Spanien [Spain] (2012)

Director: Anja Salomonowitz
Writer: Anja Salomonowitz, Dimitré Dinev
Cast: Tatjana Alexander, Cornelius Obonya, Grégoire Colin, Lukas Miko, Wolfgang Bachofner

Sava (Grégoire Colin) wants to get to Spain but unfortunately his smuggler gets into a car accident and Sava is stranded in the middle of fuck-all, Lower Austria. In the meantime an officer of the immigration police, Albert, (Cornelius Obonya) has completely lost his shit after he and his wife Magdalena (Tatjana Alexander) separated – and he’s still stalking her, while Magdalena fights for her freedom. And then there’s Gabriel (Lukas Miho) who slowly loses his entire family’s funds to his gambling addiction. But how do all of their stories come together?

Spanien is not completely bad, but it is an entirely uneven endeavor. Interestingly enough, it is so in all areas – from set design to acting to writing.

The first thing that really struck me about the entire film was the set design. Everything is held in brownish, reddish hues, sometimes it goes as far as a dark yellow that’s almost orange. But otherwise, from the carpets to the clothes, everything is the same color and it drove me a little nuts. Why would you reduce the world that way? But apart from that the movie didn’t look bad.

Tatjana Alexander was really good. Cornelius Obonya would have been better if his character had been less one-dimensional. Lukas Miho played a walking cliché, but he did so with verve. Only Grégoire Colin didn’t work for me at all. He plays this silent type who is good with his hands. Which has a lot potential for hotness but he doesn’t pull it off. I thought that he lacked presence and in the end his character remains a naive wish fulfilment fantasy.

I did like the ending a lot and I did not see it coming that way. But other than that I just expected way more of the script since I quite liked Dinev’s novel Engelszungen way back when I read it almost 10 years ago. But there were moments there that actually hurt they were so artificial. Like Albert’s insistence on finding the magic words that would make Magdalena love him forever.

Add to that that I pretty much hated the soundtrack, it was an entirely unsatisfying movie experience, despite its good parts.

Summarising: too uneven to be really good.


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