Lucio Castro’s debut feature film is an alluring yet ultimately unsatisfying love story for the modern age. Simultaneously awkward, loving and sensuous, End of the Century teases the audience with a sincere and imperfect love story that’s easy to root for, despite its flaws.
In End of the Century, we meet Ocho (Juan Barberini), an Argentinian man on holiday in Barcelona. While exploring the city, he comes across a handsome stranger Javi (Ramon Pujol) and engages in playful flirting, which sadly come to nought – that is, until later. As he enjoys the view from his Airbnb, he recognises the same man and calls out, inviting him in for a drink. This time, his offer is accepted and the two hook up in a casual sexual encounter. The two men soon realise, however, that they had met before, two decades earlier.
Javi and Ocho are easy characters to like, exuding a sincere energy that catches you off-guard from the beginning. They are both sweet, awkward and genuinely entertaining, yet never quite manage to get on the same page. One minute looking for a quick hook-up, the next discussing children and partners, all while unravelling their past.
From forgetting condoms and vomiting in buckets, to losing touch due to over-reliance on social media, this film offers a painfully realistic depiction of romance in the modern world. Far from polished, their relationship is flawed from the get-go with secrets, pain and an unknown history all complicating the situation; it becomes hard to see where they can go beyond Barcelona, or how they could survive when real life calls them back.
End of the Century offers a beautiful and unusual cinematic experience that, though it may be too slow for some, offers a well-told and simple story. Combine that with the leads’ electric chemistry, and you have a film that’s well worth the watch.
End of the Century is out in select cinemas now.