movie has its ups and downs and is basically a voyeuristic look at a very strange cast of characters whose relationships are tenable to say the least. Nevertheless, with all this said, it is interesting to watch even if it is unfulfilling.