Thursday, December 25, 2003

Did I ever post about L'auberge espagnole? The title, translated literally, means "The Spanish Apartment" but is French slang for "Euro pudding". I watched it a couple of weeks ago and while it wasn't a fantastically great film, it wasn't bad at all.

The movie is a story about Xavier, a French graduate student who leaves Paris behind to go to Barcelona for a year to study Economics, and also because this will look good on his CV in his application to be an economist in the EU offices in France. He manages to find accommodation in Barcelona with a group of people from different parts of Europe - England, Denmark, Germany, Italy and of course, Spain itself. This premise means that there are many entertaining points in the show when all the flatmates congregate, speaking their own respective languages and somehow managing to communicate with one another.

I enjoyed this show quite a fair bit. C'est naturelle, parce que j'etais un etudiant sur la mer aussi. I've experienced what it feels like to be a stranger in another land, starting out incredibly shy, but then reaching out and getting to know other people with whom you form incredible bonds. It's a great show for anyone who's ever studied in Europe to watch. Not only is it funny (even though it does typecast the various nationalities, but hey, they are fairly accurate) but it'll bring back great memories.

There's a scene in which Xavier walks down the streets of Bacelona for the first time, and he remarks on the strangeness of the street names, and that after having walked these streets over a hundred times, they'll become a part of him, and seem incredibly natural and familiar. That really rang true with me, dude.

During his year abroad, Xavier's attitude changes. He starts out naive and gullible, as do we all, and along the way, he learns more about the complexities of life, and more importantly, about himself. Again, it's something we've all gone through.

It's not a movie I'd recommend to people who haven't been through the whole experience, but it's something that all overseas students should watch. It featured one of the places I so love in Barcelona - Parc Guell, and showcased the vibrancy of the city that never sleeps such that even though I'm a little sick of the place, having been there twice, it made me long to return, to be able to take off at a moment's notice to Europe, the continent so full of history, culture and life, the way I could when I was still in London.

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