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15 Pot Luck (L'Auberge Espagnole) (2003)

updated 30th April 2003
reviewer's rating
Two Stars
Reviewed by Tom Dawson
User Rating 4 out of 5


Director
Cédric Klapisch
Writer
Cédric Klapisch
Stars
Romain Duris
Cécile de France
Judith Godràche
Audrey Tautou
Kevin Bishop
Kelly Reilly
Length
122 minutes
Distributor
Cinefrance
Cinema
9th May 2003
Country
France
Genres
Comedy
Drama
World Cinema


Writer-director Cédric Klapisch has never managed to equal the achievement of "When the Cat's Away", his wonderfully touching tale of a Parisian community united in their search for a missing feline.

"Pot Luck" has been a considerable commercial success in France, yet despite the presence of a talented and youthful ensemble cast, and some playful directorical touches involving split-screens and speeded-up footage, it remains only modestly entertaining.

Romain Duris is graduate student Xavier, who wins a place on the European Erasmus exchange programme to study economics for a year in Barcelona.

Leaving behind his girlfriend (Audrey Tautou), he finds himself sharing a Barcelona apartment with a group of fellow 20-somethings from across Europe.

The city, with its striking architecture, nearby beaches, and buzzing nightlife, offers Xavier a wealth of opportunities, and he comes to enjoy the camaraderie of communal living. But will his friendship with a shy married woman (Judith Godràche) lead to romantic fulfilment?

Presumably Klapisch regards the chaotic flat-share as a metaphor for the on-going wider process of European integration.

Given the current Euro tensions, "Pot Luck" represents a fairly benevolent vision of people of diverse cultural identities and nationalities muddling together and providing one another with mutual support, despite their differences.

Klapisch's screenplay, though, has its share of comic stereotyping: it's the laddish British visitor (Kevin Bishop) who provides the "jokey" Hitler salute and walk, and it's the German guy who believes in a disciplined revision schedule.

Not only do Xavier's romantic entanglements feel underpowered, but he learns far too many life lessons. A Belgian lesbian (Cécile de France) teaches him the mysteries of female seduction, whilst his need to follow his own creative path is given unnecessary extra backing by the film's voice-over.

The film's original title sums the movie up perfectly: "Euro Pudding".

In French with English subtitles.

Find out more about "Pot Luck (L'Auberge Espagnole)" at
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